Number of Paid Holidays in 2011 Remains Unchanged


By SHRM Online staff November 4, 2010

A majority of organizations will offer the same number of paid holidays to employees in 2011 despite a rocky economic climate, according to a new Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll. In addition, according to SHRM’s 2010 Employee Benefits Survey Report, 97 percent of organizations offer one or more paid holidays per year.

Thanksgiving Day (97 percent), New Year’s Day and Independence Day (both 96 percent), Labor Day (95 percent), Memorial Day (95 percent), and Christmas Day (94 percent) are the holidays that organizations overwhelmingly plan to observe in 2011. Of those, New Year’s Day and Christmas Day fall on the weekend during 2011. Nearly all organizations (96 percent) will be closed on New Year’s Day, a Saturday, in 2011.

Only 1 percent plan to close their offices for the Jewish religious holiday of Hanukkah (Dec. 21, 2011), the Islamic observance of the end of Ramadan (Aug. 31) or the Christian observance of Ash Wednesday (March 9) as paid time off.

None planned to treat the Jewish holiday of Passover (April 19), the beginning of Ramadan (Aug. 1), the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 29), the Hindu observance of Diwali (Oct. 26) or the day after the beginning of the Islamic observance of Eid al-Adha/Festival of Sacrifice (Nov. 7) as paid days off in 2011, according to 472 HR professionals surveyed September and October 2010 for the new poll. Additionally, none will close or close early on Feb. 3, Chinese and Vietnamese New Year.

Other holiday findings for 2011:

  • Jan. 3, Monday after New Year’s Day—19 percent will close offices.
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Jan. 17—38 percent will close; none will close early. In 2010, 34 percent closed.
  • Presidents Day, Feb. 21—34 percent will close; none will close early. In 2010, 35 percent closed.
  • Good Friday, April 22—26 percent will close; 6 percent will close early. In 2010, 30 percent closed early.
  • Easter Monday, April 25—6 percent to close; 1 percent to close early. In 2010, 5 percent closed.
  • Yom Kippur, Oct. 8—7 percent will close offices.
  • Columbus Day, Oct. 10—16 percent will close; none will close early. In 2010, 13 percent closed.
  • Veterans Day, Nov. 11—21 percent will close. In 2010, 16 percent plan to close.
  • Day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 23—8 percent will close; 17 percent will close early. In 2010, 3 percent plan to close.
  • Day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25—69 percent will close; 2 percent will close early. In 2010, 75 percent plan to close.
  • Day before Christmas Eve, Dec. 23—33 percent plan to close offices in 2011, 15 percent will close early and 53 percent will remain open. This is a Friday.
  • Christmas Eve, Dec. 24—78 percent will close offices; 10 percent will close early. This is a Saturday. In 2010, 79 percent plan to close; 10 percent plan to close early.
  • Monday after Christmas, Dec. 26—64 percent will close; 1 percent will close early. In 2010, 40 percent plan to close.
  • Day before New Year’s Eve, Dec. 30—25 percent will close; 10 percent will close early. This is a Friday.
  • New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31—71 percent will close offices on this Saturday, and 9 percent will close early.

In 2010, most federal employees will receive Dec. 31 as a paid holiday because New Year’s Day—a legal public holiday—falls on a Saturday in 2011. Additionally, most federal employees will have Dec. 26, 2011 as paid time off because Christmas—another legal public holiday—falls on a Sunday.

Just 12 percent indicated that their offices will be closed during the week between Christmas 2011 and New Year’s Day 2012. Among that percentage, only 2 percent said the decision to close their offices that week was attributable to economic conditions.

Thanksgiving 2010

A survey by The Bureau of National Affairs Inc. (BNA) found a slight drop in the percentage of employers giving paid time off for Thanksgiving 2010; however, fewer employees will be required to work that day.

Seventy-four percent of 315 HR professionals and employee relations executives in the U.S. said their organizations have designated Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday as paid holidays in 2010; in 2009, 79 percent did so. However, nearly all employers surveyed have scheduled Thanksgiving Day as a paid holiday.

The number of employers requiring some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day is near record lows, according to the BNA. It found “an almost continuous decline in required Thanksgiving work since 2002,” when 47 percent required at least some employees to work that holiday.

Security, public safety and service and maintenance staff are most likely to be required to work on Thanksgiving Day in 2010, the BNA found. However, those working the holiday will receive time-and-a-half pay (33 percent) or double-time pay (32 percent).

Additionally, a four-day holiday weekend will be more prevalent at organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees, and it’s more likely found at manufacturing enterprises. Ninety-three percent of manufacturers will give workers Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday as paid holidays. Seventy percent of employers in nonmanufacturing sectors and 67 percent in non-business concerns such as hospitals, educational facilities and government organizations will treat those two days as paid holidays.

BNA has surveyed year-end holiday practices since 1980.


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