SHRM Survey Looks at 2015 Paid Holidays

By SHRM Online staff November 10, 2014

Planning your organization’s paid holidays for next year? Businesses that offer this benefit observe an average of nine paid days a year for full- and part-time staff, according to survey findings by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), released Nov. 10, 2014.

The majority of respondents’ organizations will observe these seven federal holidays in 2015, when nonessential government offices are closed:

  • New Year’s Day on Thursday, Jan. 1 (95 percent).
  • Memorial Day on Monday, May 25 (94 percent).
  • Day before Independence Day, Friday, July 3 (60 percent).
  • Independence Day, Saturday, July 4 (76 percent)—a federal holiday for agencies and government offices that normally open on Saturday.
  • Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7 (95 percent).
  • Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26 (97 percent).
  • Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25 (97 percent).

Other federal holidays that a smaller number of organizations plan to observe in 2015 with paid time off are:

  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Monday, Jan. 19 (37 percent).
  • Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 16 (35 percent).
  • Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12 (16 percent).
  • Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 (20 percent).

Overall, few employers will close their offices on religious holidays except for Christmas Eve on Thursday, Dec. 24 (47 percent), and Christmas Day. Good Friday, April 3—the Friday before Easter Sunday when Christians observe Christ’s crucifixion—is the second most common religious holiday that organizations will observe, with slightly more than one-fourth (28 percent) planning to close. Only 3 percent will be closed on the first day of Passover, a major Jewish holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery by the Egyptians. It begins on Saturday, April 4, in 2015.

Additionally, most businesses (76 percent) plan to be closed on the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 27.

Looking ahead to 2016, 94 percent plan to close their offices on Friday, Jan. 1.

While nine is the average number of paid holidays that employers will offer in 2015, 21 percent of those surveyed said they will offer 10 paid holidays to full-time employees, and 22 percent said they will offer 10 paid holidays to their part-time employees.

Only 2 percent offer one to five paid holidays to full-time workers and 8 percent offer five paid holidays to part-time employees. Six percent offer 13 or more paid holidays to full-time employees and 5 percent offer 13 or more paid holidays to part-time employees.

Slightly more than one-third (36 percent) of the 492 respondents surveyed reported that their organization provides floating holidays. Among those offering this benefit annually to full-time employees:

  • 43 percent offer one floating holiday.
  • 29 percent offer two floating holidays.
  • 14 percent offer three floating holidays.
  • 9 percent offer four floating holidays.
  • 5 percent offer five or more floating holidays.

In its survey, SHRM defined a floating holidayas one that provides an employee paid time off to observe a holiday not recognized by the organization, such as the employee’s birthday. Personal days were not considered floating holidays.


This was the second year that SHRM Research asked respondents whether their organizations were open on weekends. It found that 67 percent are not open on weekends, 23 percent are open Saturday and Sunday, 9 percent are open only on Saturday and 1 percent are open only on Sunday.

In 2013, 64 percent of organizations were closed weekends, 26 percent were open on Saturday and 9 percent were open on Sunday.

The findings of the survey, conducted Oct. 8-23, 2014, are from responses of 492 randomly selected HR professionals from SHRM’s membership. Among respondents, nearly three-fourths work for organizations based solely in the U.S. 

Thirty-three percent of respondents are at organizations with 100 to 499 employees, followed by 27 percent at organizations with one to 99 employees, 19 percent with 2,500 to 24,999 employees, 17 percent with 500 to 2,499 employees and 5 percent with 25,000 or more employees. The largest percentage of respondents (45 percent) worked for privately owned, for-profit employers.



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