Mark Your Calendars: Survey on 2016 Holiday Closures at U.S. Workplaces Released

By SHRM Online staff Nov 4, 2015

Except for the observance of Christmas Day—on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, because the actual holiday falls on a Sunday—few organizations will close to observe a religious holiday next year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) annual Holiday Schedules survey findings released Nov. 4, 2015.

The vast majority of companies—92 percent or more, depending on the holiday—will observe the federal holidays of New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day, SHRM found. The majority will remain open during the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in 2016, the survey also showed.

Some organizations plan to be closed the day before or after a major holiday, with nearly three-fourths planning to shut down for the day after Thanksgiving in 2016. That was consistent with findings for 2015.

In 2016, slightly more than one-third (34 percent) of companies that are normally open on Saturdays will be closed on Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24—also the first day of Hanukkah. In 2015, nearly half (47 percent) will be closed on Christmas Eve, a Thursday, according to the 2015 Holiday Schedules survey findings, released in November 2014.

Among respondents for the 2016 survey, only 10 percent said they are open on Saturdays. In the 2015 survey, 9 percent said they were open on Saturdays. Most--65 percent for the 2016 survey and 67 percent for the 2015 survey--are not open on weekends.

More than half will be closed the day after Christmas, a Monday, in 2016, vs. more than one-fourth that will be closed Dec. 26, 2015, a Saturday. For the day after New Year’s Day, 30 percent will be closed Jan. 2, 2016, a Saturday; 44 percent will close Jan. 2, 2017, a Monday.

Other holiday findings for the upcoming year:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 18, 2016—35 percent will be closed (a federal holiday).
  • Chinese and Vietnamese New Year on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016—less than 1 percent will be closed.
  • Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016—33 percent will be closed (a federal holiday).
  • Friday before Memorial Day, on May 27, 2016—3 percent will be closed.
  • Columbus Day on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016—13 percent will be closed (a federal holiday).
  • Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016—19 percent will be closed (a federal holiday).

Additionally, only 3 percent of organizations plan to close on the Fridays that precede Independence Day and Labor Day in 2016 (both of these holidays will fall on a Monday).

Religious Holidays

Trailing far behind Christmas Day as an observed religious holiday is Easter Sunday, when Christians observe Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Only 40 percent of organizations plan to be closed.

None of the 385 HR professionals surveyed said their organizations plan to close for:

  • The first day of Ramadan, Tuesday, June 2, 2016 (an Islamic holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer).
  • The first day of Eid al-Adha on Tuesday, Sept.13, 2016 (the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice).
  • The first day of Rosh Hashana on Monday, Oct. 3, 2016 (the Jewish New Year); less than 1 percent will close the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
  • Yom Kippur on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016 (the Jewish Day of Atonement).
  • Sukkot/Feast of Booths on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 (a Jewish holiday commemorating the day God gave the Torah to the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai).
  • Diwali on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 (a Hindu festival celebrating the victory of light over darkness).

A small percentage of companies—15 percent—say they allow full-time employees to request to work a holiday provided by the organization in exchange for taking off another day for a holiday not observed by company policy. A smaller percentage allow part-time workers to swap holidays.

The survey was conducted Oct. 5-16, 2015, among randomly selected SHRM members.


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