Day After Thanksgiving Remains Paid Day Off for Many

By Kathy Gurchiek Nov 3, 2008

The trend of counting the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday remains at the same level as in years past, according to the latest Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey on leave benefits.

Seventy-four percent of 542 HR professionals surveyed say their organizations will treat it as a day off in 2008, and 72 percent of 507 surveyed online say that’s the plan for 2009, SHRM found, reflecting similar results from 2006 and 2007.

Slightly more than one-third (37 percent) will treat Friday, Dec. 26, 2008, as a paid holiday. In 2009, Dec. 26 falls on a Saturday.

A similar holiday survey, for HR consulting firm OperationsInc. and management consulting firm Performance-Solutions-Group Inc., found that more than half of 106 firms in Connecticut and New York state will count Dec. 26, 2008, as a paid holiday. The organizations surveyed online in September 2008 primarily were those with less than 200 employees.

“The days before and after a national holiday are always tricky for a business to handle,” said David Lewis, CEO of OperationsInc.

“In these cases, asking your employees to return to work for one day after Christmas or New Year’s is the issue many businesses had to wrestle with this year,” he said in a press release. “While there is a question of fairness and good will at play, productivity is always in the back of the minds of most business owners, who may not be in a position to give away another day during the calendar year.”

More than one-third (35 percent) of those East Coast firms are treating Friday, Jan. 2, as a paid holiday. Only 12 percent of SHRM members surveyed said their organization will follow suit in 2009, and only 2 percent will close early.

In its survey, conducted in September and October 2008, SHRM asked what other days organizations will treat as paid holidays in 2009. Among its findings, released Oct. 28:

  • New Year’s Day, Jan. 1 (97 percent plan to make it a paid day off).
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Jan. 19 (36 percent).
  • Presidents’ Day, Feb. 16 (33 percent).
  • Good Friday, April 10 (26 percent; 7 percent will close early).
  • Easter Monday, April 10 (7 percent).
  • Memorial Day, May 25 (95 percent).
  • Friday, July 3 (66 percent; 12 percent will close early. In 2008, only 7 percent closed on Thursday, July 3, 2008.)
  • Monday, July 6 (6 percent).
  • Labor Day, Sept. 7 (95 percent).
  • Columbus Day, Oct. 12 (13 percent).
  • Election Day, Nov. 3 (2 percent; 2 percent will close early. There were no such statistics collected for Election Day 2008.)
  • Veterans Day, Nov. 11 (18 percent).
  • Wednesday, Nov. 25 (5 percent; 16 percent will close early the day before Thanksgiving.)
  • Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26 (97 percent).
  • Thursday, Dec. 24 (42 percent; 33 percent will close early. In 2008, 34 percent counted this a paid holiday and another 34 percent closed early Wednesday, Dec. 24.)
  • New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31 (21 percent; 25 percent will close early).
  • Week between Christmas and New Year’s Day (16 percent).

While the days after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day aren’t designed as holidays for federal employees, workers in the District of Columbia and certain nearby Virginia and Maryland communities will get Inauguration Day, Tuesday, Jan. 20 as a paid holiday. This applies to workers in the District; Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Arlington, Va.; and Fairfax County, Va., who regularly are scheduled to perform non-overtime work that day.

Only 5 percent of the HR professionals SHRM surveyed said their organizations plan to close Jan. 20.

An online calendar for 2009 can be found at

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at


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