It’s the week before the holidays, and during this crucial time, you may still have a few last-minute decisions to make. If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably not steeped in HR procedure and policy, and you might be tackling the holidays for the first time. So, here are a few refreshers to help you evaluate your readiness as the week winds down:

Consider early dismissal

Will you be an employer that lets your employees leave early the day before the holidays or the holiday weekend? This is a common practice embraced by many business owners. “Many businesses who cannot afford larger holiday bonuses or perks of that nature can really lean into being flexible with time off during the holiday to keep their employees feeling valued and appreciated during the season,” says Lisa DiVirgilio of KinHR.   Christy Hopkins, a human resources staff writer at Fit Small Business, comments that early dismissal should apply universally. “Treat all team members fairly. If Bill is Marketing gets to leave early without taking PTO, then so does Suzie in Accounting.” Being selective about who gets to leave early can dampen the holiday spirit.

Consider time off

While no employer is obligated to provide employees with a day off for holidays, many do for federal holidays. These employers also usually pay employees for the day as an added benefit. We recently wrote about what to do when a major holiday falls on the weekend, which is the case this year. Customarily employers who choose to offer a day off will provide employees a day off on Friday if a holiday falls on a Saturday, or Monday if a holiday falls on a Sunday.

Be aware of bank holidays

Bank holidays can delay the payment of wages to employees. “It’s important to ensure your employees do not receive their paychecks late during the holiday season with bank closings,” says DiVirgilio. “Business owners should plan ahead to issue direct deposits ahead of schedule if necessary to ensure they get paid on or before the normal date.” This year, Christmas Day is observed as a federal bank holiday on Monday, December 26th. New Year’s Day is observed as a federal bank holiday on Monday, January 2nd. We’d like all our FingerCheck360 payroll clients to know that payroll should be run two days before the check date in order to pay employees early or on time.

Create a channel for communication

There are many ways to coordinate across your team. “Remind teammates to communicate their schedules ahead of time and in a consistent way, like a joint calendar or a Slack channel,” says Vinayak Ranade, CEO of Drafted, a referral recruiting software. “Planning ahead means teams can coordinate project deadlines and coverage to fit with their schedules, and enjoy their time off without interruptions.”

Retain talent

The holidays are also a busy time for job hunters, so if possible, convey your gratitude to your employees. “The period between the holidays and the new year is the busiest time for job boards so you want your employees to feel extra special about working for you,” says Jared Swanson, an HR consultant at the Employee Benefits Service of Maryland. “My advice would be to get a small gift for each employee to show how much you appreciate them.”

Come up with your own holiday spin

If you’re going to do something for your employees, make it your own. “My husband’s old company used to surprise everyone with a catered lunch (complete with a mimosa or glass of wine) and then let them out at 2 pm as well – it was a great surprise before a holiday and really let people relax without the hoopla of a proper holiday party,” says Hopkins.

We’d like to wish you happy holiday! We understand how busy business can be at this time of the year, and hope that this article helps you take care of last-minute holiday arrangements.

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