Should You Implement a Floating Holidays Policy?

By Katherine Muniz
April 30, 2018

Floating holidays are a more flexible alternative to providing employees with a standard list of company-recognized holidays on which employees have paid time off. In comparison to traditional leave policies, which designate holidays based on the typically paid holiday schedule in the U.S., floating holidays can be generally taken at any point during the year.

Typically, employers choose to adopt floating holidays because they want to accommodate their workforce. They recognize that their employees are diverse, and may not all celebrate the same holidays. Providing floating holidays allow employees to take off on holidays that are significant to them, and work on holidays that aren’t.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of floating holidays, here are some guidelines on how to create your own policy:

  1. Be clear about how the floating holidays may be taken – When may an employee take a floating holiday? May employees allocate floating holidays as personal days? While it may be tempting to start implementing blackout periods during the calendar year when employees may not take a day off, it’s important to remember that in order for your employees’ needs to be met, the policy must be flexible.
  2. Brief managers on scheduling and approving time off – Once you’ve established the ground rules outlining when employees can use their floating holidays, managers must be on the same page. In order for this employee benefit to be applied successfully, management must allow their employees to take this time when they need it. If negotiating has to take place for employees to use the time, the benefit of floating holidays is diminished.
  3. Set rollover rules – One important consideration to make is your policy’s rollover rules. Will you allow employees to roll over unused PTO to the next year? Will you pay unused PTO out at the end of the year? Or, will you simply have a use it or lose it policy? If you decide not to let employees roll over unused floating holidays, consult your local labor laws on the legality of that decision, as not all states allow for use it or lose it policies.
  4. Determine if floating holidays are accrued – Some companies provide their employees with a set number of floating holidays right at the start of their employment. However, others opt to have employees accrue the time off as they work. If you decide to have your employees accrue their floating holidays, time tracking software like Fingercheck can easily track accruals.
  5. Put it in writing – Everything is clearer when it’s in writing. After verbally communicating your policy, make sure all your employees and managers have a copy of it, whether it be sent via email or distributed in physical paper form. Employees can refer to the written policy when they have questions.
  6. Establish a way of tracking time off – Managers can manually track time off, but an automated time tracking system can track the entire company’s time off without expending any effort. Fingercheck’s customizable time tracking software allows you to easily set up your floating holidays and can accommodate all the rules that you have.

Floating holidays are an inexpensive benefit that employees highly value. Not only does it provide them with greater control over their work/life balance, but it’s also a diversity-friendly policy that recognizes the need for individual time off.

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