Last year, both Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Sunday. So what does that mean for your employees? If you haven’t already done so, it means you get to decide how to recognize the holiday. 

If you need help creating an employee handbook or setting policies around holidays, we can help guide you through that process. Fingercheck’s HR Concierge service offers an easy and efficient solution to help you manage all your HR needs, including help with a handbook. Contact us today to learn how we can help you

To be clear, you aren’t required to give employees the day off for any holiday, but most employers do give employees the day off for federal holidays. This practice helps boost employee morale and can assist in recruiting and retention efforts.

A general rule to follow when a holiday falls on the weekend is to give employees the day off either on the Friday before or the Monday after the official holiday. If New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday, your holiday would be on Friday. If it falls on Sunday, as it does this year, then Monday would be your holiday.

HR experts say to give the day off

Our panel of human resources gurus offered up some advice in an earlier interview with Fingercheck.

“When the holidays fall on a weekend, no one should expect to be compensated another day to celebrate the holiday,” says Marc Prosser, a small business expert and co-founder of Fit Small Business. “What ends up happening is, some years you get lucky and some you don’t, but it eventually evens out. That doesn’t mean people won’t complain, but it still doesn’t mean that it is standard practice or should be standard practice to compensate for holidays that fall on weekends.”

Tricia Perkins of Grey Owl Consulting LLC says, “Customarily, employers who are open Monday through Friday will recognize the holiday on Friday if the holiday falls on a Saturday.” And, if it falls on a Sunday, employers typically will recognize the holiday on Monday. 

Perkins suggests another option — a floating holiday. That way, you can remain open on Friday and Monday and provide a floating holiday to your employees. She cautions that a best practice is to use a floating holiday within a timeframe around the actual holiday. 

A floating holiday is a day that employees can take off at their discretion. This allows employees the flexibility to take time off when they need it, such as to observe a religious holiday that isn’t included in the typical paid holiday schedule.

Realistically speaking, most employers do follow the customary practice of giving employees time off when holidays fall on a weekend. “Unless you want resentment and low morale, you must give a day off for both Christmas and New Year’s,” says Bruce A. Hurwitz of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd.

But Greg Szymanski, SPHR, CCP, CBP, says he follows the previous Friday and post Monday rule but not all businesses do. “There are lots of exceptions, including retail, food service, 24/7 manufacturing businesses, which probably have different ways of addressing weekend holidays.” 

So what should you do?

Regardless of your viewpoint, it’s important to decide how you will treat weekend holidays to set a precedent for the future. While expert opinions vary on offering a substitute day off for weekend holidays, most experts do believe it’s a small gesture that goes a long way.

They also agree that an employee handbook helps. And that’s where our HR Concierge is your MVP. We offer access to resources such as articles, personalized support, employment law resources, forms, job descriptions and employee handbook templates.

Fingercheck HR Concierge is backed by experienced and credentialed client management teams providing the highest quality human resources system. Signing up for the HR portal is easy. Contact us today to learn more, 1-800-610-9501.

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