Timing of Christmas, New Year's works well for U.S. employees: Survey

Employers kinder with days off

With Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Tuesdays in 2012-13, employers' year-end holiday calendars will be much kinder to workers than in the previous two years, according to Bloomberg BNA's survey of employers' year-end holiday plans.

Almost three-fifths (58 per cent) of the surveyed employers have scheduled at least three paid days off for the 2012-13 holiday season, compared with 42 per cent of organizations for 2011-12 (42 per cent) and 36 per cent for 2010-11, when the national holidays fell on the weekend.

Just over one-half (51 per cent) of responding employers have slated Monday, Dec. 24 as a paid day off, found the survey of 628 human resource professionals and executives.

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees have scheduled three or more paid days off during the 2012-13 holiday season; less than one-half (48 per cent) of larger employers will be so generous, found Bloomberg.

Gifts, celebrations, charity

Forty-five percent of the surveyed organizations will distribute gifts or bonuses to some or all employees in 2012-13, virtually unchanged from one year ago (46 per cent) but well above the record low of 33 per cent in 2009. Management and non-management are equally likely to receive holiday cash or gifts from employers, and money still trumps merchandise as year-end expressions of company gratitude.

Holiday celebrations are on the slate at roughly three out of four employers (74 percent), somewhat improved from 2009, when 67 per cent sponsored any late-year festivities. Company-wide events are planned by more than one-half (55 per cent) of the responding employers, virtually unchanged from one year ago (56 per cent) and up a bit from 2009 (50 per cent), found the survey.

Among employers sponsoring festivities for the entire workforce, 86 percent will foot the entire bill, while only 48 percent will allow employees to invite guests.

Alcohol will be served at nearly two out of three events (63 per cent), a modest increase from 2011-12 (55 per cent) and 2010-11 (56 per cent), found Bloomberg. Of the organizations serving beer, wine, or liquor at their year-end events, 84 per cent reported at least one safeguard to prevent excessive consumption or protect guests. Many reported multiple precautions, including time limits, cab service and discounted hotel rates.

Forty percent of all responding employers will sponsor toy collections for needy children; food collections and distribution follow closely behind, at 37 per cent. Clothing drives are planned by one in five surveyed employers, and nearly as many (16 per cent) will sponsor money collections.

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