Floating Holidays: The 411

July 26, 2018

Floating Holidays may seem like a complex benefit for a small business. Learn how breaking down the process can make this offering more obtainable.

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Hey there, Small Business Owner, here’s what you need to know about Floating Holidays.

As a small business owner, you may think that managing floating holidays is a hornet’s nest you’d rather not knock with a stick. But it’s a benefit employees highly value and in today’s tight hiring market, offering them makes your company more competitive when trying to attract and retain qualified candidates.

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Steven Harris, Managing Partner & Operations Executive, Journey Employer Solutions Arizona

With increasing workplace diversity, floating holidays offer your employees flexibility to celebrate cultural or religious holidays that aren’t on your PTO calendar.

If you’re like most employers, your employees are offered a certain number of paid holidays—often associated with Federal and religious holidays that most of the population celebrates. Paid floating holidays have no designated date and are taken at the employee’s discretion, as allowed by company policy.

As Steven Harris, Operations Executive of Journey Employer Solutions AZ explains, “Floating Holidays are a fantastic way to show your company’s flexibility. Not all employees celebrate the same holidays, so this allows them to make the choice of when they’d like to take their holidays off, as opposed to having them mandated by their employer. This can improve company culture, employee satisfaction, and retention.”

Speaking of policy…

If you do decide to offer floating holidays to your team, it’s important to write clear policy around issues such as: how to schedule the day, and if floating holidays carry over to the next year. The policy should also guide managers on how to honor employee requests for time off. Once you develop a policy, include it in the employee handbook. If there isn’t an employee handbook, communicate the policy to your staff in some other way. You want everyone to be very clear on how floating holidays at your company work; it avoids confusion, which can lower the positive impact of this benefit.

Related:  Attorney? HR Consultant? Who You Gonna Call?

Consider these points

Before moving forward with implementing floating holidays, take time to consider these points. The more thought you put in at the beginning means less time you’ll have to spend solving problems later.

When can they take the holiday? If you don’t specify time periods, employees are able to take the floating holiday whenever they choose. Under these circumstances, managers must work with their employees and allow them to take their paid time off whenever they need it. You may want to consider requiring a certain amount of time—say two weeks—between the request and the PTO.

Develop a Floating Holiday Policy

Do unused floating holidays carry over? Make sure you have a clearly stated policy around carrying over unused PTO. Maybe you’d rather pay employees for time not taken at the end of the year—or require that they cannot start accruing more floating holiday time until the already accrued time is taken. Or maybe it’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy (make sure that is not illegal in your state). Just make sure everyone understands how floating holidays work, so there are no misunderstandings.

Floating holidays are a relatively inexpensive way to boost your employee benefits package. They boost morale and your team will appreciate the ability to take time off without chunking away at their vacation time.

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