Employee handbooks are a smart way to set expectations and outline terms of employment for your employees, including when it comes to holidays. Having a holiday policy is an important part of any employee handbook, regardless of industry or location. It can answer questions about observance, lay out special pay incentives, and even tie back to the company’s mission and values. Don’t overlook a holiday policy when putting your employee handbook together!

What is a holiday policy?

A holiday policy is a document that outlines the organization’s approach to paid time off during holidays. It typically serves two main purposes:

  1. Establishing guidelines for paid time off: The policy lists the specific holidays recognized by the company, whether employees receive paid time off for those days, and any eligibility requirements. It also clarifies how holiday pay is calculated, including scenarios like working on a holiday or taking vacation during a holiday period.
  2. Promoting fairness and respect: A well-crafted holiday policy ensures consistency and transparency in how paid time off is handled across the company. This fosters a sense of fairness and respect for all employees, regardless of their individual beliefs or cultural backgrounds. The policy may also address situations like requesting time off for religious holidays not officially recognized by the company.

Overall, a clear and comprehensive holiday policy helps maintain a positive work environment, promotes employee morale, and avoids confusion or misunderstandings during holiday periods.

Does my company need one?

It’s easy to assume that your organization will follow the same holiday schedule as other major corporations. But beyond recognizing major holidays, companies should have a clear holiday policy that makes recognition of these holidays clear.

A company might need a holiday policy in the following situations:

  • Establishing clear guidelines: Use this policy to establish clear and consistent guidelines for how holidays are recognized and managed within the organization.
  • Defining holiday benefits: This policy helps specify which holidays are recognized, how holiday pay is determined, and any additional considerations related to time off during holidays.
  • Ensuring consistency: These policies ensure consistency in how holidays are handled across the organization, especially if there are variations in holiday practices among different departments or teams.
  • Compliance with legal requirements: Companies can ensure compliance with local, state, or federal labor laws and regulations governing holiday pay and time-off practices.
  • Promoting employee well-being: This policy can support a positive work culture and employee well-being by providing clear guidelines for time off during holidays, allowing employees to plan and enjoy time with family and friends.
  • Handling holiday schedules: Use this policy when you need to address issues related to scheduling during holidays, such as limiting the number of employees who can be off simultaneously or establishing procedures for alternative days off.
  • Accommodating cultural diversity: If the company operates in a culturally diverse environment, it may need a policy to address how holidays are recognized and respected, considering variations in cultural or religious observances.
  • Managing holiday shutdowns: When the company plans holiday shutdowns or closures, a policy can communicate the expectations for employees during these periods, including any impact on work schedules or required time off.
  • Guidance for time-off requests: This policy can provide employees with guidance on the process for requesting time off during holidays, including any advance notice requirements and the method for submitting requests.
  • Handling floating holidays: If the company offers floating holidays, a policy helps communicate the rules and expectations.

What should be included?

It’s easy to assume that questions about holidays are covered in other employee policies, such as the paid time off policy. Yet, holidays require a policy of their own because it’s important to discuss more than just incentive pay and time off. A good holiday policy will clearly outline the holistic impact the holiday has on the company.

Some of the critical items a holiday policy should address may include:

  • Designated holidays: List the specific holidays that the company recognizes as paid time off. Common holidays include New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but the list may vary based on the company’s location and cultural considerations.
  • Eligibility: Specify which employees are eligible for holiday pay and time off. This may include full-time employees, part-time employees, or those who have completed a certain period of service with the company.
  • Holiday pay: Outline the company’s approach to holiday pay, including whether employees receive their regular pay for the holiday or if there are special holiday pay rates. Some companies may offer additional compensation for working on holidays.
  • Time-off request procedures: Describe the process for requesting time off during holidays, including any advance notice requirements and the method for submitting time-off requests.
  • Scheduling considerations: Address how the company handles scheduling during holidays, such as whether there are limits on the number of employees who can be off simultaneously or if scheduling is based on seniority.
  • Alternative days off: Provide information on whether the company allows employees to take alternative days off if a recognized holiday falls on a weekend or if the company operates on a non-traditional workweek.
  • Holiday shutdowns: Note whether the company has any planned shutdowns or closures during specific holiday periods and how employees are affected by these closures.
  • Floating holidays: Explain whether the company offers floating holidays and the guidelines governing them.

Create your own holiday policy with SixFifty

SixFifty’s Employee Handbook Creator helps organizations create their own custom, state-specific employee handbooks for all 50 states. Contact us today to learn about how our tools can help you generate holiday policies that make your stance on holiday recognition, pay, and time off clear and easy to understand.