Monday, November 14, 2011

You are what you learn. If all you know is how to be a gang member, that's what you'll be, at least until you learn something else. If you go to law school, you'll see the world as a competition. If you study engineering, you'll start to see the world as a complicated machine that needs tweaking. A person changes at a fundamental level as he or she merges with a particular field of knowledge. If you don't like who you are, you have the option of learning until you become someone else. There's almost nothing you can't learn your way out of. If you don't like who you are, you have the option of learning until you become someone else. Life is like a jail with an unlocked, heavy door. You're free the minute you realize the door will open if you simply lean into it.
Scott Adams in

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Scheduling 2012 Holidays

There is interesting stuff in this post, I promise! But first, The Basics: how many Holidays should you give and which ones?

For the first piece of the puzzle, I would consider eight (8) or nine (9) days as the average number of paid Holidays given in the U.S. I like nine as an average because it seems more companies I've worked with fall here, but a more recent report lists an average of eight. Obviously, there is room for interpretation and you can find lots of different stats, and variances across industries.

Next, I'm usually guided by the 2012 Federal Holiday schedule.

Monday, January 2*New Year's Day
Monday, January 16Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Monday, February 20Washington's Birthday/President's Day
Monday, May 28Memorial Day
Wednesday, July 4Independence Day
Monday, September 3Labor Day
Monday, October 8Columbus Day
Monday, November 12*Veterans Day
Thursday, November 22Thanksgiving Day
Tuesday, December 25Christmas Day

* Typically, when the legal public holiday falls on Sunday, the following Monday is treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes. Boom.

The Intermediates:
Your Holidays are part of you total benefit package. Consider your employee population, and other vacation, sick and benefits as you set your Holiday schedule.

And dude, don't forget to give the Friday after Thanksgiving off! Eating all that turkey and then having to come into work the next day when your friends don't have to would be memorably bad!

Consider the concept offering Floating Holidays, extra paid leave days to be designated by the employee. They're cool! Some folks would rather not recognize Columbus Day and might instead like to have their Birthday off or a Religious Holiday.

If you go this route, I'd start with at least the big six holidays (New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. (Big seven if you add the day after Thanksgiving). Many private business often observe only these days, and most everyone else has them, so they are good days to start with.

Floating Holiday Warning: Employees can be bummed that they have less official days off than their peers. It's easy to forget they have a Floating Holiday instead of Columbus Day, for example. At these times, it makes the benefit of Floating Holidays feel more like a lack of benefits. Communication, like sharing a Benefits Summary Sheet could help this. Floating days might pose a burden to schedule or productivity, if people are out at random days, instead of all at once. You might also be obligated to track floating days as earned and accrued time off.

Overall, keep in mind that paid Holidays is not something that is required by law, but rather is something offered by the employer to attract and retain employees. So, as much as your business can bear, be generous. Are your Holidays in accord with your overall HR strategy? Is your Holiday offering appealing? Do employees have related gripes? Frequently review your policy and change it if you need to.