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Survey: More Than a Third of Employers Will Require Work Over the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Survey: More Than a Third of Employers Will Require Work Over the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Some folks may end up watching the traditional Thanksgiving football games at their desks

November 9th, 2012 by James Limbach of ConsumerAffairs in News

Looking forward to that long Thanksgiving weekend with a lot of down time to spend with the family? Not so fast.

While giving time off remains a tradition among most U.S. employers, more than a third of those surveyed will require at least a few employees to report to work on the holiday, according to the latest Bloomberg BNA survey of year-end holiday practices.

Nearly three out of four responding employers (73 percent) have scheduled both Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday (Black Friday) as paid days off for all or most of the workforce this year, pretty much the same as last year and and 2010.

There are exceptions

While nearly all employers (99 percent) have scheduled a paid day off for Thanksgiving Day, some workers will have to forego or postpone holiday dinners with family and friends. This year, 36 percent of establishments will require at least some of their employees to work on the holiday -- a moderate increase in reported work requirements from the previous three years.

Still, Thanksgiving work shifts were more common a decade or longer ago. In fact, nearly half of employers surveyed in 2002 required some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day.

Other findings

Thanksgiving gifts from employers have waned somewhat since the mid-2000s, but a small circle of employers -- manufacturers, especially -- seem to be holding fast to their November traditions. About one in 10 surveyed organizations will send workers home with a token of their appreciation in late November, in line with survey findings over the past half-decade but reflecting a modest decline from the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Manufacturers remain most generous with paid time off at Thanksgiving. More than nine out of 10 manufacturing companies (93 percent) have scheduled paid days off for both Thursday, Nov. 22 and Friday, Nov. 23 in 2012. A four-day weekend is on tap at about seven in 10 surveyed non-manufacturing companies (69 percent) and roughly two-thirds of non-business establishments (65 percent), including health care facilities and government agencies.

Workers in small companies stand a much better chance of a long Thanksgiving weekend than their colleagues in larger organizations. Two paid days off for Thanksgiving have been scheduled by more than four out of five firms with fewer than 1,000 employees (81 percent); workers at less than three-fifths of larger organizations (56 percent) will be so fortunate.

Skeleton crews and partial operations appear to be the prevailing practice among employers that will not shut down completely on Nov. 22. Five percent of responding employers will have production staff on hand for Thanksgiving, and nine percent will require some professional staff to be on site. In contrast, 16 percent reported that security or public safety employees must work on the holiday, 15 percent have scheduled Thanksgiving shifts for service or maintenance employees, and 13 percent will require technicians to work on Nov. 22.

Employees who work on Thanksgiving Day will be rewarded for their sacrifices, as most who must miss or postpone their Thanksgiving dinners can expect something extra in their paychecks. Only nine percent of firms imposing Thanksgiving shifts this year will pay workers only straight time for working on the holiday, with no extra pay or compensatory time off. Conversely, well over half of the establishments expecting holiday work will provide overtime pay, including 22 percent that will pay double-time to workers who pull Thanksgiving shifts.