With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday this year, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about holiday absenteeism, and time off. Some of you are probably already busy at a backyard bbq enjoying a hot dog and some potato salad. Others in the hospitality industry, are busy at work. So what’s the best policy for a national holiday falling in the middle of the week? I say, let the employees choose.
A holiday like the Fourth, deserves to be celebrated by every American, in some form or another. Depending on your age and lifestyle, how you celebrate the Fourth of July can be vastly different. Those with families start early, and while firework displays are generally somewhat late, as soon as the grand finale has shown, it’s time to get the kids in bed and hit the hay. All in time to be at work bright and early. For younger employees, the celebration doesn’t get started until dinner time, and continues on into the late night, early morning. Because of these differences, it makes sense to let employees choose which day they get off, the fourth or the fifth.
Of course, if the option to have the the Fourth of July off as a paid holiday exists, choosing the fifth instead will not be paid. For most of your younger employees, this won’t be much of a deterrent. My reasons for allowing employees to choose, is that I have seen to many fifth of Julys that fall on a work day full of exhausted, hungover, and absent employees. What’s the point? You may as well allow your employees to choose how they’ll celebrate, and not be unproductive. If no supervisor wants to come in on the Fourth, you could have employees work remotely, or offer time and a half for any supervisor that volunteers.
Basically, if you accommodate employees wants and needs around the holiday, the employees will be more happy and productive. Instead of having a fleet of tired, unproductive twenty-somethings in your office tomorrow, give them the day off. You can have a laugh with all of your more mature coworkers. So HR pros, you want to reduce holiday absenteeism? Plan for it instead, have the option to work on the fourth, and take off the fifth. Now go enjoy some fireworks and fine American cuisine!