Companies aren’t legally required to give employees time off for federal or state holidays. In fact, an employer can mandate that workers come in on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving or other traditional holidays.

However, many employers do give employees these days off from work and many companies actually give their workers extra time off. For instance, they might let employees leave early on the workday before a big holiday or give off for a holiday-adjacent day, like Black Friday or a Monday when Christmas falls on a Sunday.

It’s nice for management to give employees this extra time off around the holidays and it keeps the boss from being seen as a Grinch or a Scrooge. However, letting employees have this extra time does mean less productivity.

So, is it worth it to give employees extra time off? Consider the following benefits it can provide.

Morale boost

Employers might hesitate to give employees extra time off because it will lower productivity. However, if you’re in a business where the other companies you deal with are giving their employees off, you’re probably not going to get that much done anyway.

In fact, if your workers realize their counterparts at other companies are getting off, it can have a demoralizing effect. Conversely, giving your employees some unexpected time off can provide a big morale boost.

This kind of boost can be particularly valuable for small businesses that need inexpensive ways to maintain morale. Employees tend to value time off more than any other perk, so a small loss in productivity can be made up for by a massive surge in employee engagement.

Supports employer brand

Today’s labor market is tighter than ever: Companies are scrambling to attract and retain top talent. In this environment, where workers have all the leverage, it doesn’t make sense to be a stickler for every single rule, especially if competitors are willing to bend the rules.

At a bare minimum, offering extra time off around the holidays will not give employees something to grumble about. This policy of extra time off also helps when it comes to recruitment, as hiring managers can tout their employee-friendly policies.

Rewards good performance

If your company is so inclined, a bit of extra time off around the holidays can serve as extra motivation in the run up to these special days.

This approach works best if done in a good-natured manner. Employees shouldn’t feel like the extra time off is being dangled in front of them like a carrot, in a blatant attempt to get them to work harder. Instead, approach this incentive as if the extra time off going to happen anyway, but a very good performance would be appreciated in return, and possibly lead to even more time off.

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At Cornerstone, we fully support all the employee engagement efforts of our clients. If your organization is currently looking for a talent acquisition partner, please contact us today.

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