Happy New Year! Do you ever wonder why we start off every year with a holiday on the very first day?
We like to think of it as a reminder that it’s healthy to take a little time for rest and relaxation before jumping back into our usual, work-a-holic lifestyles.
For small and medium-sized business owners, the year ahead is likely full of hustle and elbow grease. But you know what they say about all work and no play. You and your staff need some time off every now and then to recharge. That’s why many employers offer benefits like paid vacation or paid time off (PTO).
But there are certain days of the year that nobody wants to work. We’re talking, of course, about holidays. Since the vast majority of workers (and their bosses!) would rather spend these days celebrating with their families and friends, many businesses close their doors and give everyone the day off.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. workers in the private sector get an average of 8 paid holidays per year. Here are the most common.
Top paid holidays for small and medium-sized businesses
Though most U.S. workers receive about 8 paid holidays per year, there are only 6 to 7 specific holidays that nearly every full-time, permanent employee can take off with pay. The remaining 1 to 2 holidays vary from business to business.
To help you put together a benefits package for your staff, we’ve made a list of the most common paid holidays that U.S. employers give their teams. We recommend that you give your employees as many of these holidays as possible, and maybe a few more, if it fits your budget.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is January 1. 90% of all civilian workers receive a paid holiday on this day. And it’s a good thing, too, as many people like to sleep in and recover from the New Year’s Eve parties of the night before!
Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. In 2020, it will fall on May 25. 90% of civilian workers get the day off, making it a 3-day weekend for many. This is a solemn holiday, meant to honor the memories of fallen soldiers who died in military service, and people might spend the day visiting cemeteries and memorials.
Americans celebrate our country’s independence from Britain and the end of the Revolutionary War on July 4 every year. U.S. businesses give this paid holiday to 92% of workers every year so that they can spend the day and night having barbecues and watching the traditional fireworks displays.
Our country observes Labor Day on the first Monday in September. In 2020, it will fall on September 7. This holiday is a creation of the labor movement, and it recognizes the ingenuity and achievements of American workers. Naturally, a day that celebrates the hard work your team puts in all year should be a day of rest. That’s why 91 percent of civilian workers get a paid holiday on Labor Day.
Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, is one of the most popular holidays for Americans. In fact, it’s often called the start of the “holiday season” in the U.S.
Many people gather with family members for parties, football games, and big meals, some of them traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to be together. And a whopping 97% of civilian workers get a paid holiday on this day. In 2020, Thanksgiving will fall on November 26.
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day, but it has become much more than a religious holiday for many Americans. It is always celebrated on December 25 with food, parties, gifts, and religious ceremonies. Like Thanksgiving, it is an extremely popular paid holiday, with 97% of civilian workers getting the day off.
No, this isn’t a holiday on a boat. A “floating” holiday is an extra day off that employees can use to observe another holiday of their choosing, outside of their employer’s regular holiday schedule. According to a survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, 48% of U.S. employers offer their workers floating holidays.
Often, employees get 1 to 2 of these per year. Floating holidays can help your staff who belong to minority religious or cultural groups, and therefore celebrate different holidays, feel less marginalized. Some staff might use these holidays to celebrate birthdays or just turn a 3-day holiday weekend into a longer break.
If your budget has room for a few more paid days off, you might want to consider adding some of these holidays to your calendar.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an influential civil rights leader, and his birthday is a federal holiday. It is celebrated on the third Monday of January. In 2020, it will fall on January 20, 2020, and 32% of civilian workers get the day off.
George Washington’s birthday, or President’s Day, is a federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February. In 2020, it will fall on February 17. 24% of civilian workers get a paid holiday on this day.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. In 2020, it will fall on April 10. It is not a federal holiday, but 21% of civilian workers get the day off with pay.
Veteran’s Day falls on November 11 every year, but it can be observed on the 10th or 12th if it happens to fall on a weekend. 19% of civilian workers get a paid holiday for Veteran’s Day.
The day after Thanksgiving
Also known as “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving is another semi-popular paid holiday because it gives workers a 4-day weekend. 43% percent of civilian workers get this day off. In 2020 it will fall on November 27.
Christmas Eve is December 24. It is a paid holiday for 28% of civilian workers.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is December 31, the last day of the year. 15% of civilian workers get a paid holiday this day.
Paid holiday leave is an important part of your company’s benefits package. We hope this list helps you to develop your own paid holiday schedule.