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Giving Thanks for the 4-Day Thanksgiving Weekend

Nov. 19, 2012
Not all American workers are able to enjoy the traditional 4-day weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday. Bloomberg BNA reports that about a third of the U.S. employers will require some of their workers to report for duty on Thanksgiving.

A new survey from Bloomberg BNA reveals that 73 percent of surveyed employers have scheduled Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday as paid days off for all or most of their employees. About 36 percent of establishments, however, will require at least some of their workers to report for duty on Thanksgiving Day.

This represents a moderate increase in reported work requirements from the previous 3 years, according to Bloomberg BNA. Still, Thanksgiving work shifts were more common a decade or longer ago; nearly half of employers surveyed in 2002 required some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day.

Skeleton crews and partial operations appear to be the prevailing practice among employers that will not shut down completely on Thanksgiving Day. Five percent of responding employers will have production staff on hand for Thanksgiving, and 9 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 the holiday.

Manufacturing Workers Give Thanks

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 4-day weekend is on tap at 69 percent of surveyed nonmanufacturing companies and at roughly two-thirds of non-business establishments, including health care facilities and government agencies.

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. Nearly a quarter of surveyed manufacturing companies (24 percent) will reward workers with a Thanksgiving gift this year, compared with 9 percent of nonmanufacturing enterprises and just 6 percent of responding non-business employers.

Additionally, 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 81 percent of firms with fewer than 1,000 employees, while workers at only 56 percent of larger organizations will be so fortunate.

Bloomberg BNA’s Holiday Practices Survey polled 628 employers in September by using a self-administered, Web-based survey.

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