For a More Inclusive Workplace, Consider a Floating Holiday

Like most companies, DWC releases a holiday calendar at the beginning of each year. Typically, it looks much like the holiday calendars of other businesses, including those of our customers. Until now, not much thought went into which days of the year our employees would prefer to take a day away from work to celebrate a holiday or honor a cause. We’ve always tended to stay true to the traditionally observed holiday schedules in the U.S. — including government and religious observations.

This year, members of DWC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group, along with VP of Human Resources, Laura Kitto, surveyed staff on this subject. Based on employee feedback and a desire to make our holiday calendar more meaningful and inclusive, it was decided that Distributor Wire & Cable would ask each individual to pre-select a floating holiday. With this new policy, an employee can either choose a floating holiday as a substitute for an unobserved public holiday or simply choose a day of the year to personally celebrate and reflect upon that which is special to them.

“Empowering our DWC Family members to select a specific day that means something to them was an easy decision”, states Laura Kitto, DWC’s VP of Human Resources. “Whether it’s a religious or cultural observation, a special day like veteran’s day, or something more personal — enabling people the ability to honor and celebrate what matters to THEM is a positive step toward being more inclusive with our yearly holiday calendar”, adds Kitto.

Should your electrical distributor offer a floating holiday?

Floating holidays are advantageous for both businesses and employees. Here are just some of the benefits:

  1. It can keep your business running during the holidays.

Some businesses automatically give their employees time off during certain holidays, which may fall in line with some companies’ busiest seasons. Instead of losing out on revenue, companies can offer floating holidays to allow some employees to take time off while continuing to keep the business open during that time. This type of policy is beneficial for both your business and your employees.

2. It can reduce administrative burdens for your electrical distributor.

Choosing an inclusive holiday schedule that accommodates every employee can be taxing. To minimize these scheduling issues, you can offer floating holidays. This allows you to choose which primary public holidays you want to include in your standard PTO policy and lets your employees choose which other holidays work best for them.

  1. It gives employees more flexibility and a better work-life balance.

Everyone loves taking PTO, but not everyone’s life fits neatly into the same time-off schedule. Instead of forcing employees to take a day off during a time they would rather be working (and vice versa), a floating holiday schedule gives employees some flexibility, which can reduce stress and improve work-life balance.

  1. It builds an inclusive work culture.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is at the top of many organizations’ to-do lists, and for good reason. Diversity and inclusion efforts can help improve employee performance, satisfaction, and retention. Adding a floating holiday to your distributors’ employee benefits plan is a great way to support those initiatives. There are many religious and cultural celebrations that most organizations may not recognize as paid holidays. Floating holidays allow employees a chance to observe the celebrations that really matter to them.

  1. It helps attract and retain top talent.

A floating holiday is an inexpensive and desirable benefit that can help your electrical distributor attract top talent and retain current employees. Instead of giving employees all the paid holidays you think they want, you allow them to take off some time that they prefer. This benefit encourages employees to take meaningful time off, and it shows that your company cares about them, their culture, and what they value.

Some things to think about when developing a floating-holiday policy:

Because every team has different needs, a floating holiday policy should be unique to your business. However, there are a few standard steps that every employer or HR manager can take to develop a successful floating holiday policy.

  • Schedule your paid holidays. Determine which days the office and/or warehouse will be closed, and everyone will take off.
  • Set floating holiday parameters ahead of time. Remember, these are paid days off when your electrical distributor is open. Clearly communicate any rules and expectations around floating holidays to accommodate the employee and eliminate any impact on customer service.
  • Create and distribute your time-off policy. Create a PTO memo that clearly defines holiday time, floating holiday time, vacation time, and sick time, and explains how employees will request the different types of PTO. Add this policy to your employee handbook and give the resource to all employees.

The very definition of the word “holiday” is – any dedicated day or period of celebration. Providing time for individual employees to honor specific beliefs and celebrate what is important to them helps promote diversity and inclusion, improves job satisfaction, and helps attract great talent to work for your electrical distributor.

Does your company provide floating holidays? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.