Thursday, February 4, 2016

Holidays for everyone

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     Employees expect paid holidays. But in today's world, it can mean problems for a business. Just which holidays are paid?

     Years ago I knew a business owner who solved the problem in a very unique way. As his business grew from 5 to 10 and then from 10 to 20 employees, the people he hired represented different ethnic groups and backgrounds. His business was open 7 days, 365 days a year, and he had everyone working together like a well-oiled machine--except for the holidays.

     The company started out in the 1970s with 9 paid holidays--all designated. The business was open on these days and there was always a scramble as to who would be working. The holidays were New Year's Day, President's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition, the company paid 3 personal days each calendar year. All in all, there were 12 days off with pay each year (not counting sick days or vacation days). 

     As the years went by, the business grew, and complaints about the holidays began to roll in. A Jewish man wanted to take Jewish holidays. An employee from Egypt wanted Islamic holidays. An African-American wanted to take off on Martin Luther King Day. A Chinese guy wondered why he had to take off any holiday. An atheist refused to take off Easter and Christmas. And a Buddhist wanted to take off on his birthday.

     The owner of the business solved the problem in a very unique way. The company dropped all holidays, leaving no official ones. Instead, every employee was entitled to, and paid for, 12 personal days during each calendar year. They could be taken no more than two days together, and at least one week's notice had to be given in writing. The 12 days could be taken or not--if not taken, they were not carried forward into the next year.

     The solution tossed the holiday problem squarely into the employee's lap. Interestingly, some of the loudest requests for religious holidays are now spent elsewhere during the calendar year. One employee began taking Groundhog's Day and another opted for Halloween. 

     You might consider this option in your own business. Whatever you do, however, make certain you are in compliance with all the regulations coming at you these days. 

     Contrary to popular belief, business owners do not get any time off. You carry your worries with you wherever you go. While the lawyers and busybodies who write the rules relax on Memorial Day, you are hard at work. 


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