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Company Holiday taken away? Illinois

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  • Company Holiday taken away? Illinois

    I am new the "HR" person at my new job and I am just wondering if our company is allowed to do this. Our employee manual specifically states "All full time employees are eligible for time off with pay for the following holidays" and then lists them. Two of them are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It goes on to say "Any holiday falling on a Sunday will be observed on Monday, holidays falling on Saturday will be observed Friday." As it stands, our company is only going to give employees Christmas Eve off. However, are we not obligated to give our employees an extra day because of Christmas falling on a Saturday and we specifically state that that holiday will be observed? I know we are not legally obligated to have holidays but doesn't our policy manual as it stands contractually obligate us to give our employees two days off in observance of Christmas Eve and Christmas day?

  • #2
    No, I don't see it as an obligation. You certainly can if you want to, but unless your handbook is worded so as to create a contract (which can happen but is rare), you are not obligated to provide an additional holiday because one happens to fall on a weekend.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      "Generally" employee handbooks do not rise to the level of a legally binding
      contract & usually there is a disclaimer in them that they can be changed at any
      time.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        I have worked for companies whose formal policy in addition to the boilerplate "not a contract, and subject to change" language, would generally say something like "full time employees get 9 fixed holiday days annually, specific schedule will be published each year". So the number of days never change unless the company is trying to tighten/loosen the compensation policy.

        I am generally in payroll, I generally try to get my proposed payroll schedule done first, I guess where the holidays should go, then kick the proposed next years schedule over to HR. It is really nice if all the pieces actually fit together before someone starts publishing things. I generally want the next years schedule ready to publish around 45 days before year end.

        More generally, while once in a while a policy manual rises to the level of an enforcable contract, the vast majority of court and administrative decisions go the other way. While employers can and do use boilerplate disclaimers, even without the disclaimers, most policies are still not legally enforcable contracts. Anyone who is not sure needs to have a contract law attorney read the actual documents.

        Also, if you are the one writing a policy manual, may I suggest that you purchase a canned policy manual on CD-ROM if you cannot afford the services of an expert? It would be the best $100 (more or less) you ever spent. Policy manuals can be very state specific.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Being in HR, maybe you could suggest to your superiors that in the years where company policy indicates you get one day instead of 2, suggest providing an extra floating holiday. For example, you could designate one directed by the ee - a birthday or company anniversary. Or pick a new one at random that isn't normally celebrated - President's Day, Veteran's Day, Columbus Day, Valentine's Day, etc.

          Hope that helps.

          (PS - this same thing will happen when Christmas Eve is on Sunday and Christmas is on Monday. Technically both holidays would be observed on the same day.)

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          • #6
            I think a lot of this comes down to the intent of the policy. If the intent is for the employee to have certain holidays off, then as long as they have them off (be it because they fell on a weekend, or because you gave them the day off) then you've fulfilled your intent.

            But if the intent is to provide x number of paid holidays, then you would want to add an additional day in this case.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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