The Benefits of Floating Holidays for Employees and Employers

CoachHub · 22 December 2022 · 4 min read

A floating holiday policy is an exciting and engaging offering that gives employees more flexibility around which holidays they can take off work.

This policy strongly promotes a more inclusive work environment. With a floating holiday policy employees can choose to take an extra day off work to celebrate holidays that may not be included on the mainstream holiday calendar.

Continue reading to find out how a floating holiday policy works and what to consider during its implementation.

Defining floating holidays

A floating holiday is a paid day off that employees can take at any time of the year. This policy is offered in addition to their PTO and sick time. Floating holidays may differ from traditional PTO as employees can take it immediately and may also take it during a holiday when paid time off is not offered by the company.

Floating holidays, also known as personal days, floating days off, and discretionary time off, offer employees added flexibility and agency over their schedules.

A company may decide to offer two floating holidays per year in addition to regular paid holidays. Floating holidays may be used for any reason or the company may decide to define a set of acceptable reasons in the policy, such as religious or cultural holidays, employee birthdays, or other state holidays during which the company usually remains open.

Benefits of floating holidays:

  • Allows employees to choose when they take holidays
  • Benefits employees who do not celebrate Christmas and would rather work during this time
  • Better work-life balance for employees
  • Builds an inclusive work environment
  • Allows employees to celebrate during celebrations that most organizations don’t recognize as paid holidays
  • Shows employees that you care about their work-life balance and mental wellbeing
  • Can be used in tandem with other vacation days to maximize their PTO
  • Attracts top talent as it contributes to benefit packages for prospective employees
floating holidays

Implementing floating holidays in the workplace

When implementing a floating holiday policy it is worth considering the expectations of employees as well as employers. Define clear terms that suit everyone involved and communicate them regularly. Consider how digital coaching can help during the implementation of new policies, guidance on policy design, communication, and tracking.

Pearson recommends the following five-step process for developing a floating-holiday policy:

  1. Define the paid holidays that everyone will take off.
  2. Select a number of floating holidays employees can take while the office is open.
  3. Set floating-holiday parameters regarding which days can be used as floating holidays and rollover terms.
  4. Create and distribute your time-off policy and add it to your employee handbook.
  5. Set up the appropriate adjustment to payroll, the floating holiday may be full or partial pay.

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Ensuring the success of a floating holiday policy

Once the policy is implemented it is vital that the terms and requirements are widely understood. Employees and management should all be encouraged to make use of the policy while understanding what it allows them to do. Communication and engagement will be at the core of the policy’s success. Having a clear system in place to manage and track the floating holiday days of each employee will also determine the smooth running of the policy. Finally, a digital coaching program could be implemented to support the employees in charge of the project and assist in the overall creation of the policy.

1. Clear and effective communication

Communicating about floating holidays in the workplace will ensure the policy benefits employees and employers. Employees must feel encouraged and empowered to take their holidays and not feel any shame around utilizing the policy.

There are several ways to communicate the details of the floating holiday policy to employees such as:

  • Employee handbooks
  • Announcements
  • During one-to-ones with managers
  • Regular reminders

2. Manage and track floating holidays

Implement an appropriate system for managing and tracking floating holidays. Consider using digital tools and platforms where employees can request and log their floating holidays. It is important to have shared visibility so employees cannot take advantage of the policy while employers can encourage those who have not taken time off to utilize the policy.

3. Digital Coaching

Digital coaching can help companies draft floating holiday policies and coach HR teams to effectively communicate the terms. Coaches can provide guidance on messaging and cultivate employee engagement around the policy. Such a project can be a huge resource drain and will take time away from other projects. Having a coach to work with the team involved as a guide, motivator and collaborator will be a worthwhile investment.

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In conclusion

A floating holiday policy gives your workforce more freedom and agency over their free time while being a statement of the company’s investment in employee wellbeing and diversity. This policy creates a workplace that is trustworthy, flexible and encourages the celebration of all holidays and traditions. Setting clear expectations, ensuring effective communication and defining a process of tracking floating holidays will allow for a successful and valuable policy. To maximize the effectiveness and benefits of the policy, consider working with a digital coach for guidance and support throughout the entire process. Designing and implementing new policies can significantly add to the workload of the responsible department. Offering an opportunity to work with a coach can greatly contribute to the team’s engagement, openness and overall success.

Cathy Stapleton
Cathy is an Irish writer based in Berlin, Germany who is passionate about using words to inspire growth. As a certified mindfulness facilitator and performance coach, Cathy aims to create work that helps people connect with themselves and heighten their awareness. When she is not writing she is usually running in nature, meditating or contemplating an existential crisis.

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