What is a Floating Holiday?

Learn about floating holidays. Includes information and frequently asked questions about a floating holiday.

Updated on March 31st, 2020

The SMB Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Floating holidays allow employees to take paid time off for personal reasons or to observe a religious holiday not recognized by the state. A floating holiday is supplemental to a paid day off, meaning that employees can use floating holidays at any time over and above paid federal holidays.

Many employers include floating holidays as a benefit to meet diversity requirements and to keep their employees happy.

How to Draft a Floating Holiday Policy:

1. Who qualifies for floating holidays?

Make sure that the policy is applied fairly to each employee.

2. When can an employee take a floating holiday?

If no time period is specified, the employee should be able to take a floating holiday at any time.

3. Set guidelines for carry-over time.

You will need to decide whether floating holidays can be carried over to the next year or should be used within the same calendar year.

4. How an employee should schedule a floating holiday.

Must an employee schedule a floating holiday in advance, and should it be approved by a manager?

5. Track floating holidays like you would track paid vacation days.

Many companies use employee tracking software and payroll software to track both vacation and floating holidays.

6. What happens when an employee leaves?

Since floating holidays are considered the same as paid vacation days, you should pay out an employee if they leave the company.

FAQs:

What is considered a floating holiday?

Floating holidays are a fixed number of personal days that employees may use as paid time off at any time during the year, and is over and above any vacation, sick or other paid time off that is due to them. It is usually given when their religious practices don't match the standard holiday schedule or for any reason they may need the day off.

Is Thanksgiving a floating holiday?

Federal holidays are a combination of religious, civic, and traditional celebrations that would not be considered as a floating holiday. Thanksgiving would fall under the traditional category.

Do floating holidays roll over?

Some employers may require employees to use their floating holidays before year-end, while others may allow them to roll over.

Is Christmas a floating holiday?

Federal holidays are a combination of religious, civic, and traditional celebrations that would not be considered as a floating holiday. Christmas would fall under the religious category.

Is Martin Luther King Day a floating holiday?

Federal holidays are a combination of religious, civic, and traditional celebrations that would not be considered as a floating holiday. Martin Luther King Day would fall under the civic category.

Is Easter a floating holiday?

Federal holidays are a combination of religious, civic, and traditional celebrations that would not be considered as a floating holiday. Easter would fall under the religious category.

Am I required to offer floating holidays?

No. There are no laws that require you to offer floating holidays. However, many companies do offer floating holidays for a better work-life balance.

Why should I offer floating holidays?

Some employees may practice Judaism, Islam, or Hinduism and wish to observe a religious holiday such as Rosh Hashana or Eid Al-Fitr; while other employees may simply want to take their birthday off. Giving employees the option to take a day off when they need to shows that your organization cares about their diverse needs.

What should my floating holiday policy include?

If you decide to have a floating holiday policy., ensure that it has proper guidelines in place to avoid confusion between managers and staff. You should also check your state's labor laws to make sure that you comply with all rules and regulations concerning time off.