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What Is A Floating Day Off?

What is a floating day off? This question might confuse people. After all, there are many similar sounding terms - regular days off, vacation time, paid time off (PTO), etc. are all critical and widely understood terms within office work.

This being said, what is a floating day off and how are these more widely known terms different from a floater day off?

Let's break it down.

What is a floating day off?

A floater day off is a paid day off that each employee can decide to take. It is taken in addition to other public holidays or vacation time. It is referred to as "floating" because the particular day chosen can change every year.

The day that a float day occurs varies based on the company.

For example, some employees may choose the day after Thanksgiving off as a float day. Other float days include certain religious or cultural holidays that may not be public holidays within the United States -- but are embraced as holidays by an entire religion or subpopulation of your workers.

Offering such a day off as a float day can be good for morale and ensure that you treat all of your employees with respect. It can also help protect you from any claims of religious discrimination.

Federal and state laws do not typically recognize the concept of a float day off. This lack of recognition means that you are under no obligation to offer float days for essential or religious holidays.

What is a floating holiday?

A floating holiday is a public holiday that occurs every year -- but the date the holiday lands on changes.

Thanksgiving is an excellent example of a floating holiday. Thanksgiving happens every year (the fourth Thursday of November); however, the date of the holiday changes.

The changing nature of floating holidays can make planning slightly more complicated, but as long as an employer notes that this day is off in their handbook, they should be all set. Floating holidays occur every calendar year, so there is never any question about when it is. Floating holidays are slightly different from a float day itself, which may not be a set "holiday" but a day that people simply are given off.

How do floating holidays work?

This leads to another question — what is float holiday pay, and how does it work? The best thing you can do for your business is to ensure that your floating holiday pay is identical to your regular holiday pay. Making this decision ensures no discrepancy between your float pay and your other holiday pay. How much you pay on holidays is entirely up to you, and every business manages this a little differently.

The answer to the above question also depends on how exactly you structure your holiday pay, which can implicate other complicated questions. For example, if you give a floating holiday and tie it to a set date, you would not have to pay that day to an employee upon termination or resignation. However, if you offer your birthday as a floating holiday, you would have to pay it to the employee if your state law requires that all paid days off are paid to an employee.

How can I manage floating holidays?

First, understand the importance of these holidays. When implemented the right way, you can offer floating holidays as part of an effort to respect an employee's work-life balance, improve employee morale, supplement vacation days, and reduce burnout. Given the general labor shortage and that employees have many options about where to work, this may be a good management practice.

If you decide to offer floating holidays to supplement personal days and sick leave, make sure you communicate your policy with your employees. This way there is no question about when they can take these paid holidays.

You also want to make sure they don't confuse floating holidays with other forms of time off, like taking off for other sick days, paid holidays, religious holidays, or using PTO days.

Furthermore, you will want to write out your policy for float days in your employee handbook. It should be in the same section as your vacation/sick days information.

The greatest challenge with floating holidays and float pay is the administrative burden on your company. Your business will have to manage expectations and create a system for managing floating holidays, tracking floating holidays, tracking float pay, and making sure that you do not have too many employees taking a float day at the same time.

While this can create some complications within your payroll tracking, it is by no means an insurmountable burden. Your best bet is to lean on your HR professionals to devise the best system that meets your needs and ensures that your business is fully staffed on the appropriate day.

Interested in learning more?

If you are wondering, "What is a floating day off?" you should now have a better understanding. Floating days off can be useful HR tools that can help respect your employee's culture and religion while also ensuring that they are giving time off for their hard work. They do place administrative burdens on you, and you will have to manage those issues. Nonetheless, there is no question that there are real management benefits to offering floating days off.

Have more questions about floating days off, time away from the office, or how to enhance your business? Contact Teamworks today, and let us show you how to improve your business with streamlined and fully integrated HR software solutions.


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