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View Full Version : Week Between Christmas And New Year=Holiday?


Huerta88
12-30-2004, 01:20 PM
Is this an increasing trend? It seems to me (no direct evidence at hand) that since I entered the workplace there's been a pronounced trend toward many (most?) people taking off the entire week between Christmas and New Year's. Maybe this is more an IMHO, as I'm not sure there will be cites/factual answers (I couldn't find any). Never have had this practice myself, but maybe I ought to . . .

Relatedly, people seem to be treating the Friday after (and even Weds. before) Thanksgiving as de facto days off. Is this (also) on the increase?

And if either of these (seeming) trends is real -- how does this tie in with the notion that, for Americans at least, people are working increasingly long with less time off?

kniz
12-30-2004, 01:54 PM
I believe you will find that most people taking off between Christmas and New Years are either using vacation time or going unpaid for that time. This is also true for the Friday after Thanksgiving. I'm sure there are exceptions but this will be generally true. I worked in the furniture industry, which always takes off the last week of December and the first week of July, in good times (up to three weeks in bad times). This is bad for workers that don't have vacation time to use or don't want to use their's at those times of the year. I was a supplier and could provide work for those that wanted it, especially if we needed to catch up. Even if that wasn't the case, I'd try and provide some work for those that needed it.

As the OP states this seems to be more prevalent and that can always lead to pressure for these extra days to also be paid holidays. It will probably happen about the time that personal leave becomes paid time. Not anytime soon.

RealityChuck
12-30-2004, 02:01 PM
It isn't new. I remember working at the GE plant twenty years ago; the week between Christmas and New Year's made it a ghost town (even more than it was, anyway, at least. :( ).

It's common to take the time. You can use up your vacation days without losing them, and by taking three or four vacation days, you can get ten days off at a time when your family will be available, too.

suranyi
12-30-2004, 02:05 PM
It isn't new. I remember working at the GE plant twenty years ago; the week between Christmas and New Year's made it a ghost town (even more than it was, anyway, at least. :( ).

It's common to take the time. You can use up your vacation days without losing them, and by taking three or four vacation days, you can get ten days off at a time when your family will be available, too.

Today is December 30th and for me it's a normal work day and I'm sitting in the office doing normal work things (except that it's lunch time right now).

Ed

Rusalka
12-30-2004, 02:15 PM
I've noticed this too, and have often wondered if these are "freebie" weeks and I'm missing out on something since it is so pervasive. Do these count as vacation days for most companies? Also, I don't see how taking 4 days off = 10 days vacation, as a previous poster inferred, can someone please explain that?

Our office officially got the day after Thanksgiving off, which was kind of nice.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
12-30-2004, 02:21 PM
At my business they started giving us "Christmas week" off a few years ago. For some odd reason, though, this year we got the week before Christmas off instead of this week. We do also get tomorrow off, and early closing today.

tomndebb
12-30-2004, 02:40 PM
This pattern has been increasing steadily for years. It tends to feed on itself, as more customers submit fewer orders, more vendors have less reason to stay open and a lot of large companies find that letting a lot of their staff take off during this slow time reduces the amount of vacation scheduling they need to accomplish during the rest of the year, so many companies that do not officially close are still willing to let a disproportionate number of their staff take off the time while there will be no call for a full staff.

The auto industry was encouraging "Christmas break" 40 years ago. My first computer job, 24 years ago, found me the sole programmer working between Christmas and New Year out of a staff of 25 or 30 (I had only hired in 7 weeks earlier and had no vacation time).

how does this tie in with the notion that, for Americans at least, people are working increasingly long with less time off?These vacation days are simply moved from vacation days that might have been taken during the summer. People plan for the holiday breaks. The overall days worked is still much lower than that typically found in Europe and on a day-to-day basis, Americans still earn a lot more overtime (or spend more hours beyond 40 working uncompensated time if they're salaried above a certain level) than people in most other countries. You are simply noticing the days when Americans do take off.

Walloon
12-30-2004, 03:10 PM
In the Middle Ages, all twelve days of Christmas from December 25 through January 5 were holy days (http://www.statesman.org/AmericanMinute.asp?date=1/6&year=2005), and thus were days off from work.

Cunctator
12-30-2004, 03:23 PM
Many firms close down in Australia for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. It's the school holidays and it's summer, so large numbers of employees take some of their leave at this time. It's a very advantageous time to take leave, because both Monday and Tuesday were public holidays (in lieu of Christmas Day and Boxing Day, which both fell on the weekend), so you only have to take three days' leave to get a whole week off work. Those companies still operating generally do so with a skeleton staff and very little real work gets done. At my organisation I'd estimate that about 60% of the staff have been absent this week. All I've been doing is mundane admin stuff like clearing up filing and old emails. And today (New Year's Eve) will be pretty quiet too, I imagine. People will start partying at lunchtime and we always get to leave at about 3.00pm anyway.

Captain Amazing
12-30-2004, 03:59 PM
Also, I don't see how taking 4 days off = 10 days vacation, as a previous poster inferred, can someone please explain that?

Well, let's take a look at me, this year, because I'm taking off this week (and visiting my family). I get Christmas and New Years off...our office is closed on those days, and because they're both on a Saturday this year, we get/got the day before off, instead. So, I needed to take off the 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th, which is 4 days. I don't go back to work until January 3. So, December 24th to January 2nd, inclusive, is 10 days. 4 days taken off=10 days vacation.

meowpossum
12-30-2004, 04:15 PM
Where I work, they started closing down Christmas week back in the 1970's, during the energy crisis. By closing all of the buildings and turning down the heat, they saved some preposterous-sounding amount of money. Not sure if this was part of any larger national campaign or something they decided to do on their own, but there's one possible origin of the practice.

I hate it, personally. I'd liefer choose for myself when I want to use my vacation days.

Ike Witt
12-30-2004, 04:19 PM
This is a regular work week for our office, but the drive in is much quicker this week than usual.

N9IWP
12-30-2004, 04:55 PM
My office is open 27-30, but lots of folks (including myself) are taking it off.
We get our vacation time renewed at the start of the year. It is also a "use it or lose it" proposition. I had 4 days left of vacation so decided to use them.

Brian

burundi
12-30-2004, 05:06 PM
I work at a college, and the week between Christmas and New Years is absolutely dead. The students and professors are gone for the entire winter break, and most staff are taking that week off as well. We get paid for that time off, so only very essential people, i.e., not me, are working.

aaelghat
12-30-2004, 05:06 PM
Perhaps some of it can be explained that you and your co-workers are getting older....

When you have school age kids there's more of an incentive to take off of work between Christmas and New Year's because your kids are also off of. I'd assume when you first entered the workforce you didn't have any kids and you and many of the people you socialized with at work didn't take off between Christmas and New Years as much as people that have families..

Perhaps there is a greater trend of the population taking that time off, but again, perhaps it is also a reality of the demographic that you are now in.

Khadaji
12-30-2004, 05:57 PM
The majority of my group takes off between XMas and NY. My boss seems obsessed with whether or not I'm going to (to the point where a guy who reports to me said "Dude, I think XXXX wants you to take that week off.) I however, have no reason to take off and go in every day.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
12-30-2004, 06:43 PM
We don't get the week off, but many people do take vacation days, and it's a bad time to have meetings.

However, my worksite really does become a ghost town at this time. We have Raytheon on one side of us, and a Boeing office on the other side, and aerospace companies traditionally shut down for one or two weeks for the holidays. And most of the onsite services and facilities close down too. Tomorrow, if I didn't have some lunch stashed away in the fridge, I'd have to drive out to lunch. But they'll probably spring us early, making it a moot point.

Rusalka
12-30-2004, 08:22 PM
If aerospace or other companies "shut down" for one or two weeks, does that mean their employees are REQUIRED to use their vacation time, or are they two free weeks of vacation?

How many of you specifically got the 31st as an official holiday this year?

doreen
12-30-2004, 08:24 PM
I've noticed this too, and have often wondered if these are "freebie" weeks and I'm missing out on something since it is so pervasive. Do these count as vacation days for most companies? Also, I don't see how taking 4 days off = 10 days vacation, as a previous poster inferred, can someone please explain that?

Our office officially got the day after Thanksgiving off, which was kind of nice.

I don't think they are usually "freebie" weeks. Most employers require people to use their vacation days. Even when the company closes down, I wouldn't always call it a "freebie week"- sometimes it's more like "You get two weeks paid vacation per year- the two weeks we close, one at Christmas and one in the summer "

Huerta88
12-30-2004, 08:42 PM
If aerospace or other companies "shut down" for one or two weeks, does that mean their employees are REQUIRED to use their vacation time, or are they two free weeks of vacation?

How many of you specifically got the 31st as an official holiday this year?
I have the 31st as an official holiday. Very weirdly, we had BOTH the 24th and 23rd (the sacred and traditional night-before-the-night-before-Christmas) officially off this year. That got me started on the theory that people have just given up on doing much the last 10 days of Dec.

I am somewhat familiar with the Japan practice of having official company-wide vacations/shutdowns (this year I think it is from 12/29-1/2, plus late April for "Golden Week"). My impression is that this IS much of the employees' vacation (I think they get a little extra discretionary time). Makes for a bit of a nightmare, as I understand it, when 80 million people head for the trains and airports on the same day.

doreen
12-30-2004, 09:02 PM
How many of you specifically got the 31st as an official holiday this year?

This is a bad year to ask this question. A lot of people will have 12/24 and 12/31 as a holiday this year who wouldn't normally. For example, my contract says when a holiday falls on a Sat, my employer can either observe the holiday on another day or credit us with an extra day of leave. They chose to give us the leave. Next year they have no choice - contract says when the holiday falls on a Sun it's observed on Monday. Has nothing really to do with Christmas or New Year's- the same policy applies to July 4th.

zippyh
12-30-2004, 09:31 PM
Boeing shuts down the week between Christmas and New Year.
No usage of employee vacation is required.

Allegedly it was done this way as a trade off for not getting some other days off during the year but as far as I can tell, the only usual holiday Boeing doesn't get off is President's Day.

ZipperJJ
12-30-2004, 10:48 PM
My dad's Ford stamping plant has a mandatory shutdown between Christmas and New Year's. There's another week in the summer too, I think that encompasses the 4th of July.

They're required to have a plumber and a pipefitter there at all times, even during shutdown.

Presses don't run but many skilled trade guys work for like sextuple time ($140,000/hr) doing maintenence while all the machines are down.

So during a plant shutdown, no one is using their vacation days. But they do have a week off.