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Posted on: Feb 18, 2021

Floating Holidays: Seemingly Innocent but Riddled with Pitfalls

Intro by Alix Vollmer, Residential Warranty Services, Inc.

As I write this introduction, I am mentally preparing for the series of celebrations that will begin for my family, families across the United States and families across the world…and I’m already exhausted. After all, most people are unaware that Chinese New Year is not just a one-day celebration; it’s a 15-day period of celebration full of traditions to uphold each day! But, similar to Ramadan, Hannukah, or Diwali, how do companies in the United States deal with employees who celebrate these holidays? What are the legal issues surrounding a policy deviating from the traditional standard holiday? Well, there’s always the "floating holiday," isn’t there?

At first glance, a floating holiday policy seems to be a win-win situation in the corporate world: employees are able to celebrate the holidays meaningful to them and employers gain coverage on traditionally American holidays that they may not otherwise have been able to get. Everybody wins, right? Unfortunately, as we in the legal profession know, if it sounds too good to be true, there’s likely a compliance issue to maneuver hidden in there somewhere. 

Pepper Hamilton LLP, a firm that has since merged to form Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, published an article in 2019 that details the potential pitfalls to businesses enacting a floating holiday policy and not only suggests ways to limit your company’s liability but also offers a look at how some states handle the compliance and suggestions on how to tailor this policy to benefit both employees and employers. Check it out here.

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