What is a floating holiday?

A floating holiday is a paid day off that an employee can decide to take on a day of their choosing. It’s called a floating holiday because it can “float” to whichever day the person chooses. Companies usually provide these in addition to the standard paid holidays as a type of benefit.

People can use floating holidays for various purposes, from holidays that are not nationally recognized to personal occasions like birthdays and weddings.

Why should HR leaders care about floating holidays?

Floating holidays, like other benefits, are used as a way to boost employee satisfaction and attract top talent. People appreciate floating holidays for their ability to offer:

  • Flexibility56 percent of people report that flexibility is the top way their workplace could better support them
  • Diversity and inclusion–Floating holidays are an opportunity for your organization to allow people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds to take time off for occasions important to them
  • Preserving PTO and sick days–When given a chance to use floating holidays as a way to extend existing vacation, people can save their PTO and sick days

What can HR leaders do to implement floating holidays successfully?

If you’re thinking of adding floating holidays to your organization’s benefits package, there are a few things you will want to consider when crafting your policy. These include:

  • When people can or cannot take floating holidays–Some organizations allow people to take floating holidays any time. Others limit them to specific days or exclude some days from being eligible as floating holidays.
  • How many floating holidays can people take per year–A typical starting point is two floating holidays a year.
  • Procedures for earning floating holidays–Will your floating holidays be available at the beginning of the year or earned over time? Will new hires qualify for floating holidays immediately upon joining, or will you institute a waiting period?
  • Procedures for requesting floating holidays–How far in advance must floating holidays be scheduled and approved?

Companies should communicate all this information in employee handbooks to avoid confusion about floating holiday policies.

Why should floating holidays be a part of modern HR strategy?

In a highly competitive talent market, offering flexible work conditions is key: Hybrid work and remote positions attract seven times more applicants than office-based roles in today’s market. But, flexibility does more than just help you attract and retain talent. It helps improve productivity, with 43 percent of people saying that flexibility helps them be more productive. Floating holidays are one way to offer more much-appreciated and sought-after flexibility in the workplace.