Income Artist

What is a Floating Holiday at Work

Author: Adam
Published:September 14, 2022
3 mins 42 secs
What is a Floating Holiday at Work

Everybody loves a day off. Whether you’re wanting to catch up with friends and family on your day off, or spend a bit of time by yourself, a day off is a great way to refresh before getting back into the workspace. So, what’s even better than a planned holiday?

A day that you can take off because you want to be able to spend it outside, or because some of your family has come to town, or you simply aren’t feeling work that day.

This is what is called a floating holiday.

A floating holiday can either be a public holiday that doesn’t land on the same date every year, or it can be a day off from work that you get paid for, that is a substitute for a public holiday.

A good example of the first explanation is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving doesn’t fall on the same day every year.

The second explanation is a paid day off of work, that is chosen by the employee. This is what we’re going to focus on today.

Understanding Floating Holidays

A floating holiday is a paid day off that is granted to an employee which is used as a substitute for a public holiday.

It doesn’t need to fall on a specific date, and usually employees can use these days whenever they need to because they are paid time off days.

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These days tend to offer flexibility for those employees that don’t typically celebrate holidays that are recognized by the government.

A good example of this is Presidents’ Day, an employee can use a floating holiday on this day.

Some people choose to take floating holidays on days that are significant, but a lot of the time, an employer will offer you the opportunity to take a floating holiday at any time of the year, as long as you give them a bit of notice.

As an Employer Do I Need to Offer Floating Holidays?


There is no legislation that requires you as an employer to offer floating holidays to your employees.

However, there is legislation that means that as the employer, you need to provide reasonable accommodation to employees, to allow for religious observation.

This means that you will need to give your employees time off for religious observances, and if you want to avoid this, you will need to be able to prove that it is going to negatively affect the business.

A lot of the time, this can be hard to do.

Are Floating Holidays the Exact Same as PTO?

You might see the correlation between floating holidays and paid time off, and yes, the two are very similar. There are some companies out there that will register them as the same kind of day off.

Vacation days and paid time off is typically added to an employee’s work history the longer that they work at the company.

This means that if the company begins with a base amount of paid time off days, employees can accumulate these over time.

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However, when it comes to floating holidays, these are awarded at the start of the year, and they expire at the end of the year.

This means that once a new year begins, so does the cycle of floating holidays. This means that if you don’t use your floating holidays during this time, you won’t be able to move them over to the next year.

What is the Standard for a Floating Holiday?


When beginning a job, employees need to understand what is an acceptable when it comes to floating holidays. As the employer, you need to be able to define these expectations with your employees.

The bottom line is that there is no one way to set floating holiday standards. Different companies work in different industries, and of course different industries have different peak seasons, and requirements.

A good approach is to look at the calendar and see if specific days make sense to have off. A good example of this is the Friday after Thanksgiving.

A lot of people are going to travel for the holidays, and they will need that extra day off.

When it comes to setting up floating holidays, some companies will provide a list of days that are typically chosen for floating holidays, and then let their employees choose which ones they have off.

You also have to give your employees the option of choosing their own, as long as they give enough notice.