Corporate Holiday Cheer

Telecom and optical networking companies are giving employees a treat this holiday season: time off. Has corporate America been struck by the holiday spirit? Or have the number crunchers found another way to trim expenditures?

The answer is probably the latter. Companies can save on operational costs just by shutting down facilities for a week or so. The trend toward closing up shop over a holiday break is growing. Many companies in the U.S. and Canada gave workers a week off in early July to celebrate Independence Day and Canada Day (see Optical Companies Extend Holidays). Now, they're doing the same for Christmas and New Year’s. Light Reading polled readers in December to find out if their companies were shutting down for the holidays. Here’s a summary of the results:

  • Roughly 47 percent of the 237 people who responded say that their companies have mandated companywide vacations for the holidays to conserve cash.

  • While companies like Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) traditionally close their facilities the week between Christmas and New Year’s, a number of companies seem to be doing it for the first time this year. Sixty-six percent of respondents say that their companies didn’t shut down for the holidays last year.

  • With Christmas and New Year’s Day falling on Wednesdays, some companies have decided to close their doors for two weeks. Forty-one percent of those polled say their companies are closing for more than a week. Twenty-eight percent say they are getting the standard week off, and roughly a quarter say they will get a few days vacation.

  • Companies may be saving some cash on the electric bill, but most aren’t saving on their payroll. About 64 percent of those taking the poll say that their time off will be counted as paid vacation.

  • One thing is clear, workers are happy about their winter vacation. When asked if they thought it was a good idea for companies to shut down for the holidays to save cash, 70 percent say, “Why not? I’ll take any break I can get from working.”

    For the rest of the December poll results click here: Holiday Shutdowns. You can also check out January’s work poll: Job Prospects in 2003. Will 2003 be a better year than 2002? Light Reading wants to know what you’re expecting for the coming year.

    — Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
  • Archimedes 12/5/2012 | 12:56:58 AM
    re: Corporate Holiday Cheer Part of the reason for mandatory vacation is to get a liability (vacation days) off the books. If the employee has no vacation days, s/he doesn't get paid. Either way, it can be a significant savings in expense or off the liabilities column.
    beetlejuice 12/5/2012 | 12:56:55 AM
    re: Corporate Holiday Cheer Nothing but a fast mim. Corporate tax laws allows double fast mim corporate deducations for holiday shutdowns.
    10gliteguy 12/5/2012 | 12:56:54 AM
    re: Corporate Holiday Cheer When they lay off an employee, they will no longer be on the hook for the unused vacation that they forced them to take. Plus what happens to employees with no leave, do they go in the hole when forced to take the 8 days off?

    One last question, how much time does it really buy a company vesus what it does to morale? Is it worth it?

    This sounds like an idea from an accountant with NO management experience who does not understand how important morale is to a high tech company.
    2bits 12/5/2012 | 12:56:28 AM
    re: Corporate Holiday Cheer Who says shutting down for the holidays is bad for morale?? My company has been doing it for years and its appreciated by all. 10 days off without worrying whats piling up in your inbox or who's politicking behind your back while you're away. We leave the office on that last day in pretty good cheer and come back ready to do some work in the new year.

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