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Survey finds 31 percent of employers observe holiday

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About three in 10 employers gave their workers a paid holiday on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Employees at 31 percent of the nation’s employers had the day off, up just one percentage from last year and three percentage points from 2010, according to a survey of holiday practices by Arlington-based Bloomberg BNA.

The report noted that 31 percent of employers also observed the holiday in 2009.

While there has been no significant change over the past six years in the proportion of organizations making Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday,
Bloomberg BNA said the current level of observance is a significant increase from 11 years ago.

Only 14 percent of employers surveyed made Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday in 1987. Figures stayed in the teens for seven years until a spike in 1994 when 24 percent observed the holiday.

Figures remained in the low to mid-20 percent range before climbing to 30 percent for the first time in 2004.

Nonbusiness employers are much more likely to make Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday than other organizations. More than six in ten nonbusiness organizations (61 percent) said that Jan. 16 was a paid holiday, compared with 23 percent of nonmanufacturing businesses and 8 percent of manufacturers.

Organizations with a union presence are somewhat more likely to designate Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday (41 percent of unionized establishments compared with 29 percent of nonunion organizations).

In addition, organizations with 1,000 or more employees also are more apt than smaller employers to give their employees paid time off on Martin Luther King Day (39 percent versus 28 percent). 

The survey involved a cross-section of 392 employers responding to a web-based survey administered from Sept. 19 to 30.

Of these 78 percent employ fewer than 1,000 workers, while 22 percent employ 1,000 workers or more.

Twenty percent of those participating were manufacturing firms, 51 percent were services/nonmanufacturing companies and 29 percent were nonbusiness organizations. 

Nonunion establishments make up 79 percent of the survey sample, while the remaining 21 percent employ at least some union-represented workers.

Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, provides legal, regulatory and business information for professionals.


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