| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Dec 17 More than a quarter of U.S.
workers say their workplaces will close down during the holidays
and even if they don't employees are likely to take time off,
according to a nationwide survey released on Monday.
The Working the Holiday poll commissioned by the Workforce
Institute, a think tank established by the management solution
company Kronos Inc, found more employees planning to take
Christmas Eve and/or New Year's Eve off -- 26 percent, compared
with 18 percent in a similar study conducted in 2007.
Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute, said
that as many employers cut staff and merit increases, employees
may be feeling more encouraged to use their paid time off.
Organizations may also be looking to reward their staff for
weathering the storms of the past few years with an extended
Nearly 40 percent of workers plan to take Christmas Eve off,
while 28 percent will take off the following Monday, which is
New Year's Eve, according to the survey of 2,691 adults.
About 15 percent took those days off in 2007, the last time
those dates fell on a Monday, when the previous survey was
"Once we evaluated the cost-benefit picture, it was an easy
decision to close our offices for the week," said Ruth Bramson,
Chief Executive of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, who
is a member of the Workforce Institute's board of advisors.
"Employees really appreciate having the time off to spend
with loved ones. It is particularly helpful for folks who travel
to visit families," Bramson said.
"For many people, this period is less busy at work and so
the 'catch up' consequences of taking time off are lighter," she
said. "People want to be home when kids are home from school or
college, or they're looking forward to spending time with
extended family and friends."
A further motivation to take time off is that some workers
face a "use it or lose it" situation with their annual leave.
In recent years, Maroney said, numerous indicators have
shown a decrease in what she called "employee engagement" with