Slight Differences in Employers’ Holiday Plans

469599853 -- Labor DayPermit me, please, to have just a little numbers-comparison fun this Labor Day.

I couldn’t help but notice some discrepancies and similarities when this release came my way — totally expectedly, I might add — detailing employers’ plans for paying and/or granting paid days off for today’s holiday.

As Bloomberg BNA makes public prior to many holidays (including Memorial Day, which I blogged about earlier this year), its report on Labor Day expectations were uncannily almost identical — in reporting format and statistics — to Memorial Day findings, with a few strange little nuances.

Like why, if the same number of employers are providing a day off for all or most employees (97 percent), would 43 percent require some to come in on Memorial Day and 41 percent require some to come in on Labor Day? Or why would 85 percent of those asking some to work on Memorial Day provide something more than regular pay for their holiday labor, versus 86 percent on Labor Day?

What accounts for the differences? Time of year? Seasonal temperature? Seasonal business? Type of holiday?

I guess the bigger question is: Do these numbers underscore differences, or are they actually so close, they’re really similarities? I figured Bloomberg BNA’s survey research analyst, Andrew Hellwege, might be the best person to run this by since he’s most familiar with the methodology — or perhaps he’s the only one out there who would be the least bit interested in my small, admittedly game-like, puzzlement. His response:

“The minor differences in percentages between the results for the two holidays are most likely caused by statistical variation, not any substantive difference in how the holidays are treated by employers.

“In fact, [I would] emphasize … that the results for Labor Day and Memorial Day are effectively identical, statistically speaking, and that employers tend to treat both holidays the same way.”

So why study them at all?

Because it’s fun. And … come one … just a little interesting, right? I guess Bloomberg BNA would agree or it wouldn’t be sending these findings out multiple times a year.

In any event, Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy your day off. Unless you’re in the percentage that has to work, of course.