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Does Your Auto Shop Give Holiday Time off?

holiday time

holiday timeThe Automotive Management Network would like your input on a current survey: Days your shop will be CLOSED during the Holidays. Please let us know the days that your shop will be closed, if those days will be paid or unpaid time off for employees, and if your shop will extend open hours on other days in order to compensate for time the shop will be closed.

This upcoming holiday season Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on a Monday. This means that both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will both fall on days that nearly all auto repair shops are already closed. From the responses given so far to this survey, it appears that a large majority of shops are not providing their employees with further time off to compensate for the “lost” holiday time. Also, according to the responses given so far, two-thirds of auto shops pay their employees for holidays when their businesses are closed, and one-third of them do not.

This survey highlights two issues: paid time off as a benefit and how long auto shops close for the holidays. The first issue, paid time off, is related to the other issue we’ve been discussing for some time – employee compensation. On the whole Americans get far less vacation time, holiday time, and paid time off than other developed nations. For many Americans whatever time off people can cobble together during this week in December is about half of what they’ll take the entire year. The U.S. government is not interested in mandating further time off. As it states on the U.S. Department of Labor home page:

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“The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations, sick leave or federal or other holidays. These benefits are matters of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s representative).”

For most Americans this means that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a very busy time, but they must negotiate how they will celebrate with their families each year with their coworkers and employers.

The second issue, the number of days shops close for the holidays, is interesting, given how busy (or not) auto repair shops are at this time of the year. Two years ago we discussed this and stated:

“The seasonal rush for automotive repairs happens in the summer, and not at Christmas. In fact, the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day is notoriously slow for car repairs. Car dealerships may be swamped with people wanting to spend generously during the holidays, but even given the kinds of winter-related problems auto owners often suffer – like dead batteries and pothole damage – it’s still a slower time of year for auto shops.”

If the above is true and auto shops are not terribly busy during this time of the year, it would seem like holiday time off during Christmas, paid or unpaid, might be a benefit that shop owners could give to their employees without great expense to their businesses or inconvenience to their customers.

How busy is your shop during the holidays? How much wrangling or bargaining do you and your coworkers have to do in order to take holiday time off in December? Weigh in on these questions below, and don’t forget to take the survey we link to at the top!