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Diverse religions, diverse solutions

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SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Smartbrief on Workforce — tracks feedback from leading managers and HR practitioners. We run the poll question each Wednesday in our e-newsletter and feature analysis from SmartBrief on Workforce Senior Editor Mary Ellen Slayter on this blog.

Last week’s poll question: How does your employer handle religious holidays?

  • We give paid time off for major Christian holidays, 59%
  • You can take time off, but you have to use vacation time, 17%
  • We take a flexible approach, depending on individual employees’ needs, 13%
  • We don’t give time off for any religious holidays, 5%
  • Other, 4%
  • You can take time off, but you have to use unpaid leave, 3%

Religion is an important part of many people’s lives, and employers have traditionally taken steps to accommodate that. In the U.S., that primarily means giving people time off for the major Christian holidays. But as the world becomes more mobile, employers would do well to consider more flexible approaches. A knee-jerk assumption that people need time off for Easter and Christmas may not work best for workers or employers anymore. I prefer and open-ended approach that lets people celebrate a certain number of days they deem most important to them.