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Employee Year-End Gifts and Parties

What are you doing for the upcoming holidays? That’s a typical question being asked this time of year. While holiday celebrations have shown a steady comeback from the ebb of 2009, company events and gift giving were somewhat more prevalent before the economic downturn took its toll.

According to a survey of 166 metro St. Louis and central Illinois companies conducted by AAIM Employers’ Association in September, 52% of employers plan to give holiday gifts or holiday bonuses to some or all employees at the end of this year. However, 38% do not plan to distribute gifts or bonuses to employees and 10% have yet to decide.

Workers can look forward to some form of employer-sponsored holiday celebration for the entire work force at about 68% of the surveyed organizations. In addition, around 44% of the employers will sponsor or help fund other types of year-end holiday events (e.g., unit or department-level party, luncheon, or dinner).

Of course, employers want social events to be fun and entertaining; however, they should address four issues in the planning phase to keep employees safe and to limit employer liability:

• Alcohol. If you choose to serve alcohol, limit consumption by distributing a given number of drink tickets to each individual. Or don’t offer it at all.

• Harassment. Redistribute your anti-harassment policy as a reminder to all employees.

• Workers’ compensation. Consider holding the party off-site and during nonwork hours.

• Pay. Having a gathering with mandatory attendance requires paying all nonexempt (hourly) employees, even if the party is outside normal working hours.
Submitted 9 years 175 days ago
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