FOR IMPORTANT UPDATES ON COVID-19, NEW YORK STATE ANTI-HARASSMENT TRAINING REQUIREMENT AND NY SICK LEAVE LAW, CLICK HERE.
Could there be a new holiday on the horizon? On February 5, 2017, approximately 111.3 million people tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. As viewers of all ages consumed chips, wings, and beer, many lamented the fact that they had to go to work the following morning, wishing that they could just have the day off instead.
According to the “Smunday” campaign, which advocates for the declaration of a national holiday for the Monday following the Super Bowl, more than 16 million people miss work the day after Sunday’s game. By declaring Smunday a national holiday, employers would be more inclined to give their employees the day off, enabling them to enjoy the game and fully recover from both mental and physical hangovers.
To promote the Smunday campaign, the Kraft Heinz Company provided its employees with a day off on the Monday following the Super Bowl. Heinz decided that it would forgo the estimated $5 million Super Bowl advertisement, and instead provide its employees with a new vacation day. Heinz also stated that the publicity it would receive from this bold move would offset the lack of commercial airtime.
As an avid football fan, I can see the benefits of having Super Bowl Monday off. The vacation day would certainly allow me to get over the sick, heavy feeling that comes from too many drinks and fried foods, without having to sit in uncomfortable business clothes. Additionally, being from New York, the day off would serve as a consolation prize to help ease my frustration over yet another Patriots’ win.
Declaring Super Bowl Monday a national holiday would not automatically give everyone the day off. Many offices remain open on holidays, especially those that fall at the beginning of the year, such as Martin Luther King Day and Presidents’ Day. Even Heinz did not opt for an extra day off. Rather, the Company dropped one of two paid holidays that employees’ typically received around Christmas, and replaced it with “Smunday.”
Furthermore, an employer’s decision to give its employees the day off does not oblige them to provide a paid vacation day. Following Heinz’s model, only salaried employees received a paid day off. The hourly employees also got a vacation day; however, theirs was unpaid. Additionally, the hourly employees who work in the Heinz factories were still required to work on Smunday, demonstrating that the campaign is not a “one size fits all.”
While an extra day off would be nice, employers do not need Smunday to be declared a national holiday to provide one. Employers could follow Heinz’s example and simply move their holiday schedules around to accommodate the new day, or they could add an extra holiday to their calendars. Employers could also choose to carry on business as usual and not include Smunday in their list of holidays.
This blog post was written by Elizabeth Driscoll, a law clerk at Jules Halpern Associates LLC.