A Time for (Responsible) Celebrations

The holidays are upon us and before we know it, 2018 will be here. Until then, December will likely include several celebrations. Your company, your vendors or your clients may invite employees to attend festive holiday gatherings. Many times, these events are after business hours and/or involve the opportunity to partake in adult beverages.

Having company guidelines for celebrations can seem rigid or as some have told me ‘like you ruin all the fun,’ however they are important to ensure everyone remains safe. Ask any HR professional and you’ll likely learn that the day after a holiday party can be quite an active one in her or his office.

When invitations are offered to Nonexempt employees, take a moment to think through the intent of the party. If it is a celebration that involves work discussion, proactively determine the number of hours considered as working hours and communicate this with the employee in advance. Whether you consider these hours overtime or modify the work schedule for that workweek is up to you; the most important thing is to understand whether the event truly requires the employee to work.

Adult beverages can cause possible issues for HR, too. People are not perfect, and sometimes they overindulge on adult beverages. Several of our clients, and FBG, provide Uber reimbursement for holiday parties; this is not to encourage drinking excessively, as we most certainly do not, but rather to encourage safely getting home.

Your company culture will likely dictate the type of holiday celebrations you enjoy with colleagues. The goal of these celebrations is to gather and to enjoy time with colleagues in a relaxed and cheerful setting. Communicating these messages with your leaders and employees will ensure they achieve that goal.