Should retailers give workers Labor Day off?
Labor Day is the USA’s version of a holiday meant to recognize the American worker, but for many working in retail that still does not mean getting a day off.
A list of 25 stores open on Labor Day 2021 from Reader’s Digest shows that many of the biggest names in retail will be operating as usual on the holiday this year. Target, Walmart, CVS, Macy’s, Dollar General and Home Depot are among the retailers that will have all or most stores open regular hours. The only major retailer listed as being closed completely on Labor Day is Costco.
Giving employees the day off on big federal holidays has become more common in recent years, in particular, Thanksgiving, due to the holiday’s family focus.
Earlier in the 2010s, more stores began staying open on Thanksgiving as the Black Friday shopping holiday crept earlier into the season. Leading up to the novel coronavirus pandemic, however, the trend was reversing.
In 2020 — possibly due in part to predicted COVID-19-induced drop-offs in foot traffic — Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney, all who typically remain open for Thanksgiving, closed on the holiday. This year Walmart and Target have already announced that, for the second year in a row, they will remain closed on the holiday.
Like Thanksgiving 2020, Labor Day this may offer lower profitability thanks to the Delta variant. According to a study by Numerator, enthusiasm for Labor Day shopping and celebration dropped from 42 percent in June to 27 percent in August.
An added day off may not be a win for all, though, as it can be hard on hourly and temporary workers. There is no federal requirement in the U.S. that employers pay employees for federal holidays, sick leave or vacation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. is virtually the only developed nation without federally-mandated days off, according to USA Today.
- 25 Stores That Are Open on Labor Day – Reader’s Digest
- Labor Day Shopping And Celebrating Impacted By Delta Variant, Numerator Reports – PR Newswire
- Vacation Leave – U.S. Department of Labor
- Will closing stores on Thanksgiving become the new retail tradition? – RetailWire
- Wouldn’t you like 30 mandated days off? Here are the countries with the most vacation days – USA Today
- Can retailers afford to keep paying associates less than $15 an hour? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the Delta variant and its impact on Labor Day parties justify retailers to close more so than in non-pandemic years? Do you see more stores closing on Labor Day as retailers increase their focus on employee relations and workplace issues?