Christian Businesses Incubator is a faith-based business assisting other Christian entrepreneurs on ways to merge spiritual practice into company operations. In the following article, Christian Business Incubator reviews how to represent all denominations into company holiday policies, creating an inclusive work environment for all.
Religious freedom and toleration are often considered sacred Constitutional rights. But balancing these values with company schedules and policies can be difficult, especially for religious businesses seeking to accommodate employees of different faith backgrounds. Below, Christian Businesses Incubator reviews various ways Christian businesses can represent employees of all denominations in their holiday policies.
Christian Businesses Incubator reviews that companies can accommodate non-Christian holidays by asking employees to provide adequate notice when requesting time off, encouraging voluntary shift swaps between coworkers, creating company-wide “floating holidays” to be used at employees’ discretion, and offering remote work options during closures for Christian holidays.
Christian Businesses Incubator reviews a few strategies Christian employers can use to design company policies that represent all employees while keeping a consistent PTO allowance, avoiding significant disruptions to business, and still observing their own religiously motivated company closures.
Legal Guidelines on Religious Businesses and Holidays
The U.S. began as a majority-Christian nation, and many companies’ schedules and vacation policies are formed around Christian holidays. But since one-third of Americans no longer identify as Christian, many secular businesses have adjusted their vacation policies to accommodate rising numbers of non-Christian employees.
Title VII under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires businesses to accommodate employees’ religious practices, including not only established faiths and formal worship, but any set of “sincerely held” beliefs, whenever the necessary adjustments don’t pose an “undue hardship” by being costly, compromising workplace safety, or violating the rights of other employees.
Christian Businesses Incubator reviews that businesses that the EEOC classifies as “religious” on account of their functions, purpose, and operations may be permitted to show hiring preference to candidates who share their religion, though they cannot discriminate based on other characteristics such as sex, race, age, national origin, or disability.
Strategies to Help Christian Employers Be Inclusive
While Christian organizations may choose to show preferences toward applicants who share their faith, this does not mean that every employee will be a practicing Christian or observe Christian holidays exclusively.
Christian Businesses Incubator reviews ways for Christian employers seeking to respect the holiday traditions of non-Christian workers while maintaining a business schedule tailored to Christian holidays:
- Become educated on non-Christian traditions and how their holiday schedules differ from the Christian liturgical calendar.
- Invite employees to disclose their religious beliefs and how their practices might impact their work attendance.
- Create a pre-planned absence policy that encourages employees to provide adequate notice when requesting time off.
- Encourage internal communication between employees to organize voluntary shift swaps and work sharing.
- Offer “floating holidays” to all employees and create remote work options for those who do not celebrate during religiously motivated company-wide closures.
Christian Businesses Incubator reviews that the following sections outline three actionable steps that Christian employers can take to implement these suggestions.
Communicate With Employees About Their Religious Practices
Christian Businesses Incubator reviews that when hiring, employers can respectfully ask candidates to disclose any religious traditions or beliefs that might impact their work scheduling. While they shouldn’t pressure employees to share personal religious information, they can explain that requests for religious accommodations may only be honored with supportable justification.
Employers can also create an operating system that makes it easy for employees to give adequate notice about pre-planned absences in order to minimize disruptions to the company’s workflow.
While most religious holidays occur on a fairly regular seasonal schedule, the specific dates of important celebrations may change year-to-year. Despite this variability, however, dates for the most significant holidays are typically made public years in advance.
To educate themselves on different religious traditions and verify the cause of an employee’s request for paid time off, employers can visit the Interfaith Calendar. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides a month-by-month schedule of holidays from a wide and diverse range of traditions and practices.
Encourage Employees to Explore Shift Swapping and Work Sharing
To minimize disruptions to employee scheduling and shift rotations, employers can encourage workers to contact their company peers and attempt to get their shifts covered before filing a request for leave. Christian Businesses Incubator reviews that employees who are in the same department or have similar tasks may be able to help each other stay on schedule with minimal inconvenience.
While accommodating occasional requests for vacation time to observe non-Christian holidays is typically not an issue, if an employee’s particular role is incompatible with the frequency of their requests, employers might consider offering them a lateral transfer within the company. Policies regarding pay differentials involved in such transfers can be found here.
Adopting Flexible, “Floating Holiday” Policies
As the two most important Christian celebrations—Christmas and Easter—fall on opposite sides of the calendar, Christian employers may be more likely to understand an employee’s request to disperse PTO days throughout the year to align with their own religious practices.
One solution to accommodate all employees’ holiday traditions would be to offer a fixed number of paid “floating holidays,” which would allow employees to discretionarily plan and disperse their allotted days off.
Christian businesses that currently close around Christian holidays might base the number of “floating holidays” offered on the length of time permitted under their standing fixed-date holiday policies. Keeping this number consistent without tying holidays to specific dates would accommodate those with other traditions without shifting the practices of employees in the Christian majority.
Employers in Christian companies that close for church holidays might consider allowing employees who use their PTO “floating holidays” on other scheduled workdays to work remotely from home. Christian Businesses Incubator reviews that these employees would then get no more PTO days than their coworkers despite the business itself being closed or having an altered schedule during certain times of the year.
While Christian businesses may be likely to have a majority of Christian employees, their PTO policies can still accommodate non-Christian holidays. To create inclusive policies, employers should emphasize communication between coworkers, the importance of providing adequate notice before requesting leave, and the expectation that employees who take their PTO at different times may have to work remotely during company-wide closures for Christian holidays.