Floating Holiday (Floater)


The term floating holiday refers to a company policy that gives employees the option to work on a paid holiday, and use this benefit on another day.  Employers offer employees the option of taking a floating holiday in recognition of the diversity of their workforce.


Also known as floaters, a floating holiday is a benefit that allows an employee to work on a day that is designated as a paid holiday, and use this benefit on a different day.  As is the case with holiday pay, employers are not required to provide employees with floating holidays under laws such as the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Federal holidays are a combination of religious (Christmas), civic (Veterans Day), as well as traditional (Thanksgiving) celebrations.  Floating holidays allow employees that don't celebrate these events to work on these days and use the "floater" at a later date.  Since this benefit is typically negotiated as part of a collective bargaining agreement, the exact rules will vary across companies.  Employees offered this benefit should familiarize themselves with their company's rules, including:

  • Eligible Days:  employers may only designate certain holidays as floaters.  For example, a company may be closed for business on Independence Day (fixed holiday) and designate Veterans Day as a floater.
  • Carryover:  employers may require employees to use their floating holidays before yearend, while others may allow employees to "bank" them.
  • Accrued Days:  when an employee leaves a company, they may be entitled to be paid for accrued floating holidays, just like vacation days.
  • Blackout Timeframe:  there may be certain times of the year when all employees are expected to work and they cannot use vacation days or floating holidays.

Related Terms

overtime pay, back pay, hazard pay, collective bargaining, holiday pay, hazard pay, personal days