According to a CROP survey conducted in November 2006 for the Ordre des CRHA et CRIA du Québec (ORHRI), a significant number of employers in Quebec give their employees gifts and organize parties during the Christmas season.
Christmas gifts more widespread among less educated workers
Close to one worker out of two (47%) reported receiving a gift from his or her employer at Christmas. Interestingly, this percentage jumped to 58% for respondents with eight to twelve years of schooling, compared to only 38% for those with over 16 years of education. “This may be because more educated workers frequently work for larger organizations that have other ways of motivating or rewarding their employees, such as bonuses or other benefits. Conversely, Christmas gifts are often a way for smaller companies to motivate and reward their staff,” explained Florent Francoeur, CHRP, President and CEO of the Ordre.
Christmas parties still common
Overall, 69% of respondents said that their employer organized a party during the holiday season, similarly to results recorded in the past two years. However, only 39% of workers in households with annual incomes under $20,000 reported that their employer held a Christmas party for its staff. “This could be explained by the fact that low-wage workers tend to work for smaller organizations that have more limited funds to organize social events,” added Mr. Francoeur.
Alcohol: Moderation is always in good taste, particularly at the office
In addition, 37% of survey respondents whose workplace has a Christmas party stated that their employer had some degree of control over the quantities of alcohol employees consumed, versus 54% whose employers exercised no control. According to 21% of these workers, these controls have increased in the last three years. The lack of an open bar or a limit on the number of drinks paid for by the employer are just a few examples of such control measures.
As for alternative means of transportation such as taxi vouchers, car pools with designated drivers or organizations like Operation Red Nose, 53% of workers whose employer organized a Christmas party reported that these types of alternatives were available. In regions outside Montreal and Quebec City, this figure climbed to 64%. “Obviously, in large urban centres like Montreal and Quebec City, public transit and similar facilities are more developed than they are in the regions. That’s probably why regional employers offer more alternative means of transportation for the office Christmas party,” continued Mr. Francoeur.
Christmas holidays: the Quebec City area wins hands down
On average, respondents said they planned to take seven days off (statutory holidays and/or business days) between December 20 and January 7. Five of these days are paid for by the employer.
While only 13% of those surveyed intended to take between 15 and 19 days off at Christmas, this percentage rose to 23% in the Quebec City area. Lastly, 10% of respondents had no plans to take any time off during the Christmas holidays.