Happy … Dec. 26th?

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Scores of businesses surveyed in Fairfield County and greater New York say they are giving employees a paid day off from work on Dec. 26, according to a new survey.

About one-third are extending the same offer on Friday, Jan. 2, according to the survey by Stamford-based management consultant firms OperationsInc and Performance-Solutions-Group Inc.

However, the employers do not credit Christmas or New Year's cheer.

Rather, since both post-holiday workdays fall on Fridays, they questioned whether limited productivity makes it worth requiring employees to be there.

"The argument from most employees is, 'What the heck am I going to get done?"' said David Lewis, chief executive officer of OperationsInc. "But there is so much we don't get done in the workplace on busy days that a nice quiet day in the office isn't necessarily a bad thing."

Most businesses provide eight paid holidays a year, Lewis said, including Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.

Many companies offer the day after Thanksgiving as the seventh paid holiday, and the eighth day tends to be a filler day, he said.

"It's a real challenge for businesses," Lewis said. "In talking with our clients, the issue was productivity. Can we essentially run a business effectively with two solid weeks of three work days?"

About 20 percent of the companies surveyed responded, from sectors such as technology, health care, real estate, marketing, finance, manufacturing and retail, Lewis said. All 106 companies were in Fairfield County or the New York metropolitan area.

Bill McKee, a spokesman for Norwalk-based Xerox, said Dec. 26 is a companywide holiday, but that the office will be open Jan. 2.

"We try to take in the effectiveness of getting the work done, but also our employees, so they can spend time with their families," McKee said.

Carol Wallace, a spokeswoman for Pitney Bowes in Stamford, said the office is open the Fridays after Christmas and New Year's, but employees have flexibility with their days off so they can elect when to come in.

"I took the week of Dec. 8 off because my family happens to be local," Wallace said. "So I don't mind filling in around the holidays."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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