In the fourth quarter of 2022, on average, motor carriers are offering their professional drivers a little over 6 paid holidays a year, according to data from NTI’s National Survey of Driver Wages. The pay rate for those paid holidays ranges on average between $100 and $200 a day.
While it’s a fantastic show of support for fleets to get drivers home to be with friends and family during important holidays — and of course offer them a paid opportunity so they don’t have to sacrifice their paycheck to do so — many drivers still do work on and around holidays like July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, whether to earn more pay or simply because they want to.
In addition to providing paid holidays for drivers who can and want to be home for holidays they choose, here are a few ways your fleet can provide support for drivers during the holiday season and help make them feel cared on or off the road:
Offer holiday pay
If your fleet doesn’t provide paid holiday time, strongly consider adding this benefit to your compensation plan. Like nearly all of us, your drivers yearn to be home with their families during the holidays, and that time shouldn’t come at the expense of their paycheck. According to NTI data, most holiday pay benefits are paid as a flat-rate daily amount for six paid holidays annually. The average holiday pay amount, between $100 and $200, is still often less than what a driver would typically earn if they were working, but it does help offset some of any major dents in their paycheck. Consider this issue from a driver’s perspective, and consider holiday pay benefits as an opportunity to stand out in the market with robust, supportive holiday pay benefits.
Cover a good meal on the road
For drivers who choose to work on or immediately around a holiday, evaluate ways to incentivize that time away from home and family and offer a show of support. For drivers working on or immediately before or after Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, pay for a good meal on the road at a nice restaurant. Make your drivers feel seen and cared for by allowing them to put in for reimbursement for a meal they choose. (Think inflation here, too. $10 doesn’t go very far. Think more in the $30-$50 range.)
Put them up in a hotel room
Like covering a meal, offering a night or two in a nice hotel can help make drivers’ time away on the holidays less draining and more rewarding. Strike a deal with a hotel chain that has nationwide access and to ensure your drivers have parking access during their stay. Drury Inn, for example, has a large private trucking fleet and understands drivers’ needs well, and they have locations near Interstates across the U.S. With both meal reimbursement and hotel room offers, the point is to show drivers they’re not alone during this time and that your company has their back.
Send gifts home to the family
Instead of another coffee mug or company hat, consider drivers’ families when organizing your company’s gift offering. For example, for drivers’ with children, consider a trucking themed coloring book. Gifts like those help instill pride in your driver’s family about their work their parent does, and it helps plant seeds about trucking careers with younger generations. Also, consider sending a turkey on Thanksgiving or a ham for Christmas, or providing a stipend for them to cover that expense. Gifts like these send a message to your drivers that you care about and support their life outside of their job, and they help build a long-lasting relationship with your drivers.
Emphasize health and wellness programs entering the new year
The turn of a new year is a common time for people to start new diets and try to start exercising, and professional drivers and their families are no different. Look for opportunities to support drivers with their health goals, and it doesn’t have to be related to weight loss. Find ways to support activity on the road and educate them on making healthy choices. Provide smoking cessation help and incentives. Proper sleep habits are foundational to good health (and safe driving), so look for opportunities to help drivers with better sleep and rest schedules. There are plenty of health and wellness categories and programs that your fleet can engage with drivers around, so find one or more and dedicate your support staff to focus on them throughout the year.
If you want to benchmark your company’s holiday pay benefits or compare over 100 other compensation attributes against select competitors and the market at large, contact NTI’s team of experts to learn more about accessing the latest driver pay data and trends by location, by region, by trailer type, driver job description, and much more.
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