Wells Fargo is increasing its number of paid holidays, bringing the figure from eight to 12, under a change announced internally this month for U.S. employees.
According to the bank, two of the four additional days are for “personal holidays” such as religious observances not currently part of Wells Fargo’s or the federal holiday schedule. Employees can also use the two days for other times with “personal significance” to them, such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries and national remembrances, according to the bank.
The other two additional paid holidays are fixed: Presidents Day and Columbus Day for employees who operate on a standard schedule; Presidents Day and Good Friday for employees on the New York Stock Exchange’s schedule. Those new holidays take effect next year.
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Elli Dai, head of benefits for Wells, said it marks the first change the San Francisco-based bank has made to its holiday schedule since the combination with Charlotte’s Wachovia, which Wells acquired in 2008. Dai confirmed the holidays increase in an interview with the Observer.
Dai, who is based in Charlotte, said the decision followed an employee survey conducted this year that showed some workers wanted the ability to celebrate holidays not included in the old schedule.
According to the bank, the two personal holidays, announced by CEO Tim Sloan at a company town hall this month, went into effect Sept. 18 and can be used by the end of this year. Employees can use the time to observe, for example, Cesar Chavez Day, National Coming Out Day, Kwanzaa, Rosh Hashanah, Eid al-Fitr and Chinese New Year, the bank said, noting that employees are not limited to that list.
Dai, who is based in Charlotte, said Wells Fargo compares its holiday schedule every year with that of other financial services firms and Fortune 100 companies. Corporations are highly attuned to employee benefits offered by other companies in order to remain competitive, she said.
“As far as where this move brings us, competitively it makes us very strong,” she said. “We know that people have a choice of where they want to work.”
The increase in paid holidays comes as Wells Fargo continues working to rebuild its image in the wake of a massive scandal over fake accounts that broke last September. It also comes as Wells Fargo seeks to reduce costs as it remains under pressure to lower expenses after the scandal.
With the changes, a first-year Wells Fargo employee in Charlotte is eligible for 32 paid days off, according to the bank’s calculation. That includes 18 days of personal time off, which can be used for vacations or sick days, and two “community service” days.
Wells Fargo employs roughly 24,100 in the Charlotte region, compared with about 15,000 at Charlotte-based Bank of America.
Bank of America employees are eligible for up to 40 paid days off after one year. That is broken into 10 paid holidays; 10 sick days, which includes two personal days; and up to 20 days of vacation.
The move adds to other changes Wells Fargo has recently made to its employee benefits.
The company in April 2016 announced it would begin offering paid parental leave to its U.S. employees for the first time. That came a week after Bank of America announced an increase in its paid leave for parents.