Do Employers (and Brandeis) Realize How Extended Holidays Impact Hourly Workers?

The VP of HR at Brandeis sent out an e-mail Monday to Brandeis Staff saying that President Lawrence has decided to close offices on Thursday and Friday for July 4th, giving workers "an extended weekend for relaxation and enjoyment with family and friends." (E-mail printed below)

While I appreciate the good will behind this move, and I believe this in common in many workplaces, do employers realize how giving extended holidays impacts hourly wage workers? As a temporary summer employee working at Brandeis for the summer for an hourly wage, I don't get paid when the school is closed, since I can't come in. That means that rather than enjoying the relaxing weekend, I worry about how to pay my rent with 2 less days – i.e. 14 hours less pay – for the month. 

I spoke with a friend and fellow Brandeis alumnus about this today, and zhe informed me that when zhe worked at Brandeis as a student, zhe would very frequently lose hourly wages because of the Brandeis Mondays and other irregular schedules. As a student, I worked very few hours a week and never considered the impact this policy had on workers, but as an employee working 2 part time jobs, I realize how frustrating magnanimous gestures such as this can be. 

Can't holidays be optional (if not otherwise compensated for)?!


Good afternoon,
As a reminder, President Lawrence has directed that Brandeis University offices will be closed beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3rd with staff returning to work on Monday, July 8th.

His hope is that staff members will be able to use the extended weekend for relaxation and enjoyment with family and friends.


Scot Bemis

Vice President for Human Resources

Lawrence’s Letter

Happy New Year Brandeis!

I hope you have all had a wonderful and joyous start to your new year!

President Lawrence gave a warm greeting to the Brandeis community and a call to alumni to revisit the campus.

He also will be keeping a blog here starting next semester. I wanted to share his first post:

The Work We Will Do Together

Today marks the beginning of a new year, a new decade and a new era for Brandeis. For my family and me, it is the beginning of a new life. We embrace it to the fullest with commitment, dedication, gratitude and joy.

Since being named president five months ago, I have been privileged to spend time with many in the Brandeis community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and valued friends of this great university. Walking the campus and meeting diverse constituencies, I am inspired by your energy, creativity and faith in this institution.

I am also humbled when I reflect on those who preceded me in this office. Abram Sachar was a visionary and it is an honor to follow him and the six other presidents who achieved so much in the last 62 years to bring us to this place in time. I especially want to thank Jehuda Reinharz for his contributions to Brandeis, and for the assistance he gave me during the transition.

In the days, months and years ahead, I will look to all of you I have met and the many I look forward to meeting for what you personally can bring to our school. I have learned that the essence of Brandeis is the people who embody the spirit of this unique institution in so many ways.

There is much to be done and I am more excited than ever to begin my formal duties. Searches will soon be under way for a new provost, senior vice president for students and enrollment, and dean of arts and sciences. I will immerse myself in the finances of the university, strengthen my relationship with the many generous supporters of Brandeis, deepen my understanding of the academy and all of its rich offerings, and forge connections with undergraduate and graduate students across the university. I also want to promote communication across this community; this blog is one of my early contributions to that effort. I plan to post regularly.

As I said in July, this is an awe-inspiring institution of learning and social commitment, an open and nonsectarian university with a unique position in the world. As we move forward to expand and strengthen our community — the humanities, the arts, the sciences and athletics — may the ideals of our founders find fulfillment through the work we will do together.

Happy New Year from me and my family to you and your family.

President Fred Lawrence