Many celebrate Labor Day with barbeques, pool parties, camping, and general summertime activities.
But celebrating the end of summer was not the original intention of the holiday. For most Americans, the first weekend in September signifies the end of summer and the transition into fall and back to school, even though the actual end of summer is still a few weeks away.
What is Labor Day all about?
Labor Day is the U.S. national holiday held the first Monday of every September. The first Labor Day occurred in New York City in 1882, under the direction of the Central Labor Union and the focus of the day really was labor. We often forget that 40 hour work weeks are now normal because of the hard work of early labor unions.
Why do we have Labor Day?
For most of the 1800’s factory workers clocked 60 to 70 hours a week on average. Not only was that amount of time taxing on their mental and physical health, it also had implications for the economy. With so little time to rest, workers were not able to even spend their hard-earned paychecks. It was time for a break.
Because it was hard to get private companies, let alone the government, to recognize the first Monday of September as a holiday, a one-day strike in the city was declared. All striking workers walked in a parade followed by a picnic, which could be why the Labor Day barbeque is still so popular.
Why don’t I get Labor Day off?
Even though it is an official government holiday, that often means that only federal employees are guaranteed the day off. Many private employers also grant the day off for their employees, though it is not required to be a paid holiday.
How to celebrate Labor Day
If you would like to embrace the true spirit of Labor Day, we suggest taking the day off, but certainly not at the risk of losing your job! If you are one of the many Americans who have already been granted the three-day weekend, try doing nothing. Yes, we said it. Nothing. Labor Day is supposed to be a day of rest from the workweek, so just relax a little. Maybe throw some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill, gather the family or some close friends and celebrate the art of not working. Just for one day.
Some companies have found Labor Day to be a great time to have end-of-summer sales. Though most Receptra employees will be enjoying barbeques and picnics, we still encourage you to check your email over the Labor Day weekend. We wouldn’t want you to miss anything! (wink-wink)