As you carve your Thanksgiving turkey tomorrow and brave the mall in search of Black Friday deals the day after, be sure to give thanks to your employer for the four-day weekend. According to annual survey results from BNA, not all employees are so lucky.

Employers will be less generous this year than last in providing their workers Thanksgiving holiday leave, BNA finds.

Although the majority of employers (74%) have designated both Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25) and the day after as paid holidays in 2010, that percentage is down from 79% in 2009. As in previous years, nearly all surveyed employers (98%) have scheduled Thanksgiving Day itself as a paid holiday for employees.

While fewer employees will receive the full four-day turkey bender as paid time off, the big end of the wishbone is that the numbers of employers requiring some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day are near record lows. Less than a third (29%) will require some employees to work on Thanksgiving Day, down noticeably 33% in 2008 and 36% in 2007, according to BNA.

The survey also finds that 12% of employers plan to give their workers some kind of holiday gift this Thanksgiving, compared with 11% last year. Thanksgiving holiday gift giving is down sharply from the high of 23% observed in 2004 and the 15% to 18% range seen from 1995 to 2003.

Levels of Thanksgiving holiday gift-giving are comparable to those seen in 1993 and 1994 during the “jobless recovery” that followed the 1990-1991 recession. Gift certificates are the Thanksgiving gift of choice for employers, followed closely by a holiday turkey.

Hopefully, you have a four-day weekend of paid time off to enjoy turkey and all the trimmings, and a gift card from your employer to buy some Black Friday loot.

Regardless of your plans, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. The Daily Diversion will not post tomorrow or Friday, and will resume a regular posting schedule on Monday, Nov. 29.

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