The holiday season is approaching and you may be wondering whether your company is required to provide time off or holiday pay. Here’s a look at some frequently asked questions and answers.
1. Are employers required to provide employees time off for a holiday?
Although not generally required by federal or state law, many employers choose to grant employees time off for certain holidays or to close the business altogether on those days.
Companies with 15 or more employees are subject to federal religious discrimination laws and may need to allow employees time off for religious observance. Employers should also consult their state’s nondiscrimination laws to learn if there are similar requirements for time off related to religious observances for employers of fewer than 15 employees.
2. Do employers have to pay their employees if the business is closed for a holiday?
Federal law and most state laws do not require employers to pay employees if time off for holidays is granted. Whether or not employees are paid for holidays is generally a matter of company policy. Employers need to be careful when it comes to exempt employees, though–as a general rule, if an exempt employee performs any work during a workweek, he or she must be paid the full salary amount.
3. What about employees scheduled to work on a holiday if the business remains open?
Extra compensation (above and beyond an employee’s regular rate of pay) for work on holidays is also generally a matter of company policy, although employers must comply with any specific state law requirements regarding holiday pay. Although some companies pay employees at a special rate (such as time-and-a-half) for holiday shifts, generally an employee is only entitled to his or her regular pay, plus any overtime.
Remember that states will generally enforce an employer’s written policy regarding holiday pay, so it’s important to follow company policy and to apply the rules consistently and fairly to all employees. For questions about the specific requirements in your state, contact your state labor department or a knowledgeable employment law attorney.