Getting Paid for a Holiday- Am I Entitled to Extra Pay?

Most employees are curious as to whether they will be required to work on a holiday, if it is essential, how much they will be paid, and what rate of holiday pay they will be given if they do. However, there is never just one response that fits every question for all jobs. Many employees do get holidays off, whether paid or unpaid, while others will have to work. Those who do work may have to work for the same pay rate as usual while others will get extra pay.

Some private employers follow regular holiday schedules and will give their employees that day off, or they will offer them holiday pay to work on that day. Some will only give certain holidays off, or provide extra pay for only a few holidays. However, many companies do not even have to give holidays off from work or pay for the time off you are given. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employers are not legally required to pay for time not spent at work, such as holidays or vacations.

Working a Holiday

There are a few factors that come into play concerning whether you work on a holiday or not. These are: who you work for, the company policy, and if you are under the protection of a union contract.

Those working for the federal government receive ten paid holidays a year. These include: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, New Year’s Day, President’s Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Any full-time employee who receives holidays off from work will be legally entitled to an “in lieu of” day for when that specific holiday happens to fall on a Saturday or Sunday. The holiday is recognized on the closest workday either after or before the non-workday, such as the Monday after the holiday or the Friday before.

What is Holiday Pay?

When the business the employee works for is closed on a holiday, the employee may be entitled to collect holiday pay even though they are not at their job that day.

What Will I Get Paid for Working a Holiday?

Employees will only be required to pay more than the normal rate of pay to employees working on a holiday if said employee has a contract stipulating holiday pay. Businesses do not have to give holidays off from work, as well. For many salaried workers, overtime or extra pay is not given for working the day of a holiday. Those who work in retail and hospitality positions are generally exempt from receiving a special holiday pay, as these positions specifically involve working weekend and holiday shifts to begin with.

While there are employers who do provide holidays off to their workers or will pay more for coming in on a holiday, they do not have to. There are no laws in places, whether through the state or federal government, that require a company to compensate their employees for holidays off or that require them to pay more for that day. The only exception to this rule is a previous contract that states holiday pay is required.

Freelance and independent workers may have the option of negotiating their own benefits, meaning that they may stipulate a special holiday rate with the company who picks up their services.

Qualifying for Holiday Pay

Many employees do qualify for holiday pay. Employees who work in a civil service position, are covered under a collective bargaining agreement, or work under an employer who does provide extra pay for working on a holiday may all be eligible for holiday pay.

Receiving Holiday Pay and Overtime

Those who are required to receive overtime or holiday pay for working on a holiday should be compensated as such. Talk to your supervisor or human resources department when you first begin your job to ensure that you will be covered when the occasion arises.

Holiday Timing

Most companies will provide employees a list of all of the holidays that they observe at the very beginning of the year. If you are unsure of what your company offers, talk to your supervisor or human resources department to get an upcoming holiday schedule.

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