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Holiday Pay Practices: More About Your Legal Requirements?

More Questions and Answers About Holiday Pay Practices


Here are more answers to common questions regarding holiday pay related practices.

May an employer attach conditions to the receipt of holiday pay?

Yes. For example, an employer may require that employees work or be on an approved leave status the day before and after a holiday in order to receive holiday pay. An employer may also require an employee to have worked for the company for a specified period of time before being eligible for holiday pay. In addition, an employer may pro-rate the amount of holiday pay due to a part-time employee. Whatever conditions apply to the receipt of holiday pay should be in writing.

Are employees who work a holiday entitled to premium pay?

No. While it is common to pay a premium to an employee who works on a holiday, there is no legal requirement to do so.

Must an employer provide the same holiday benefits to all employees?

No, as long as the basis for the different treatment is not discriminatory, i.e., based on a protected classification, such as age, race, etc. For instance, an employer can provide holiday pay only to full time and not part time employees, or to office and not “field” employees.

What if a holiday falls on an employee’s day off or when the business is closed?

While not required by law, many employers give an employee the option of taking off another day if a holiday falls on the employee’s day off. Similarly, many employers observe a holiday on the preceding Friday or the following Monday if a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday and the employer is not open for business on the weekend.

What if an employee works a compressed work week (i.e. four 10-hour days per week)?

As with employees who work a standard work week, there is no requirement that an employer provide an employee on a compressed work week schedule with paid or unpaid time off on a holiday. Employers who utilize a compressed work week have generally taken one of three approaches to eligibility for holiday pay.

  • Some employers pay only for holidays occurring on the employee’s regularly scheduled work day.

  • On the other hand, some employers allow the employee to take a “substitute” holiday on a day when he or she would otherwise have been required to work, if the holiday falls on a day the employee is not scheduled to work.

  • Finally, other employers prefer to have employees who work a compressed work week on the job at least four days a week and pay for the holiday even if the employee is not scheduled to work that day, thus giving the employees an extra day of pay.

As long as the employer follows its policy consistently, any approach selected by an employer is acceptable.


Disclaimer: Although Mel Muskovitz is an attorney, because this website is read by people from all states and from countries all over the world, the advice offered is correct, but different laws may govern your approaches to human resources and labor issues. Please check with an employment law attorney to ascertain your decisions, policies, and practices meet the legal standards where you live and practice.

This article contains a brief overview. It is not intended to be a comprehensive discussion of the subject. Further, because every set of facts and circumstances may raise different legal issues, this article is not intended to be and should not be regarded as a legal opinion.

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