As the holidays are approaching, now is a good time to go over the rules regarding holidays and pay. As a general rule, many employers in California give employees either the day off with pay (“paid holiday”) or give extra pay for hours worked similar to overtime pay (“holiday pay”).

However, neither federal law, nor California law, requires employers to give holiday pay or paid holidays. This is true whether you are an exempt salaried or non-exempt hourly paid employee. Nor does the law require an employee be given the day off for any particular holiday, except for religious accommodations, so long as it will not bring hardships to the company.

Therefore, hours worked on holidays (including Saturdays and Sundays) are treated like hours worked on any other day of the week. There is no requirement that employers pay employees extra pay or “holiday pay” for work performed on holidays, other than the overtime premium required for work performed in excess of eight hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek.

However, employers can voluntarily agree to offer incentives (such as overtime “holiday pay”) for working on a holiday, or offer paid holidays, but these terms would be governed by policy set forth by the employer pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, company policy, practices adopted by the employer, or pursuant to the terms of an employment agreement between the employer and employee. These arrangements are considered employee benefits and are typically included to attract employees.

Once an employer establishes a policy, they must be sure they comply with related federal and state laws. Employers must apply the policies, incentives, and requests in a fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory fashion. Otherwise, they can run afoul of federal and state laws and open themselves up to claims or litigation.

If you feel that you need assistance with an employment law matter, please contact Hackler Flynn and Associates.

DISCLAIMER: Content within this post should not be considered legal advice and is for informational purposes only. Communications made through this post do not create an attorney-client relationship. Hackler Flynn & Associates is not responsible for any content that you may access from third-party resources that may be accessed through or linked to this post.

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