The Intricacies of Working a Holiday

When a holiday approaches, employees tend to have questions about working on that day. Typically, their questions include whether they are required to work on holidays; will there be extra compensation for working on holidays; and if so, then what is the holiday rate of pay. The answers to such questions vary. Not all companies have the same holiday policies. Some companies may not recognize mandatory holiday working.

So, the holiday will either be paid or unpaid depending upon the status of the employee. Other companies may require holiday working and the holiday will be treated like any other regular work day. And, still other companies may require holiday working and the employees are compensated at the holiday pay rate. There is not a universal response to holiday working.

Holiday Working

Holiday working is dependent upon the following: your company, your company’s holiday policy and your union contract, if applicable. Typically, federal employees receive ten paid holidays annually. The government recognizes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, Labor Day, Independence Day (July 4th), Columbus Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day) and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

This federal holiday schedule is not universal. However, this schedule is acknowledged in whole or in part by many private companies. Plus, these same companies may offer an incentive for working the holiday in the form of holiday pay.

If a holiday were to fall on a Saturday or Sunday, then some companies will initiate their “in-lieu of” holiday policy. Such a policy involves replacement days whereby the holiday would be recognized as either the workday immediately preceding or immediately following the actual holiday. For example, if a holiday falls on a Saturday, then Friday could be considered the replacement day. In-lieu of holidays are legal, and employees who are entitled to holidays are also entitled to the replacement days.

It should be noted that holidays are viewed as benefits. And, as such, companies are not mandated to grant their employees holiday time off or to pay them for that time off. Holidays and vacations are seen as time not worked. And, payment for time not worked is not a requirement in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Typically, holidays and vacations are benefits that resulted from negotiations between the companies and their employees or representatives.

What is Holiday Pay?

Holiday pay is compensation an employee receives for time off due to a company-recognized holiday, or due to the company’s closure on that day.

Holiday Pay for Certain Employees

Generally, salaried employees are not compensated for working holidays or overtime. Oftentimes, employees who are in the retail and hospitality industries also do not receive holiday pay. Since holidays are considered a part of their usual schedules, they are not compensated for them.

Benefits are not legally warranted by employers. However, companies may entice their employees to work holidays or overtime by offering them monetary rewards.

Certain employees may enter into negotiation with their employers. For example, freelancers and independent contractors may discuss with potential employers the terms and conditions in which they are willing to work under. While haggling, the conditions of holiday pay and overtime are expressed by the employees. And, the potential employer can elect to either accept or decline them.

Employees Who Qualify for Holiday Pay

An employee’s classification and contract can play a role in him receiving holiday pay. In accordance with the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, certain employees are entitled to holiday pay. Depending upon their classification and their contract, companies must pay these employees holiday pay. Also, the McNamara O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) mandates that contracts provide benefits and holiday pay whenever they exceed $2,500.

Overtime and Holiday Pay

If you work over your regular 40 hours for that week, then you are entitled to overtime pay. So, if working a holiday causes you to have an overtime status, then you should be compensated at the overtime pay rate. When you start a new job, it is always a good idea to have a conversation with either a representative of the human resources department or your supervisor regarding holiday pay. An understanding is needed, especially if your position entails working holidays.

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