Sass Law Firm Blog Picture of Happy Independence Day with a stack of cash and american flag in the background

Are Employers Required to Pay Holidays?

Sass Law Firm Blog Picture of Happy Independence Day with a stack of cash and american flag in the backgroundAs we prepare for Independence Day, questions often arise about employees’ rights to holiday pay. To learn whether you are entitled to holiday pay, keep reading for answers to common questions. You may be surprised (or not) by the law.

Is an employee entitled to holiday pay?

No federal or Florida law requires employers to pay employees for holidays, except of course, if the employee actually works on the holiday. In other words, if an employer closes for a holiday and the employees do not work on the holiday, then the employees have no legal entitlement to be paid for it. However, that changes when an employee actually works on a holiday, like Independence Day. Then, the employer must pay the employee for their time worked.

Employers may also be required to pay employees for holidays if the employer has a policy, practice or contractual agreement to pay employees holiday pay as a benefit of employment.

If an employee works on a holiday, is it paid at time and a half?

Neither federal nor Florida law requires employees who work on a holiday to be paid time and a half just because it is a holiday. Holidays are considered the same as any other work day.  The law only requires an employer to pay the employee for hours worked on the holiday.

There are a few important exceptions.  Federal law requires certain employers to pay overtime, or time and a half, to “non-exempt” employees who work over 40 hours in a work week. Therefore, if a non-exempt employee actually worked more than 40 hours in a work week that included a holiday, the employee should be paid time and a half for any hours worked over 40 hours. But, this is not because of the holiday. It is because the employee actually worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.  Keep in mind, not all employees are entitled to overtime. Some employees are exempt from receiving overtime pay at all, no matter how many hours they work in a workweek. These are often called “exempt” employees, which is a topic for another day.

Another exception is when an employer has a policy or practice of paying employees time and a half if they work a holiday.  In these situations, the employer generally is on the hook and required to pay employees time and a half wages for working the holiday.

So, if you are scheduled to work this holiday, learn about your rights before spending your “holiday” pay on lots of fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. Consult with an experienced labor and employment attorney who can help you understand what you are entitled to under the law and your employer’s policies.