When it comes to holidays, many employers in California and across the country tend to give employees either the day off with pay (“paid holiday”), or give extra pay for hours worked similar to overtime pay (“holiday pay”). The most common paid holidays are:
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day (4th of July)
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
I hate to dim your holiday cheer, but: 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. So if your employer gives holiday pay, that’s great. If not, there isn’t much you can do, legally, about it.
As usual there are exceptions: e.g., if your employer has a holiday pay policy or practice, if holiday pay is promised for in your offer letter or employment agreement, if your union collective bargaining agreement requires holiday pay, etc. In those cases, the employer may be contractually bound to give you holiday pay or paid holidays. If that’s the case and you are being denied holiday pay, you should consider filing a labor board complaint.
By the way, studies have shown that paid time off boosts employee morale and can lead to higher productivity and reduced employee turnover. According to Forbes Magazine:
If employees would take just one additional day of earned leave each year, the result would mean $73 billion in output for the U.S. economy and positive impacts for both employees and businesses.
So if your employer is being a Scrooge about holiday pay, maybe point them to that Forbes article. Or consider looking for a more enlightened employer to work for. Happy Holidays!