FAQ’s About Holidays

Although both the state and federal laws recognize ten holidays in the United States, workers are not guaranteed to be given days off or even get extra pay for working. Many businesses such as gas stations, restaurants, movie theaters, stores, manufacturers, and distributors remain open on holidays, and thus workers are required.

Working on recognized holidays raise several disturbing questions among California employers, such as:

  • Is it mandatory to get holiday time off? 

No. There is no law in California requiring private companies to close their business on any specific days in order to provide days off to the employees. However, an employment policy or a collective bargaining agreement can grant certain holidays benefits, including a paid unpaid time off.

Besides, many employees tend to either close their business or allow some employees to have the day off during some these holidays. But the law recognizes the need of one day rest in seven working days, and you should get overtime pay in the case that you work with more than six days in a row.

  • Is the employer required to pay for time off during holidays, or pay additional wages to employees who work on holidays?

The law does not mandate California employers to give any special rate of pay to work completed on holidays, nor does it require them to pay for the time off. However, most private employers voluntarily agree to provide extra wages to employees for working on holidays as well as paid time off for certain holidays with the aim of boosting employee morale.

But again, only a CBA or employee policy can govern such terms since California statute does not mandate them. Therefore, it is important for both employees and employers to ensure that holiday pay policies are set forth clearly.

  • Is the calculation of overtime affected by a holiday pay?

When determining the overtime worked in a week, the employer will not include the holiday pay for a time off in determining the pay rate because it not a payment for hours worked. For instance, if a business is closed on a Monday holiday and then the employees go on to work from Tuesday through Saturday, eight hours each day, they should expect the standard time rate to apply when getting paid for the work.

In this case, the employer may decide to pay for the day off, thus paying for 48 hours in that week. As a result, employees may be tempted to think that the employer should pay the extra eight hours at the overtime rate. However, the employer is required to determine the overtime pay based on hours worked rather than the pay received.