With President’s Day coming up next week, I thought it would be a good time to answer and oft-asked question: Does the law require employers to pay employees for holidays? In most cases, the answer is no. Neither California nor federal laws require employers to pay employees for holidays, or to pay them a higher rate for holidays. Some union contracts or public employment situations may require paid holidays, but otherwise it is up to the employer to decide whether it will offer paid holidays.
If an employer’s policies provides for paid holidays, however, then the employer is required to pay employees according to the employer’s policies. Some employers offer paid holidays or pay a higher rate on holidays because it is one way to reward employees who have to miss time with their family in order to help the company meet its deadlines. Other employers realize that if they want to attract and retain qualified employees, you can’t make them work on Christmas Day without some sort of premium pay (I’m talking about you, Ebenezer!).
Employer handbooks should identify the specific holidays the employer will observe (either by date or title), and explain whether employees will be paid a higher rate if they work on the holiday and the rate at which employees will be compensated for the holidays. If you haven’t updated your handbook recently, now is an excellent time to review it with a qualified professional to ensure your policies are up to date.
Phillip J. Griego represents employees and businesses throughout Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Jose, the South Bay Area, Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Sunnyvale, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, and Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.
, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito, Mendocino, and Calaveras counties.