There is no federal or state law that mandates paid holidays or holiday pay.
Across California, many employers offer their employees benefits for the holidays. This may include a day off with pay (commonly referred to as a paid holiday) or give employees a higher rate of pay for any time that they work on a holiday (known as holiday pay, which is similar to overtime). This is usually done on holidays such as Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
This is a great benefit that many employees enjoy — particularly in seasons where they might want paid time off to spend time with family, or extra pay to buy gifts for loved ones. Yet not all companies offer this benefit, leading some to question if refusing to offer paid holidays or holiday pay is legal. According to a California employer lawyer, it is. There is not a California or a federal law that requires employers to give employees holiday pay or paid holidays. If your employer offers it to you, think of it as a great benefit. If they don’t, then there may not be much that you can do about it.
However, there are some circumstances where you may have a complaint about lack of holiday pay or paid holidays. For example, if your employer has a practice or practice of providing this benefit, or if it was promised in an offer letter or an employment agreement, then your employer may be contractually bound to provide it.
In addition, if your employer offers holiday pay or paid holidays to some employees and not others — and the benefit is offered based on an illegal reason, such as gender or age — then that may be a basis for a complaint. For example, if an employer decides to only give holiday hours to male employees because “they have to provide for their families,” then that may be an example of gender-based discrimination in the workplace. A California employer lawyer can help you determine if you have a potential claim against your employer on this basis.
Importantly, benefits like paid time off are actually beneficial for employers as well as employees. A recent study has shown that a shorter workweek actually boosts productivity. Microsoft offered a four day workweek to employees in Japan in August, and found that productivity increased by 40%. Paid time off also increases employee morale and can reduce employee turnover.
While there may not be a law that requires your employer to pay you for the holidays, there are situations where a failure to offer paid holidays or holiday pay crosses a legal line. If this happens to you, PLBSH can help. Contact our firm today at (800) 435-7542 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation with a skilled California employer lawyer.