It can be hard for employees to know whether or not they will receive holiday pay. A lot of employees think that there are state and federal laws stating that employees are entitled to holiday pay or to have a holiday off. However, this is not the case. There are no federal laws stating private sector employees should receive holiday pay because the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to pay employees for time they have not worked.

Now wait a minute, you might be saying. I swear I heard something about holiday pay laws somewhere. Well, there’s a good chance you did. There is a federal law stating that federal employees (employees that work for the government) receive 10 paid holidays a year: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Some states have created state laws (not federal laws) in regards to holiday pay.  The easiest way to determine if your state has holiday pay laws is by checking your state government’s website.

Often employers will offer holiday pay to keep employees happy, thereby reducing turnover. It is a great incentive for new hires to accept a job offer. Additionally, employers have the option to add restrictions to determine which employees receive holiday pay. Sometimes employers require employees to work the holiday in order to receive holiday pay.  Other times, employees can have the day off and still receive holiday pay.

Having holiday pay is also a good way to boost employee morale and reward loyal employees. This can be done by giving holiday pay to employees who have been with the company for “x” amount of time. Remember, keeping employees happy is essential when trying to reduce turnover rates (and costs).

Employees should always check with their employer or employee contract to learn exactly what their company’s holiday pay policy is.


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