HR Hotline: How Do We Handle Sunday Holidays?
Q: With Christmas and New Year’s Day both falling on Sundays this year (non-working days for us) and the designated holiday observances on Monday, are we obligated to give those two Mondays off as holidays? If we do, must they be paid holidays? And if anyone works on the Monday holiday(s), are we required to pay overtime or some other premium wage rate for that day?
A: Neither state nor federal law requires employers to give time off for holidays, paid or unpaid.
Nor does the law require that employers pay employees any premium rate of pay for working on a designated holiday, unless those hours worked bring the total weekly hours above 40, in which case any nonexempt employees must be paid time and one half for such overtime work.
State law identifies 12 days as “legal” holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
- Lincoln’s Birthday
- Washington’s Birthday
- Good Friday
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veterans’ Day
- Thanksgiving Day
When a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, state law designates the Friday before or Monday after, respectively, as the legal holiday.
Since 1996, banks and credit unions are no longer required to close on those days.
All other employers have been and continue to be free to open for business or close for the day, at their discretion.
Of course you should consider employee expectations, family obligations, and the impact on employee relations if you were to cut back on some holidays or holiday pay, but doing so would not violate any legal obligations.
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