Holiday labor laws: 6 common misconceptions

With Veterans’ Day this week, and Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, it’s likely employees will be looking to take some time off for the holidays. For those wondering what the law does and does not dictate for federal and religious holidays, we’ve put together a quick and easy guide to address some of the common holiday labor law misconceptions:

I am entitled to at least some federal or religious holidays

Sadly, the law views holidays as just another business day, so whether or not you have to work is entirely up to your boss’s discretion if you work for a private company. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, MLK Day, and Christmas are referred to as “federal” holidays precisely because they apply to employees of the federal government, so those who work for private entities may find themselves out of luck.

While many private employers offer some or all federal holidays off as an employee benefit, there is no law requiring them to do so.

Working on a federal or religious holiday means I’ll get paid overtime rates or premium pay

Although holidays can often be busy, straining times for workers in a variety of industries (and typically retail in particular) and might seem worthy of overtime rates, the unfortunate reality is that federal holidays don’t have any special designation for overtime pay, and working on a holiday is not considered overtime. In other words — regular overtime rules apply, since the law treats federal holidays as just another business day.

Like usual, if you qualify for overtime pay, and you work over 40 hours during the week of a federal holiday, then you are entitled to “time and a half” pay for the hours worked over 40.

Curious about labor law compliance? Check out our State-By-State Compliance Guide to learn more specifics for your state.

My holiday time off should be paid

This one depends. If you’re a nonexempt (hourly) employee, then your employer has no legal obligation to pay for time off on a holiday.

For exempt (salaried with no overtime) employees, your employer has to pay you your full weekly salary if you are given a day off, but have worked any hours during the week in which that day off falls.

EBOOK

Maximize Billable Projects & Hours. Maximize Revenue.

Download Ebook Now

It’s illegal for my company to give holiday benefits to some employees and not others

This one, too, is sadly not true. As long as this difference in holiday benefits isn’t based in discrimination, then a company can legally give some employees holiday benefits, and not others.

For example, a company can choose to have holiday pay for only full-time employees, and not for those who are part-time or contract.

My day off still counts toward my overtime calculation

If your employer gives you paid holidays, then they don’t have to count the paid hours as hours worked when it comes to determining whether or not an employee qualifies for overtime compensation.

Failing to accommodate my religious practices is religious discrimination

This one can be tricky — while a failure to accommodate religious practices does at times qualify as religious discrimination, there are some notable exceptions.

In general, you can ask for a “reasonable accommodation” if you let your employer know ahead of time that there is some conflict between your religious observances and your work schedule. Your employer must then find a way to eliminate this conflict between religious and work obligations, provided this doesn’t impose an “undue hardship” on his or her business. An “undue hardship” is vaguely defined as “an accommodation that is too costly or difficult to provide,” and in the past has been interpreted to mean anything from an increase in regular administrative costs to anything that reduces workplace efficiency.

Instances of religious discrimination are typically determined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on a case-by-case basis, but know that there’s a chance your employer doesn’t have to accommodate you, if undue hardship can be proven.

 

EBOOK

Maximize Billable Projects & Hours. Maximize Revenue.

Download Ebook Now

Regina Mullen
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Regina Mullen
Regina is the Workforce Management Expert & Content Marketing Associate for Replicon. Replicon provides award-winning products that make it easy to manage your workforce. With complete solution sets for client billing, project costing, and time and attendance management, Replicon enables the capture, administration, and optimization of your most underutilized and important asset: time.
Get started today.
Set up a free trial based on your business needs. Start Free Trial

Calculating the ROI of Your Projects with Time Tracking

Before initiating a project, professional services firms want to know how much profit and revenue they can generate for the company. Return on Investment (ROI) analysis helps firms to evaluate…Read More

Humanizing the Time Tracking Tool

Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Time is money’ and nowhere is truer than in business. Time is a strategic asset that is extremely limited. Businesses that use their limited time productively…Read More

How Time Tracking Improves Bottom Line Results

Every enterprise is looking for ways to improve its bottom line and gain profit in a given time. From hiring the right talent to training their existing employees, organizations spend…Read More

Will AI replace consultants?

The onset of AI and smart machines automating formerly-human jobs has been discussed at length as of late -- often in relation to manufacturing and manual labor jobs. And yet,…Read More

Demystifying the millennial workforce: 5 tips from Trunk Club’s Andrew Anderson Devine

Time magazine labels the millennial generation the “most threatening and exciting generation,” infamous for “narcissism [and] its effect: entitlement.” In the workplace, the perception of the millennial workforce is no…Read More

Time and Attendance Orientation Guide

In a growing business, the day will eventually come when managing time and attendance on paper becomes both inefficient and risky, especially when trying to balance things like overtime, paid…Read More
  • Polaris
  • Time & Project Insights
  • Time & Projects Solutions
  • Replicon Products
  • Replicon Users
  • Cloud
  • Corporate
  • Professional Services Management
  • Shared Services Management
  • Time and Attendance Management
  • Customer Feature
  • Time Intelligence
  • Industry News
  • Global Compliance Updates
  • Others