California's Holiday Pay Laws

Given that it’s December and the holidays are in full swing, we thought that we would touch on the topic of holiday pay.

In recent years, the fact that more people in retail are having to work on Thanksgiving due to Black Friday sales starting on Thanksgiving itself, many people are wondering if it’s even legal to require employees to work on holidays.

Can California employers require that employees work on holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July? If they can, are they required to pay time and one-half on holidays?

Unfortunately, we don’t have good news for you. First, there is no state law that says an employer must close their doors on holidays. Second, if your employer schedules you to work on a holiday, there is nothing in state law that says your employer has to pay you more than your regular pay rate.

Holidays are Treated the Same as Any Other Day

Essentially, any hours worked on a Saturday, Sunday or a holiday are treated the same as hours worked Monday through Friday or on a non-holiday.

California law doesn’t require employers to provide paid holidays for their employees, nor does it say that businesses must close on holidays, or that employees must be given holidays off.

If you happen to work for an employer that closes its doors on particular holidays and they pay you for it, you’re one of the lucky ones, but there is no state law that requires them to engage in this practice.

Let’s say that you get 10 holidays off each year without pay, and your spouse gets the same holidays off with pay. While it seems unfair, your employer is not breaking the law for choosing not to pay you.

Do you have a wage or hour dispute with your employer that needs to be addressed?

If you are not being paid your tips, overtime, or if you’re not getting adequate meal breaks, please contact Alan Burton Newman, PLC to discuss your legal options for free with our Harvard employment lawyer!