Should employees be paid more for working on holidays?

Q:        I will be working on Christmas and New Year days. Am I entitled to holiday pay?


A:        Hours worked on holidays are treated like hours worked on any other day of the week. The law does not require payment of overtime or other special premiums for work during holidays, unless such work goes beyond 8 hours per workday or 40 hours per workweek. The law also does not require that employers pay employees for holidays that are not worked.

The employer chooses when to be open and closed for business. They are not required to close their businesses or give employees the day off on any holiday.  If the employer is open on a holiday and schedules the employee to work that day, the law does not oblige the employer to pay the employee anything but the employee’s regular pay.


However, if by working on a holiday the employee incurs overtime hours, then the employee should be paid the overtime premium for all overtime hours worked.

The employer may pay a premium rate for working on a holiday if the employer adopts such a policy or practice. If the employee is subject to a collective bargaining agreement or an employment contract that provides for premium pay for hours worked on holidays, then the employer must pay a premium rate for working on a holiday.

Some employers (bless them!) choose to close their business on major holidays and give their employees paid time off equivalent to 8 hours of work at the employee’s regular rate. Many employees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement or an employment contract which provides that the business be closed on holidays and employees be paid time off from work.

Employees are smart to be vigilant about their rights to correct wages. Aside from inquiring into whether they are correctly paid for working on holidays, employees should also ask whether they are in fact paid for all the hours they have worked. Are they paid correctly for any of the following?

1) off-the-clock work

2) missed meal or rest breaks

3) work-related travel time


4) preliminary or postliminary work (such as time spent putting on uniforms or washing tools)

5) work done “at home”

6) controlled on-call or standby time

7) not being provided at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep while on a 24-hour duty

Having said all that, we wish all employees and their families Happy Holidays! May you continue to enjoy good health and fairness in the workplace!

The Law Offices of C. Joe Sayas, Jr. welcomes inquiries about this topic. All inquiries are confidential and at no-cost. You can contact the office at (818) 291-0088 or visit or our Facebook page Joe Sayas Law. [C. Joe Sayas, Jr., Esq. is an experienced trial attorney who has successfully recovered wages and other monetary damages for thousands of employees and consumers. He was named Top Labor & Employment Attorney in California by the Daily Journal, consistently selected as Super Lawyer by the Los Angeles Magazine, and is the recipient of PABA’s Community Champion Award for 2016.]

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TAGS: “off-the-clock” work, California labor laws, collective bargaining, holiday pay
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