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HOLIDAY PAY AND TIME OFF

As we approach the holiday season, many people inquire about their rights regarding holiday pay and time off under California law. Below is a list of common topics we come across every year.

Time off during the holidays

California law does not require employers to provide time off for the holidays (except for religious accommodations). The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement's website states as follows:

Hours worked on holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays are treated like hours worked on any other day of the week. California law does not require that an employer provide its employees with paid holidays, that it close its business on any holiday, or that employees be given the day off for any particular holiday.

No extra pay for working during the holidays

Employers are not required to pay employees extra pay or "holiday pay" for working on holidays. To the extent employers agree to do so, it is completely up to their discretion. While there have been attempts by California's legislature to pass bills requiring employers to pay double time for work done on certain holidays, none of them have been successful.

The employer's policy regarding holiday pay must be clearly communicated to employees

If the employer intends to pay for time off during the holidays, it must clearly set out that this benefit does not accrue to employees and that they must be employed during the specific holidays to receive the holiday pay.

Employers must provide reasonable religious accommodations

Employers must be aware of their employees' religious observances since they need to provide reasonable accommodations for employees due to religious reasons.

Employers may process payroll on the next business day if it falls on certain holidays and the employer is closed

If an employer is closed on holidays listed in the California Government Code, then the employer may pay wages on the next business day. The holidays listed in the Government Code are as follows:

  • January 1 — New Year’s Day

  • Third Monday in January — Martin Luther King Jr. Day

  • February 12 — Lincoln’s Birthday

  • Third Monday in February — Washington’s Birthday

  • Last Monday in May — Memorial Day

  • July 4 — Independence Day

  • First Monday in September — Labor Day

  • Second Monday in October — Columbus Day

  • November 11 — Veterans Day

  • Fourth Thursday in November — Thanksgiving Day

  • Day after Thanksgiving

  • December 25 — Christmas

  • Other days appointed by the governor for a public fast, thanksgiving or holiday