It’s “What’s Up? Wednesday”. Time to answer your question about HOLIDAY PAY requirements…

You asked: [this is the second part of last week’s reader question] “If any overtime is to be honored and it occurred on a holiday, is there any requirement as to “double time”?”

The answer:

In order to answer that, let’s go back to the law again.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are not required to compensate employees for unworked time, such as company holidays (including federal holidays). Whether an employee is paid for an unworked holiday is subject to the employer’s compensation policy.  If an employee works through a company holiday, the employer is not required to pay extra (time and a half or double time, for example) unless the employee is under a contract that stipulates extra pay for working on a holiday.

However, as we saw last week, employers are required to pay for all hours worked, whether or not those hours fall on an unpaid holiday. Employers are also required to pay a minimum of time-and-one-half for every hour of overtime worked by non-exempt employees. So, if your employee worked through a company holiday, that time must be paid (straight time if it falls within the normal work hours). If those hours put her over the 40 hours in one work week, and she is non-exempt, then she must be paid time-and-one-half for every hour of overtime, whether it fell on a company holiday or not.

One more thing to consider (of course!) is your company’s compensation policy.  If your policy states that she is paid for the holiday whether worked or not, that would then be calculated as 16 hours (8 hours holiday pay plus the 8 hours actually worked).  And, as always, unworked time, paid or not, is not counted as hours worked when calculating overtime pay.

Before we leave the subject of holidays, a few more things to remember:

  1. No Federal law exists that requires an employer to provide time off, paid or otherwise, to employees on nationally recognized holidays. Whether or not your company schedules holidays is completely up to the company.
  2. Employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations for the religious practices of its employees (unless, of course, it can show that the accommodation would result in undue hardship for the business). Since unpaid time off is generally accepted as a reasonable accommodation, many companies add a “floating holiday” to their list holidays.

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