How much notice does an employer have to give before closing an office for a holiday?

Asked almost 3 years ago - Indian Wells, CA

I was just informed by the medical office I work at that the Dr. decided he wants to close the office on the 23rd in observance of Christmas and the 2nd in observance of New Year's. We do not have any formal notice for our holidays he just decides every year what days he wants to close. My questions is how much notice does he have to give before he closes the office for a day? My co-worker's and I would have liked to know sooner to have made up the 16 hrs we will now be deficit on a pay check because of this. Thank you.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Michael Robert Kirschbaum

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Unfortunately, this is one of the downsides of working for a small employer. They often do not have policies and handbooks which spell out what to expect and may make scheduling decisions on the spur of the moment. While it may be unfair to spring surprises on employees, it is not illegal. We simply do not have laws that require employers to provide advance schedules to employees, unless negotiated for in the form of a contract (usually through a union). Nor is an employer required to make up the lost time. There is no law that requires holiday pay.

    If your employer is someone you think you can talk to, without getting defensive, try approaching him in a professional manner, and explain the hardship his decisions cause on his employees. Perhaps you could suggest he invest in some form of an employee handbook, which spells out what his personnel policies are, including holiday schedules, vacations, etc., so everyone knows what to expect. There are many firms out there that create such handbooks for employers, catered to their individual needs, and to make sure the policies conform to California law. Every employer, no matter how small, should have one.

    If you cannot discuss such things with this employer, or the inconsistent behavior continues to such a degree you find it intolerable, it may be best to look for work elsewhere.

    They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion... more
  2. L. Maxwell Taylor

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I suspect from what you say that you and your co-workers are hourly employees employed at will. I know of no general principle of law that requires employers to give notice that an office is closing for a holiday a certain amount of time beforehand.

    Not legal advice as I don't practice law in California. It's just my two cents on your question in light of general principles of law. If you need legal advice, please consult a lawyer who holds California licensure. That's not me.

    Good luck and enjoy your days off.

  3. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Kirschbaum and write to suggest you take a look at my Avvo guide on California's at-will employment law. This should help you have a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities that employers have, and employees have. The guide won't give you any relief for your current problem, but it will provide information so you can protect yourself more effectively in the future.

    Best wishes.

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more

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