Holiday Pay and Hours in California
With the Holidays upon us, it is a good time to brush up on California’s labor laws regarding holiday pay and time off. Many employees throughout the state assume that all major holidays and even some minor ones are treated as paid vacation days.
Employee PerceptionsThey assume that if they work on a holiday, they will be compensated at a holiday pay rate, which is typically two to two and a half times the normal rate of pay. Unfortunately, those individuals would be wrong in their assumptions.
Three Things Every Californian Should Know Regarding Holiday Hours and Pay1. California does not require its employers to offer holidays off. According to the State of California's Department of Industrial Relations, "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." The only exception is if an employee requests a holiday off for religious reasons.
2. California employers are not required to offer paid holidays off, nor are they required to pay an employee additional wages for working on a holiday. Just as employers are not required to give their employees holidays off, they are not required to pay them extra for work performed on holidays. Furthermore, they are not required to offer paid holidays off.
3. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees who request specific holidays off for religious reasons. If an individual requests a holiday off due to religious reasons, the employer must take reasonable measures to accommodate them. What is considered "reasonable" is determined on a case-by-case basis, though. For instance, if a department store is open on normally recognized holidays, the employer should include something about working during normally recognized holidays as an essential job function in the employee handbook and policies. If an employee were to try to request Christmas off for religious reasons, the employer can deny the request based off of the stipulations in the handbook. However, if the holiday is not a normally recognized one, such as Palm Sunday or Eid al-Fitr, the employer must do its best to allow the employee the day off.