What are the Holiday Pay Rules for Employers in California?
As an employer in California, it is imperative that your practices are fully consistent with all federal, state, and local requirements. You may be wondering: Does California have any special requirements for holiday hours or holiday pay? The short answer is “no” —the general pay/hour standards still apply during the holiday season. Here, our Riverside County employment lawyers provide an overview of what employers should know about holiday pay in California.
Know the Law: No Holiday Pay Requirements in California
The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) explains that state law is clear: An employer is not required to “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.” Even the major holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.—are not subject to any specialized laws. Employers are not legally required to give a worker the day off or to give a worker additional pay.
Employers Must Comply With All Standard Wage and Hour Regulations
While California lacks specific holiday pay requirements, employers in the state must always follow all of the standard wage and hour regulations. Among other things, companies must ensure compliance with minimum wage laws, overtime pay, and meal and rest breaks requirements.
Employers Must Follow an Employment Contract that Requires Holiday Pay
California law does not guarantee time-off or extra holiday pay for workers in the state. That being said, there are many employees in the state who are entitled to some form of holiday-related benefit through an employment contract. In some cases, employees are covered by individual employment contracts. In other cases, workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Many collective bargaining agreements in California stipulate that holiday time-off and/or holiday pay is required. All employers in California should understand their obligations under their employment contracts. If your company breaches an employment agreement, you could face liability for damages.
An Employer May Voluntarily Provide Holiday Benefits—But Must Avoid Discrimination
Of course, employers have the discretion to offer holiday benefits voluntarily. Indeed, many businesses and organizations in Riverside County and throughout California provide some form of holiday time-off or holiday pay to employees. Doing so can be a valuable way to generate good will and reduce the risk of staff turnover during a busy season. These benefits could include additional pay for working on holidays, paid time off, or other perks. It is crucial that employers ensure that benefits are provided in a non-discriminatory manner. They should be based on solid, objective criteria like seniority, department, and/or job function.
Get Help From an Employment Lawyer in California
At the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat, APC, our California employment lawyer helps companies and organizations put proactive plans in place to protect their best interests. Have questions about holiday staffing or holiday wages? We can help. Contact us now for a confidential case review. Our firm works with employers in Coachella Valley, Riverside County, and throughout California.