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What you should know if you work on a holiday

The holiday season is in full swing, and while many people have time off from work and take vacations, that is not the case for everyone. For some people, working on the holidays is unavoidable; for others, working on the holidays is a great way to earn some extra money.

Whether you want to be working or not, you should know the rules when it comes to working on holidays and holiday pay. 

Working on the holidays

State and federal laws observe several holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. On these days, state and federal employees typically have a paid day off as their offices will close. However, private employees are not entitled to time off, paid or not. 

That said, many businesses do decide to close on holidays. If they choose to stay open, though, they will need employees to work. Expectations regarding whether you will work on holidays should appear in your employment agreement or handbook. 

Holiday pay

New York State Labor Law specifies that holidays are "time not worked," which means payment is not required when an employee does not work on those days. If you do work on a holiday, do not expect to receive extra compensation for your time. There is no legal requirement for private businesses to pay more money to people who work on a holiday.

Again, though, employers make their own policies. Some provide holiday pay or other benefits to employees. They might offer a special bonus or other incentives for working on holidays. If they do, it is crucial that they follow through with their promises.

It is also important to note that non-exempt employees should receive overtime pay during holidays if those hours are overtime hours. In other words, overtime laws are the same whether a person is working on a holiday or non-holiday.

Know your rights

Whether you work and receive compensation for working on holidays depends on your employer and whether there are specific policies in place. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as an employee on the holidays, discussing the case with an attorney sooner rather than later can help you understand your legal options and remedies.

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