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An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

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Holiday Pay

What Is Holiday Pay?

Holiday pay is any form of alternative compensation an employer offers employees during holidays. It may take the form of fully or partially paid time off or of a bonus or additional hourly pay for work performed on a holiday. The most common idea associated with holiday pay in the United States is that of employers paying “time-and-a-half,” or 150 percent of normal hourly wages, to employees who work on holidays.

Is Holiday Pay Required by Law?

International employment laws often require employers to provide paid time off during important holidays. In the U.S., however, paid holidays off are not required by law, nor are there any requirements that an employer offer additional compensation for work performed during holidays. Federal law states that employers must provide reasonable accommodation to employees for the celebration of religious holidays, but even so, they are not required to give any holiday time off or additional pay.

What Are Paid Holidays?   

Paid holidays are national, state, or religious holidays that employers can choose to give as paid days off to their employees. There is no federal law requiring employers to give their employees paid holidays as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) only regulates minimum wage and overtime pay. 

Typical paid holidays in the United States include:

  • Martin Luther King Day

  • Presidents' Day

  • Memorial Day

  • Independence Day (observed)

  • Victoria Day (Rhode Island only)

  • Labor Day

  • Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples' Day

  • Veterans Day

  • Thanksgiving

  • Day After Thanksgiving

  • Christmas Eve

  • Christmas Day

  • New Year's Eve

  • New Year's Day