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How do the holidays affect your workers' paychecks?

The holidays may bring comfort and joy to many, but if you are a business owner or manager, your holidays may consist of headaches and worry. Your employees may be wanting time off for celebrations, spending time shopping online, and more concerned about the office Christmas party than completing their tasks. In the midst of the scheduling nightmare, you may be confused about your budget, especially when it comes to holiday pay for your workers.

Depending on the industry in which you work, you may have to schedule employees to work during the holiday. Some employees may volunteer to take the less desirable shifts, but others will make it clear they do not want to work on the holiday. Are you required to give them time off? Are you required to offer them more pay for working those shifts?

Do you know the law?

Your company policies are the first place to look for answers to those questions. If you have a contract with your employees that offers time off for holidays or premium pay for hours worked on those days, you must honor that contract by law. However, if no contract exists or it does not stipulate holiday pay, the following factors apply:

  • You do not have to give an employee the day off with pay for the holiday.
  • You do not have to offer a premium pay rate for employees who work on the holiday.
  • Nationally recognized holidays are regular work days according to Federal law, but Texas laws may change, so it is wise to seek reliable information about this.
  • You must accommodate an employee who requests off on a holiday for religious reasons unless that employee's absence will create a hardship for your business.
  • You may allow an employee requesting time off for religious reasons to take a floating holiday or to use a vacation day if they give enough notice.
  • Exempt employees who receive time off for the holiday must receive their full pay for the week.

If your company offers holiday pay, you have the right to add stipulations to that benefit. For example, you may offer a paid holiday only to employees who have been with the company for a certain number of years, or you may require employees to work the days before and after the holiday to qualify for a paid day off.

With the many rules and exceptions surrounding employment law and wages, you would be wise to clarify your company policies as well as state laws well before the holidays arrive to avoid becoming embroiled in a wage dispute with your employees. Seeking advice and guidance from an experienced attorney is a wise first step.

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