African American woman works the window of a food truckIf you live in California worked over the holidays, you might now receive the paychecks for that time worked, and wondering if you’ll see holiday pay. When it comes to the holidays, every little extra amount of money helps, but you might be surprised to learn California’s laws on hourly pay and holidays.

If I Worked Eight Hours on New Year’s Day as Part of My 40-hour Workweek, Am I Entitled to Special Holiday Pay?

According to state law, all holidays and weekends are subject to the same rules as any other day of the week. An employer may choose to close the business on a holiday and to provide its employees with paid time off, but that policy is determined by the individual employer, upon the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, or terms of an employment agreement between an employer and an employee.

What if Working a Holiday Means I’ve Worked Overtime?

If you work more than 40 hours per workweek, California law says you must be paid one and one-half times your regular rate of pay for all hours worked beyond eight hours and up to 12 hours in any workday. That formula applies whether or not a holiday is included in the overtime calculation.

My Brother Works for a Company That Provides Paid Holidays, But the Business Where I Work Never Provides Us Paid Holidays. Is My Employer Breaking California Law?

No. The state of California’s Department of Industrial Relations recognizes that an employer may choose to close a business and offer employees a paid day off, but the employer is not obligated to do so by law. In other words, the state’s law does not require any employer to pay an employee for time that is not worked.

Don’t Some Companies Pay Employees Holiday Pay Such as Time-and-a-Half or Double-time for Working on Holidays?

Yes, even though it is not required by law, some employers voluntarily provide additional pay for those who will work on a holiday in order to ensure their business has enough workers that day to fulfill all the necessary duties.



My Company Was Closed Thanksgiving Day, So I Didn’t Work That Day. However, I Worked Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and Was Paid for 48 Hours Straight Time. Why Weren’t Eight of Those Hours Paid at the Overtime Rate?

You worked 40 hours, but you were paid for 48 hours because your employer chose to pay you for the holiday that you did not work. Because you did not work more than eight hours in a single day, nor more than 40 hours for the workweek, the straight pay for 8 hours on the holiday you did not work was paid to you at the discretion of your employer, and not because you earned overtime pay.

Do Federal Employees Who Live in California Receive Paid Holidays?

Yes. The U.S. government provides ten paid holidays to its employees each year. Plus, every four years, federal employees receive Inauguration Day as a paid holiday, which is observed on Jan. 20 or on Jan. 21 if Jan. 20 falls on a Sunday.

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