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Wouldn’t it be nice if you received some kind of education about your rights as an employee when you got your first job? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and many people do not know their rights regarding holiday pay and time off. Our employment lawyers put together some helpful information about holiday pay and time off in the State of California.

Time Off for the Holidays Is Not Mandated by Law

In California, an employer has the legal right to schedule their employees to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Religious accommodations are an exception to this. According to the state, hours worked on the weekends or holidays are not handled differently than hours worked on “regular” days. While some employers offer a higher rate of holiday or weekend pay, the law does not require that. Businesses are allowed to be open (and staffed) on holidays. Employers do not need to provide holiday pay to employees who decide to stay home on those days.

PayDay and the Holidays

Another thing that can make the holiday season challenging for employees is that three major holidays in six weeks can disrupt the regular receipt of paychecks. The law says that if a holiday and payday coincide, an employer must process their payroll on the very next business day for minimal disruption to employees. According to California law, employers do not need to process payroll on these holidays:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Martin Luther King Day
  3. Lincoln’s Birthday
  4. Washington’s Birthday (*These are not combined with Presidents Day)
  5. Cesar Chaves Day
  6. Memorial Day
  7. Independence Day
  8. Labor Day
  9. Native American Day
  10. Columbus Day
  11. Veterans Day
  12. Thanksgiving Day
  13. Christmas Day (*Christmas Eve is not considered a holiday here)

If an Employer Offers Holiday Pay

Although it’s not required, many employers do pay more for working on a holiday in California. If that’s the case, employers do not need to pay out accrued holiday pay/time if an employee stops working for them before the holiday in question. The employer’s policy must clearly state this, however, so that employees understand this from the start. If an employee promises holiday pay and fails to provide it, an employee might have an unpaid wages claim.

Religious Holidays in California

The law in California surrounding religious holidays is a bit vague. Employers can not discriminate or retaliate against workers requesting time off due to religious traditions or holy days. The law simply says that employers must “explore” accommodating the religious observances requested by employees.

Familiarize Yourself With Your Employer’s Policies

Sometimes companies lure people into working for them by promising a bunch of great benefits like paid holidays, vacation time, double-time for nights or weekends, matching retirement contributions, and so on. If you don’t have a copy of those policies, take the time to read through them and familiarize yourself. If an employer makes a promise, for example, to offer employees paid holidays and does not follow through, that is against the law.

Learn more: When is it time to call an attorney for unpaid wages?

We Are California Unpaid Wage Attorneys

Remember that unpaid wages are a form of stealing, and it is a crime. Mara Law Firm knows labor law backward and forward. We offer proven legal advice, fight hard for our clients, and treat each legal case with the greatest attention to detail. If you believe your employer owes you unpaid wages, don’t hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation consultation today.

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