HOW DOES HOLIDAY PAY WORK: How to Get It and All You Need to Know

How Does Holiday Pay Work
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National, state, and religious holidays are paid holidays that businesses may offer their staff as paid days off. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) solely controls minimum wage and overtime compensation; hence, there is no federal regulation forcing companies to provide their employees with holiday pay. Even though giving your employees holiday pay is optional, it is a nice gesture to show them that you value them. Given that its implementation is often left to the discretion of the employer, its manifestation might take on a wide variety of forms. Therefore, it is vital to have a firm grasp of what holiday pay is, how to calculate it with salary based on hours worked, and how to design a holiday pay policy before selecting how much, if anything, to pay employees who work or don’t work on holidays or overtime and night shift.

What Is Holiday Pay?

Holiday pay refers to any additional remuneration provided by an employer over and above regular pay for time off over the holidays. The payment could be in the form of paid time off, a holiday bonus, or overtime for work done on holiday. 

Holiday Pay, despite its unique moniker, refers generically to any form of remuneration that employees get, regardless of whether or not they need to work on any given holiday. In many cases, employees are given holiday pay as a “gift”. This will help them take time off over the holiday season without worrying about losing money for their absence.

The most typical notion of holiday pay in the United States is that businesses should pay staff who work on holidays “time-and-a-half,” or 150 percent of their regular hourly salary. It might even come as paid time off on the actual holiday itself or a bonus payment.

However, despite the absence of any legislation mandating holiday pay in the United States, it has become a trend to allow employees to observe the following holidays with pay:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday)
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day

How Does Holiday Pay Work?

As part of the perks of working for the government, employees generally get paid time off on federally recognized holidays. Other Businesses might also decide to offer equivalent services, fewer services, or even none at all. Some employers even provide their staff with a certain amount of “floating holidays” that they can utilize whenever they like.

The practice of providing extra remuneration for working on holidays (holiday pay) is common in industries like hospitality, where firms are open even if most people choose to spend the day off. However, it would be best if you understood this practice is not an obligation from your employer. 

Depending on the arrangement existing between you and your employer when you were hired, you may or may not receive any further compensation. Even within the same organization, holiday pay might vary from employee to employee. It all depends on certain factors, including the hours you work and your job title.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) basically states that employers are not compelled to compensate their workers for time spent not working, such as paid time off for holidays, unless those employees are represented by a collective bargaining agent such as a union. Additionally, you should confirm local state regulations, as they can have different demands on your business in terms of holiday compensation.

In most cases, an employee’s holiday compensation will not alter from their regular pay structure, with the following three exceptions:

#1. Overtime

The Fair Labor Standards Act states that nonexempt workers who work overtime during the holiday season (but not on the actual holiday) are entitled to compensation “at a rate not less than time and one-half their usual rates of pay” for any hours exceeding 40 per week.

#2. Time and a Half

Even though the law does not necessitate it, you, as an employer, may choose to pay your employees double time on holidays as a way to reward them for coming in to work and to raise morale.

#3. Bonuses

As the holidays approach, you may wish to show your appreciation for your staff by giving them a bonus. In this regard, it is up to the discretion of the firm to determine how it awards holiday bonuses. It can base on different factors such as length of service, wage level, or performance. 

Any unique regulations do not govern holiday pay; rather, you must comply with all applicable state and federal employment laws. This, however, does not include any specific provisions for paying workers on holidays beyond the requirement that nonexempt workers be paid overtime.

How Does Holiday Pay Work for Night Shift

If an employee works throughout the holiday weekend or on holiday, they are eligible for holiday premium pay. This will come in addition to their regular pay rate. When an employee is exempted from scheduled night work, they are still eligible to receive their basic night pay. This is by the same parameters as an employee who works during daylight hours. This is still the case even if the employee does not work any nights.

Night shift employment Employees will receive their regular pay plus 10% of their monthly salary per month if they regularly work a full shift of eight (8) hours or longer on the night shift as defined in Section 12.6.1 (Types of Shifts), which includes four (4) hours or more between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 7:00 a.m. However, if an employee is regularly assigned to work the night shift for less than a full work week, the additional payment will be m.

How Do I Calculate Holiday Pay Based on Hours Worked?

If you provide an employee with time-and-a-half pay for working on a holiday, you can multiply that amount by half. As an illustration, if an employee’s usual hourly wage is $12, their holiday compensation would be $18. All of the computations will normally be taken care of for you if you use online payroll software.

Under federal law, overtime is determined weekly; therefore, if you provide nonexempt workers overtime compensation, they are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for any hours worked above 40 per week.

How Does Holiday Pay Work Overtime?

According to federal law, working on a holiday is not considered overtime. So, there is no particular holiday classification for overtime pay. Under federal law, holidays are treated like any regular workday. However, most (but not all) states and the federal government mandate that businesses pay overtime to workers whose hours fulfill the requirements. However, this arrangement is crucial if your company has holiday-themed longer hours or needs you to work extra shifts over the break.

Calculating pay when employees are eligible for overtime can be challenging. The crucial fact to be aware of is that overtime is determined weekly by federal law. Accordingly, if workers clock in more than 40 hours during the week of a traditional paid holiday, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day, they are entitled to “time and a half” compensation for the extra hours worked.

Additionally, there is a daily overtime standard in California as well as in a few other states. An employee is entitled to “time and a half” for each hour worked through any given day that they put in more than eight hours of work. For illustration, suppose you operate a firm in California, and your employee puts in 10 hours on Christmas Day. You must pay your employee overtime for two hours in accordance with state legislation.

Some firms choose to provide double time, which means that they will have to multiply their regular rate by two for workers who work on holidays as an extra benefit. Although there is no federal or standard requirement for double time, California has a double time regulation. This is applicable if an employee works more than 12 hours a single weekday or more than seven days consecutively.

How Does a Holiday Pay Work Calculator?

Depending on what incentives you give employees or hourly workers to work on holidays, the holiday pay calculation is straightforward. If you pay employees 1 12 of the regular hourly rate, for instance, a worker making $10 per hour would receive $15 per hour if they worked on holidays.

To make the calculation, you can also add bonuses or other unique incentives to the compensation for regular and hourly employees. Generally, the method you use to determine holiday pay for hourly workers is totally up to you. Regardless, there are automation software that can handle all of these calculations and speed up holiday payroll.

Companies can also keep various payment schedules for their hourly workers as well as salaried personnel. Regardless, the holiday pay calculator provides you with employee time tracking, leave management, shift scheduling, and other services in addition to payroll assistance.

Do You Get Full Pay for Holidays?

For each week of statutory leave taken, employees are entitled to one week’s pay.

The average employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid vacation each year. You can make use of the holiday calculator to determine how much holiday someone should receive.

A person’s weekly compensation is calculated based on the type of hours they work and how those hours are compensated. This is basically the same for all types of workers; full-time, part-time, term-time, as well as casual employees.

How Much Holiday Pay Do You Accrue Each Month?

How holiday pay accrual operates basically depends on you. Generally, a worker has no right to holiday pay accrual. As such, you can lawfully make them take all of their vacation days.

However, accumulation may occur if a worker has unused vacation days at the end of the year. You, as an employer, may choose to let your employees carry over the holiday to the following year. Regardless, you can easily calculate how much vacation time an employee earns each month by applying the following simple addition; 

  • Calculate the number of days an employee has worked (including bank holidays).
  • Multiply the result by 12.
  • If a person worked 28 days a month, divide that number by 12 to get 2.33.

The answer displays how much time off they are allowed each month.

Multiplying the number of days an employee works a week by 5.6 will give you the employee’s weekly holiday accrual.

To determine how many vacation days an employee is entitled to, you can utilize a holiday accrual calculator.

What Percentage is Holiday Pay Calculated at?

Holiday Pay is equal to the normal daily wage x1.5 (for time and a half) or x2 (double time). However, when working on a normal basis, federal law does not require you to give your employees overtime pay or additional pay for working on a holiday. Legally speaking, it’s just another day where you can earn the same amount you normally get on a usual day.

How Many Hours is a 5.6-Week Holiday?

If you’d want, you can figure it out in hours; it can be really helpful. Hours are multiplied by 5.6. So, to calculate it=

  •  24 hours x 5.6 hours per week is 134.4 hours (round-up is 134.5 hrs holiday per year)

This also includes the right to a bank holiday. Therefore, if they work a bank holiday, they will only receive the extra pay they are eligible for.

Can I Still Use 12.07 to Calculate Holiday Pay?

Regarding the issue of holiday pay, the Supreme Court rules forbid applying the 12.07% technique to determine holiday pay. They demand that the average compensation for the past 12 weeks of completed work be used to compute a week’s pay.

Is Regular Holiday Double Pay?

Article 94 of the Labor Code stipulates that every worker must get his regular daily wage on any regular holiday period and that employers may require an employee to attend work on any Holiday, in which case the employee must be compensated at a rate equal to double his regular rate [that is, 100% holiday pay in addition to the day’s wage].

Is Holiday Pay Taxed?

Holiday bonuses are taxed since they are regarded as compensation. According to TurboTax, however, bonuses are taxed at a different rate than an employee’s wage at the state and federal levels.


Employers are frequently required by international labor rules to offer paid time off during significant holidays. However, there are no legal restrictions requiring employers to provide paid holiday time off or extra pay to employees over the holidays in the United States.

However, while businesses are obligated by federal law to make reasonable accommodations for their employees to observe religious holidays, they are not compelled to provide paid time off or other benefits for employees to observe those holidays.

Even though giving your employees holiday pay is optional, it is a nice gesture to show that you value them. Given that its implementation is often left to the discretion of the employer, its manifestation might take different forms.


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