Free Case Evaluation

Time Off Pay Over the Holidays – Is Your Company Following the Law?

do lawyers work on holidays

When the holidays are around the corner, employees work to reconcile them with their holiday plans. The first question that comes to their mind is, “do holidays come under the paid time off program?”.

The answer to this question is a little complicated, and that’s why most employees fail to receive the benefits owed to them by the employer. In this detailed article, we’ll tell you everything about time off pay over the holidays, the eligible employees, and what to do if your employer denies offering these benefits.

A better understanding of the holiday laws can help bring clarity and direction to your holiday day plans.

What is the Law on Paid Time Off Over the Christmas Holidays in the USA?

Policies and laws about holiday pay differ depending on whether you work for a private company or a government organization, and whether or not your employment is covered by a union contract.

The federal government grants ten paid holidays each year, including Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and Boxing Day do not fall under paid holidays.

Many private companies also follow this holiday schedule. However, there is no such law that mandates private employers to do so. In a nutshell, a private company won’t be held accountable if they do not offer paid holiday offs or vacation pay to the employees, as long as it is mentioned in the employment contract terms.

Employees covered by a union contract are eligible for the typical paid holidays as listed in the federal schedule. Here are some special rules for local and state holidays for employees covered by the union contract.

Determining a Holiday Off 

If your employer has asked you to work on a day that qualified as a federal holiday, say Christmas Day, you’ll have that day off. Plus you’ll be paid normally, based on your regular payment terms, whether you are a part-time or full-time employee.

However, employees that work on an intermittent schedule (piecework, hourly, or daily), are not entitled to receive replacement holidays or paid holidays for a day off. Also, if you work on a holiday, as mentioned in the federal holiday schedule, you are not eligible to receive premium pay.

In-Lieu-Of Holiday

Some employees in New York, due to their strict schedule, cannot get the holiday on the day listed as a federal holiday. These employees are entitled to get an “ in-lieu-of or replacement holiday.”

If you work in a compressed or flexible work schedule and the holiday falls on a non-working day, you are eligible for a replacement holiday scheduled on the workday right before the holiday.

However, if the holiday falls on a weekend, for example: “the Christmas Day holiday this year is on Sunday,” the paid holiday will be scheduled on your next workday, such as on Monday.

If the holiday falls on one of the non-working days, then part-time employees do not receive replacement holidays. Such employees, however, can opt for administrative leave in case they are unable to work because the workplace is closed.

Working on a Holiday 

As per the policies, if a work shift overlaps two days, and one of which is a holiday, the employer should consider it a holiday throughout. Working on a federal holiday makes you eligible to receive a holiday premium rate which could be “double time pay,” depending on the policies of the employer. (Here’s everything you need to know about holiday premium rate)

Are the State Laws on Time Off Pay Over the Holidays Different from Federal Laws?

There is no significant difference between the state and federal laws when it comes to time off pay over the holiday. However, the Bureau of State Payroll Services, New York, has added something to these policies, which is effective only in the state and for the employees working here.

The Bureau of State Payroll Services, New York, defines holiday pay as extra compensation for time an employee has worked during their regular scheduled shift (7.5 to 8 hours) on the day observed as a holiday as per the State.

In order to be eligible for the additional compensation, you must be subject to the Civil Service Attendance Rules*, which is a type of union contract, and may have different terms. Also, the employee must be entitled to time off without a pay loss on holiday unless the individual has filed a Holiday Waiver expecting to receive accruals in spite of compensation.

The Civil Service Attendance Rules do not entertain seasonal hourly employees, still, they may still be entitled to receive Holiday Pay, says Thomas P. DiNapoli.

As per the policy, “workers designated as confidential/management in a designation allocated a Grade equal to 23 or higher, or in any unallocated position where the salary is similar to employees of Grade 23 or above, are not eligible for holiday pay”.

Furthermore, workers in positions in the Operational, Naval Affairs, and Division of Military (except Firefighters), or Technical and Scientific Services unit (with Grade 623 or below, or the salary equating to employees of Grade 623) are entitled to receive extra compensation for the time worked on holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving Day.

Benefits Employers offer to Employees as Time Off Pay Over the Holiday.

There are several types of benefits that employers in New York can offer to their employees if they work during the holiday as per the state calendar, such as on Christmas Day. The most common benefits include double-time pay and incentives such as bonuses.

Double-time Pay

Double time is a type of overtime pay rate that requires the employer to pay their employee twice the normal rate. This type of pay rate is often rewarded by companies to thank their employees for working in unusual or extreme situations, including holidays.

For example, you might be eligible for double-time pay if you work an excessive amount of overtime or during the holiday season.


The State of New York has no laws that require employers to provide double-time pay to their staff even if they work during the holiday season. So, some employers offer bonuses such as incentives instead of double-time pay.

These bonuses are provided to employees as per their designation and depending on the terms mentioned in their job contract.

How to Tell if You Are Entitled to Time Off Pay Over the Holiday

During the hiring process, employers generally tell the employees about specific terms and conditions, including benefits, wages, and more. That’s why professional employment attorneys in New York advise employees to get the employment contract reviewed before signing it.

Are you about to join an organization and want to know if your contract outlines a time payoff over the holiday? Call us at 866-392-2182, and our expert employment attorneys will review your contract thoroughly. Besides holidays and wages, we’ll also help you understand other terms as mentioned in the contract. 

The easiest way to tell if you are eligible for the extra perks if you work on a holiday is by:

Reviewing the Employment Agreement 

It is time to go through the employment agreement you thought you would never read. Read all the information related to wages and other employment policies that define holiday payoffs. Reviewing the agreement may help you determine your right as an employee to receive holiday pay.

Request Information from the HR 

Sometimes employment agreements can be complex to understand, and in such situations, you can contact the human resources department. Do not hesitate, as it’s the duty of the HR representatives to help the employees with such details.

What to Do if Your Employer Has Denied Your Rightful Compensation?

If your contract outlines the wages and benefits you would receive while working on a holiday or time paid off over the holiday, you have several options to choose from:

Talk to the HR 

You can again knock on your HR’s door and ask them to help you out. In some cases, an oversight or simple mistake in the payroll processing procedure can be the cause of the issue. Voicing your concerns regarding the missed payment is usually effective in recovering the compensation and added employment benefits you are entitled to.

In most cases, employers in New York encourage their staff to discuss any and all concerns with HR, making it the first step in order to resolve your holiday pay-related concerns.

File a Complaint with the State 

In New York, the Department of Labor oversees all matters relating to the compensation offered to employees. Filing a complaint with this department prompts an investigation and may help you get the benefits you deserve.

A successful claim can result in a judgment rewarding you with compensation or sanctions against your employer. It is essential to understand that the Department of Labor has the final say in the validity of an employment law claim. So, it is important to file a complaint taking all consequences in mind.

Take a Legal Action 

While filing a lawsuit against your employer might seem like an extreme step, this may be the only strategy to recover the funds you are owed. Suing your employer can be a complex process because of the lack of proper laws in New York that govern time payoff over holidays.

It is essential to hire a legal professional who reviews your employment agreement and helps you decide if taking legal action is worth it. At Levine and Blit, we are a team of expert employment lawyers that understand all state and federal policies around holiday payoffs.

Our lawyers will help you determine if you can stand a case against your employer for denying offering you the benefits you deserve. From sending a legal notice to representing you at the hearing, we take care of everything.

Call us at 866-392-2182 for a free case evaluation and to know more about your case.

3 Common Misconceptions About State and Federal Holiday Labor Laws in New York 

Before you decide to take legal action against the employer, it is essential to know about these four misconceptions about state and federal holiday laws.

  1. Your Employer Can’t Make You Work on Religious and Federal Holidays

The Federal Law – 5 U.S.C. 6103 recognizes public and religious holidays. However, legally, employers are not required to give their staff time off during the federal holidays.

As per laws, the holidays are just another business day, so it so entirely up to the employer whether they want you to work or not.

  1. Your Employer is Required to Offer at Least Some Paid Holidays 

Technically, as per the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers in New York are only required to pay their employees for the time worked. Even if they give you time for federal and religious holidays, they are not legally required to provide any payment or salary benefits for these days.

However, many companies have policies that offer paid-offs to employees during federal and religious holidays. Therefore, the employment agreement requires them to offer this benefit to their employees.

  1. Employers are Required to Pay Overtime If You Work on Holidays 

The law does not require employers in New York to provide any benefits such as overtime for the day off the employees have worked on. Unfortunately, federal holidays don’t have any special designation for overtime pay. In short, working on a federal holiday is considered as working on any regular day.

Think You’ve Been Cheated Out of Employment Pay? Levine and Blit Can Help!

If your employment agreement outlines that you are eligible for time off pay over the holidays, then you are eligible to receive all fringe benefits. Sometimes, employers deny providing such benefits to the workers, and it is a “breach of contract.”

Professional lawyers at Levine and Blit are experts in handling wage and hour disputes. If you think that your employer has cheated on you of employment pay, let us help you receive all benefits owed to you.

From reviewing your employment contract to helping you in taking legal action, we take care of everything, including the paperwork.

Contact us for a free case evaluation, and get our personalized advice you need to pursue favorable resolutions. Call us at 866-392-2182 to schedule a Free Case Evaluation with one of our New York employment law attorneys.

Contact Levine & Blit, PLLC

"*" indicates required fields