Do Employers Have to Provide Paid Holidays to Their Employees in the USA?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as holidays or vacations (federal or otherwise). These benefits are generally a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). There is no federal law that requires employers to give paid vacation to their workers, but many choose to do so. However, private companies that offer paid holidays may still require that some employees work during the holidays.

This is especially true in industries that serve customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All businesses that open their doors on state or federal holidays must closely follow vacation pay laws. Specifically, federal law doesn't require employers to pay their employees additional compensation (i.e., the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) only requires employers to pay for time worked; employers don't need to pay employees for holidays when employees may not have to work). For example, if an employee has the day off on Christmas Day, which is a federal holiday, the employee has no right to pay that day.

However, with that said, many employers often offer vacations to all employees and pay for that time off. Employers must indicate in the employment contract what vacation employees will have and whether they will be paid for that time off. In addition, employers must indicate whether additional compensation will be provided to those who work while on vacation. No federal or state law requires employers to pay employees on holidays, except, of course, if the employee actually works that holiday.

In other words, if an employer closes for a holiday and employees don't work that day, then employees have no legal right to be paid for it. However, that changes when an employee actually works on a holiday, such as Independence Day. Then, the employer must pay the employee for the time worked. There are also two states, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, that have special vacation pay laws that employers will want to consider.

Massachusetts Blue Laws determine which businesses can legally operate on state statutory holidays (and Sundays) and whether employers must pay premiums to employees. In practice, most private sector employers in the United States give their employees the day off for national holidays or pay them time and a half to work that day. Consult an attorney who specializes in labor and employment issues who can help you understand what you are entitled to under the law and your employer's policies. Employers may also be required to pay employees for vacation pay if the employer has a policy, practice, or contractual agreement to pay employees vacation pay as a benefit of employment.

Arizona law does not require vacation pay; however, private employers can provide it as part of their benefits package. Specifically, federal law doesn't require employers to pay their employees additional compensation (that is, there are several paid holidays that are the most common), but they can differ from employer to employer. Private employers are not required by law to pay for vacation in Tennessee, but they can choose to do so if they want to include it as part of their benefits package. While it is generally common for employers to provide benefits, the United States has no federal law requiring private companies to offer vacation pay.

Cornelius Maxon
Cornelius Maxon

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