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How does California's employment law address holidays?

For many Californians, there are certain holidays that they hold near and dear. These individuals may find themselves wanting to spend time with their families during these times, but that desire can be complicated by an employer who asks an employee to work. Some may think that they have certain legal protections when it comes to holiday work, yet many may find the truth surprising.

Under California law, an employer has no obligation to treat holidays any differently than any other day. This means that an employer is not required to close business on any holiday, pay employees for holidays off, or even approve a request by an employee to have a certain holiday off. Additionally, there is nothing in the law that mandates that an employer pay a premium for time worked on a holiday. Although some may receive time-and-a-half pay for working on these days, that increased pay is at the employer's discretion.

This can get confusing, particularly if a holiday off results in a changed schedule for an individual. For example, an individual who is given a holiday off may then be asked to work the next eight days. Assuming that the employee works eight hours on each of those days, it may seem that overtime was earned. However, depending on which days the work landed on and how those days relate to the workweek, overtime may not be owed.

Employment law, including wage and hour laws, can be incredibly complex. However, this difficulty should not deter individuals from seeking legal action if they believe that they have been wronged by their employer. Those who feel they have been taken advantage of by their employer may want to discuss their circumstances with a legal professional who can help them assess their legal options.

Source: State of California Department of Industrial Relations, "Holidays," accessed on Jun. 3, 2017

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