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Holidays, Paid Holidays and Holiday Pay

List of Holidays

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CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 04: The American National Flag is used as the pin flag on the 17th hole during the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club on May 4, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

The Federal Government provides employees with ten paid holidays each year. Private sector employers may provide holidays off or holiday pay for working on a holiday, but they are not required to pay you extra for time worked on a holiday or to give you the day off from work.

If the company doesn't explain their holiday policy during an interview, when you get a job offer ask what the company policy is on holidays so you know your holiday benefits before you accept the job, rather than after the fact.

List of Federal Holidays

  • New Year's Day
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Washington's Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (4th of July)
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

In addition, Inauguration Day is a paid federal holiday every four years. It is celebrated on January 20th or the 21st if the 20th is a Sunday.

Federal Holidays

Federal law establishes these public holidays for Federal employees. When a holiday falls on a weekend the holiday usually is observed on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).

Private Sector Holidays

Private companies are not required to close for holidays. In addition, if the company closes for a holiday they are not required to pay workers holiday pay for the the day or to pay overtime or holiday pay for working on a holiday. However, companies may have policies that provide for holiday pay or paid time off. Check with the Human Resources department for a list of paid (or unpaid) holidays at your company.

The reason that holiday pay and time off isn't mandated is because the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for time not worked, such as vacations or holidays. Holiday benefits are generally an arrangement between an employer and an employee, as part of company policy, or the company and the employee's representative i.e. a union or other collective bargaining it.

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