Sometimes the holidays are filled with holiday cheer, but then other times they are filled with the gnawing anxiety over empty pockets. This is a common issue and thankfully, a lot of stores have seasonal work that allows the opportunity to make some money heading into and during the holiday season. The one thing about seasonal work that it’s important to point out is that the FLSA still applies, and any work performed is still required to be compensated.
Under the FLSA, private sector employers are not required to provide paid holidays or premium pay for working on holidays. The FLSA does not mandate specific holidays that employers must observe, and it does not require the payment of additional wages for working on holidays, unless such work results in the employee working more than 40 hours in a workweek. This applies only for the FLSA, employees that are eligible for things like religious accommodations may have different rules that apply to their situations. Below the quick cheat sheet on the FLSA during the holidays is split up into rules that apply to non-exempt employees (people who are eligible for overtime pay) and employees who are exempt (people not eligible for overtime pay in general).
Here are some key points regarding holiday pay under the FLSA:
Regular Pay for Holidays (Non-Exempt Employees):
The FLSA does not require employers to pay employees extra or premium pay for working on holidays, unless the time worked on a holiday causes the employee to exceed 40 hours in a workweek. In such cases, the additional hours worked over 40 in the workweek may be subject to overtime pay if you are an employee that is classified as non-exempt. For exempt employees, there is no change in the pay structure.
Overtime Pay for Holiday Work (Non-Exempt Employees):
If an employee works on a holiday and the total hours worked in the workweek exceed 40, the employer must pay overtime for those hours like normal. Overtime pay is calculated at a rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly rate for each hour worked beyond 40 in a workweek, which means that it is imperative during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to keep track of all the hours you are working. While employers are required to maintain accurate records of hours worked by non-exempt employees, including any overtime hours, it is always best to make sure you are also tracking the hours just in case there is a discrepancy.
Unfortunately, exempt employees are still ineligible for holiday pay or extra pay outside of any private incentive your employer may extend. To be clear, exempt employees, like those classified as salaried, in general will still receive their full salary for any week in which they perform work, regardless of the number of hours worked. It all comes down to the company policy and things like whether you are utilizing PTO.
Contractual Agreements (Exempt and Non-Exempt Employees):
Like with most things in employment law, the FLSA provides a floor, but employers can choose to offer more incentives than the FLSA requires. For example, employers may choose to provide holiday pay as part of their employment contracts, collective bargaining agreements, or company policies like in an employee handbook. It would be beneficial for any employee to review the documents associated, especially the employee handbook, with their employment to double-check whether any policies apply to them.
State and Local Regulations:
Similar to company policies adding extra incentives on top of the ones the FLSA demands, state and local laws may have additional requirements regarding holiday pay—unfortunately, Texas is not one of those states.
In summary, seasonal work is an excellent way to get some extra present-buying or traveling money, but it is imperative to remember that the FLSA still applies. If you think that there has been a mistake in calculating overtime pay or hours that you worked during the holiday season, do not hesitate to contact our office to speak with an attorney.