Effect of Mid-Week Holidays on Wage-Hour and FMLA

Independence Day falling mid-week this year prompted questions on the effect of mid-week holidays on wage-hour and Family and Medical Leave Act issues.

Contrary to what some might think, federal wage-hour law does not require private employers to give employees holidays off. Whether and which holidays are granted is determined by the employer’s policy. If holiday time is granted, the law does not require employers to pay nonexempt employees for that time or include any holiday hours in the calculation of overtime. Nonexempt employees required to work on holidays are not automatically due premium pay such as overtime or double time, unless normal federal requirements for overtime are met or a state law requires it. Federal law does, however, prohibit employers from docking exempt employees’ salaries for holidays unless the employer shuts down for a full workweek and exempt employees perform no work during that time. 

For employees taking FMLA in full workweeks, the holiday has no effect and that day is counted against the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement. If, however, the employer shuts down for the entire holiday week that time is not counted against the employee’s leave. Holidays also do not count against employees taking intermittent FMLA leave unless they were otherwise scheduled and expected to work on the holiday. And, if an employer closes early on a holiday, only the hours the employee actually would have worked that day should be counted toward his or her leave.