Skip to content

Are CA Employers Required to Give Holidays Off?

With the holidays quickly approaching, many California employees may be wondering if their employers have to pay them for the time they are given off of work. Not surprisingly, the answer is: it depends.

Like many other states, California employers are not required to pay their workers holiday pay when they close for business on official holidays. And working on a holiday does not guarantee overtime or additional compensation, though some employer’s do have a policy to pay extra rates such as time-and-a-half. If an employee does work on a holiday, California law only requires that an employer pay an employee their usual rate of pay. The law does not require that an employer pay you any additional pay if you work on the day of a holiday unless it is part of their common practice or if you have worked in excess of a 40 hour, 8 hour per day work week. What’s more, Saturdays and Sunday are paid at the same rate as hours worked during a weekday.

Does your employer have to give you a holiday off?

Absent a religious exception, your California employer does not have to give you time off for a holiday. Failure to acknowledge your reasonably held religious beliefs could land your employer in legal hot water. Learn more about common types of holiday religious discrimination here. Furthermore, a business does not have to close for business on any holiday.

What holidays does California observe?

California observes the official federal holidays: Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays, and Cesar Chavez Day. This does not mean your employer will give you these days off. At the most basic level, there is no federal law requiring private employers to give their employees holidays, even federal holidays, as paid time off.

Even though California employers are not required to give you certain days such as holidays off work, there are certain exceptions, such as with a religious accommodation. If you feel that your employer is not respecting your religious beliefs and/or not paying you the wages you deserve, contact experienced Orange County employment lawyer James Hardin today.