The last big weekend of the summer is traditionally Labor Day weekend. Many employees may be hoping for one final trip to the beach before the fall arrives. You have approved all of the requests for time off, but you know that if it is especially sunny and warm that weekend, someone on your staff is likely to develop a “last-minute stomach bug.” So do they need to be paid for Labor Day?
Holiday Pay for Non-exempt Employees
Many employers include a specific provision in holiday pay policies that employees must work the scheduled day before and after a holiday in order to be eligible for holiday pay. If the employee is non-exempt and eligible to earn overtime, they don’t need to be paid for the Labor Day off. To avoid any confusion, it is important to have this policy stated in writing and distribute it well in advance of the holiday.
Holiday Pay Policy for Exempt Employees
Establishing a holiday pay policy for exempt employees is a trickier matter, as it may go against the regulations set by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the FLSA, exempt employees must be paid for a full work week when they are ready and able to work, regardless of the number of days or hours. However, there are exceptions such as sick leave, vacation time, and FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). Unfortunately, a holiday is not one of the exceptions.
If an exempt employee reports an extended illness before and after a holiday, the company can certainly pay them for three or more consecutive sick days. However, when an exempt employee calls out sick only for one of the days, they should be paid for the holiday.
Addressing Attendance Issues
If any employee manages to consistently get sick for one day before or after every holiday throughout the year, this pattern should be addressed. This behavior effectively creates their own extended holiday schedule, indicating a potential attendance problem that requires intervention.
The Importance of Clear Policies
To avoid confusion or misunderstandings, it is crucial to ensure that the language in your sick and holiday pay policies is clear and easy to understand. If you, as an employer, have to reread the paragraph multiple times to figure it out, it is likely that your employees will struggle with understanding it as well. Any necessary changes to the policy should be made well in advance of any upcoming holidays to give everyone sufficient notice.
By following these guidelines and having clear policies in place, you can ensure that your employees are aware of the rules regarding holiday pay and minimize any potential conflicts or misunderstandings.
Remember, Labor Day is an important holiday, but it is also important to strike a balance between allowing your employees time to relax and ensuring fair and consistent pay policies for everyone.