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SHRM's knowledge advisors answer common HR questions.
If employees work on a holiday, must the company give them another day off?
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t require employers to
provide additional pay or another day off to employees who work on a
However, some federal contractors may be required to do so under the
McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act and the Davis-Bacon Act and related
acts, which apply to construction contractors. Some employers also may
be obligated to provide holiday benefits under state law or collective
bargaining agreements. If not, holiday benefits may be provided at the
To encourage employees to work on a holiday, many employers pay
nonexempt employees one and a half times their regular rate of pay for
holiday hours worked. Exempt employees typically have a guaranteed
salary regardless of the number of days or hours worked. However, an
employer may provide them with additional compensation for holiday work
without jeopardizing their exempt status.
If an employer elects to provide employees with another paid day off for
working on a holiday, it is up to the employer to decide whether the
day must be taken during the same workweek, pay period, month or
quarter. Consider staffing and administrative issues when making that
decision. Allowing the paid day off to be taken within a longer time
period could result in tracking issues or in employees forgetting to
take the day off and forfeiting it.
Whatever the decision, employers should have clear policies outlining
the conditions of holiday benefits. For example, employers should
address the following questions:
Employers should ensure that policies comply with federal and state
laws, employment contracts, and collective bargaining agreements.
—Amber Clayton, SPHR-CA
What are an employer’s options when an employee resigns while on FMLA leave?
Under Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations, employers are
required to maintain an eligible employee’s coverage under any group
health plan while the employee is on leave. In addition, employees on
FMLA leave are entitled to reinstatement after they complete their
After the employee has submitted a letter of resignation or some other
formal notice of his intent not to return to work, FMLA regulations
state that the employer is no longer required to maintain health
benefits (subject to COBRA requirements) or to reinstate the employee.
The employer’s obligations continue, however, if the employee indicates
that he may be unable to return to work but expresses a continuing
desire to do so.
Employers must take steps to effectively follow the regulatory
provisions of Section 825.311 of the FMLA when an employee goes on
leave. First, the employer’s notice of rights and responsibilities
should clearly advise the employee that periodic reports of his status
and intent to return to work will be required.
The notice should also clearly outline any requirements for the employee
to make health benefits premium payments during the leave. Finally, it
should inform the employee of his potential obligation to pay health
insurance premiums currently paid by the employer if the employee fails
to return to work at the leave’s end.
By including this information in the notice, an employer establishes an
expectation of ongoing communication. This helps ensure that HR receives
timely notice of the employee’s intentions and makes clear the
employer’s intention to pursue the recovery of its share of health plan
premiums paid during any period of unpaid FMLA leave if the employee
doesn’t return to work.
If at any time during the leave the employee advises the employer that
he doesn’t intend to return to work, he should be required to submit a
letter of resignation or other formal documentation before the employer
initiates the termination of employment and benefits.
The majority of employees take FMLA leave intending to return to work,
but plans can change. Required periodic updates can help an employer to
avoid employment gaps and to reduce benefits expenditures when employees
choose not to return.
—Edward Yost, SPHR-CA
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