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If employees work on a holiday, must we give them a different paid day off? If so, must it be within the same week or in a given period of time?

Generally speaking, employers are free to determine which, if any, paid holidays they will provide to their employees, and the answers to these questions will be a matter of company policy. Some federal contractors, however, may be required to provide specific holiday benefits under the McNamara O'Hara Service Contract Act, the Davis-Bacon Act and related acts. In addition, some employers may also be required to provide specific holiday benefits under state holiday laws (usually public employers only) or a collective bargaining agreement. Employers need to check for any compliance issues specific to their organization to fully understand their options.

When at the discretion of the employer, employers could offer another day off instead of the holiday, or they could give employees a "floating" holiday to use at their convenience. There is no requirement for the replacement day to be in the same workweek, but some employers prefer that for administrative ease. Employers could also choose to not offer a replacement for the paid holiday. The key is how the policy is worded. For example, if a holiday policy states, "All employees will receive six paid holidays per year," with no exceptions listed, then that's what they should get, even if they end up getting it on another day. If the policy instead indicates that "employees working on company-designated holidays will not receive additional paid time off," then no additional holidays are necessary. The latter is generally not that popular with employees, unless, of course, double time or some other incentive is offered instead. In any case, the policy will govern, so it should be clearly worded to show the benefit the employer provides.


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