HR Management & Compliance

Ask the Expert: Must These Fired Employees Receive Holiday Pay?

I have a question on holiday pay.  A non-exempt employee called out the Friday before Memorial Day. Because of other issues, he was told not to come in the Tuesday after Memorial Day. That Tuesday, we came to a mutual decision to end employment. Should he be paid for Memorial Day?

Another employee called out the day after Memorial Day. That day, we came to a mutual decision with him as well to end employment. Should he be paid for Memorial Day?

As a general rule, employers are not required to provide employees with paid time off for holidays. Most employers, however, do have policies or practices that establish certain paid holidays. In some cases, there is a written policy that says an employee will not be paid for a holiday if he or she calls out sick or takes unscheduled time off the workday before or immediately after a holiday. If the company has such a written policy, the two employees may not be eligible for pay for Memorial Day.

You will also want to consider whether the company has in other situations paid employees who have called out the day before or after a holiday. If the two employees referenced in your question are singled out for different treatment, denying them the holiday pay could result in claims of unfair treatment or discrimination, and claims for unpaid wages.

It might be helpful to consult with local employment counsel who can review the holiday policy, and the facts and circumstances of these particular situations, and provide legal advice.

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