Working during the holidays, especially in the service industry or retail, can be particularly frustrating. But it is motivating knowing that you will get a better hourly wage than the rest of the days, if that’s the case. Whether or not you will get this extra pay will depend on the company and for some, they pay time and a half for working holidays. So, does this apply even on Christmas Eve?
Christmas Eve is not time and a half pay for hourly jobs in most cases. Although Christmas Eve is a federal holiday with pay for those not working and double rates for workers, it is not a mandated holiday for private businesses. However, many offer bonuses for holiday pay, so it ‘pays’ to check.
Before you determine whether you will receive the time and a half pay for your hourly job, it is essential to verify whether Christmas Eve is even a holiday. Do not worry since this article covers this and highlights specific holidays where you are likely to get time and a half pay (or something similar).
Is Christmas Eve A Holiday?
As Christmas approaches, you have a lot of things to figure out, and most importantly this includes how you are going to enjoy it. But of course we also worry about working on holidays and how that will affect our time. So is Christmas Eve a holiday, or is the holiday just Christmas Day?
Christmas Eve is a US holiday since 2020. It is considered one of the 11 yearly federal holidays giving government employees two days off for Christmas. For many other businesses and companies, though, especially if you are paid an hourly wage, Christmas Eve is not an automatic holiday off.
There are plenty of Christmas Eve movies putting us in the Christmas mood and certainly evoking it’s ‘a holiday’ vibe. One I really like is One Christmas Eve from Hallmark with actress Anne Heche. I highly recommend you watch it!
According to the executive order signed on December 11, 2020, it considers Christmas Eve a federal holiday in the United States. Thus, OPM now lists December 24th in addition to December 25th as federal holidays, part of the 11 given annually (12 during an Inauguration Year), in honor of Christmas.
Usually though for everyone else, Christmas Eve is still not considered a holiday by most standards. After all, it was just recent when it changed for federal employees. With this new distinction for some, it may be more confusing for other people, wondering if they get the day off especially for hourly workers.
While the order states that all executive departments and agencies should close on this day, giving the employees an extra day off, it doesn’t require non-government agencies to close.
It may be a relief for many to have the day off for sure, but there are still exceptions for some workers on Christmas Eve, requiring them to work. For instance, anyone involved directly in security will probably still have to work.
As well, the order giving Christmas Eve off for most government employees does pressure other businesses to follow suit. Some banks might close for the day, but if not the whole day, then earlier than normal. Also, of course, all schools are already closed for winter/Christmas break. Libraries are usually closed on Christmas Eve, too.
So to answer the question is Christmas Eve a holiday, yes, by definition of having it designated a holiday with executive orders, it is.
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Do you get paid double on Christmas Eve?
When it comes to the pay on this day, it entirely depends on the company.
Most employees do not get paid double for working on Christmas Eve. Moreover, employees only get the nationally mandated ‘time and one-half pay of regular wages’ when they work over 40 hours per week. It is not conditional upon holidays, weekends, or hours worked per day.
Some companies offer bonus pay for working holidays, though.
The federal law also does not stipulate that one should receive overtime pay for working on Christmas Eve or other holidays. Federal law mandates overtime pay of ‘time and one-half’ regular wages for all hours worked over 40 per week.
The overtime pay is for any employee aged 16 and over but the key is that it is only if the employee worked over 40 hours in the week.
It is not a daily rate, so if an employee worked 12 hours in one day but didn’t work over 40 for the week, he or she is not eligible for any overtime pay and that includes working on a holiday.
Is Christmas Eve DAY time and a half?
What about working any time on Christmas Eve? If you work Christmas Eve day, does that entitle you to time and half ‘over time’ pay?
Working Christmas Eve day does not entitle employees to ‘time and a half’ rate. In fact, working on any holiday doesn’t earn an employee time and a half, unless that work is also overtime. Only overtime hours equal time and a half pay by government mandate.
Now, some companies pay employees overtime rates on holidays. This is an incentive for working for a particular company and encourages longevity and worker’s loyalty. However, it is not a federal requirement to pay employees extra on holidays.
What Holidays Do You Get Time And A Half For?
Usually, there are eleven paid holidays for workers in the federal government. Most federal employees, then, have the day off but receive their basic rate as if they were working that day. (Of course, there are some conditions for special cases, like part-time government workers and those not in good standing and so on to consider when factoring in holiday pay.)
Time and a half pay for holidays varies. If concerned about holiday pay, consult the worker’s manual or contract when hired or talk to the company HR representative or supervisor. Federal employees are generally paid double for holiday work, while those not working receive base pay.
For private companies, the pay varies typically, and it depends on the company’s policies regarding working on a holiday. One may get the holiday off with pay or without pay, and for others, you may get extra pay for working on such a day. However it’s also possible to just get paid a normal rate even if you work Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day.
Example: I found that Kroger doesn’t pay time and a half for employees working on holidays but it does pay more than the base rate if they work the holiday. Part-timers get 4 hours bonus if they work that holiday week; whereas employees who work over 30 hours that week will receive a bonus of 6 paid hours extra. But upon further research, it seems Kroger policy can vary from one location to the next!
There is not a federal law that requires companies to pay their employees extra money for working on weekends or holidays. Thus, companies are not mandated to pay employees ‘time and a half wages’ if they work on a holiday. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) just concerns requirements for overtime pay at time and half.
Many companies go beyond the requirement, as stated before, in order to build long-term and loyal employees and pay workers the overtime equivalent of ‘time and a half’ for holiday hours.
Some federal holidays that you are likely to get the time and a half pay include New Year’s Day; Thanksgiving Day; and Christmas Day. Other potential holidays that might include time and a half pay are Labor Day; Veterans Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; and Memorial Day. Other than these federal days, some companies pay workers time and a half for Good Friday; Christmas Eve; New Year’s Eve; Easter; and even the Friday after Thanksgiving, which happens to be state holiday in Tennessee.
Therefore, to be certain of your holiday pay situation, you really need to check directly with those in charge at your place of employment. Then you can determine whether or not to count on that bonus!
Do You Have to Work the Day Before and After to Get Holiday Pay?
To get your holiday pay, you need to adhere to the “last and first” rule. However, this rule may vary depending on the company. But in most cases, the majority of them tend to apply it.
Most employers require that one work the day before and after the holiday for one to receive the payment. Such mainly applies to non-exempt employees, but for the exempt ones, they will receive their full salary after they perform their work just as they usually do. Usually, companies may not apply this rule if the employee was to go for the time off work earlier before the holiday begins.
According to this rule, the employee needs to attend work on a regular day before the holiday. Also, they will do the same for the day after the holiday to guarantee full holiday pay. But if one has a reasonable reason for not working, they may be exempt from this rule, including when they are sick.
To get the time and half rate will depend on your work schedule and whether you are an exempt or non-exempt employee. Usually not all holidays one can get the time and a half pay. If you are to get it, the entity calculates typically depending on the number of extra hours you work during that week.
Jobs Where You Should Expect to Work Holidays
- Hospitals (now if you work at Medical offices, you’re likely to be off, but you may be ‘on call’ for emergencies)
- Fire Dept/Police (until you earn seniority hours, you’re likely required to work as a fire/police employee)
- Gas stations (most gas stations are open everyday)
- Military (many service people have the day off but I know from experience of my oldest son that often they work holiday, especially if they are ‘essential’)
- Airline workers (from working at airports to being a flight attendant, you might not work every holiday but at some point, your time will come where you will work on a holiday)
Wrapping Up Christmas Eve Time And A Half For Hourly Jobs
To wrap it all up, just know that Christmas Eve ‘time and a half’ pay for hourly workers is not mandated in most instances. However, many companies will offer some sort of bonus for working holidays to keep employees loyal and satisifed.
Federal workers received their base rate even though most aren’t working Christmas Eve. Those who work on the holiday will receive their base rate and usually a bonus of the same pay. As always, there are exceptions so look into that closely if you could be affected.
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