A Refresher on Holiday Pay

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By on November 14, 2017 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments

Close up of a pay slip labeled 'John Smith' and 'pay advice'

We are quickly approaching the holiday season, and I’ve already had several questions about how holidays affect Federal employees.  So here is a quick summary of the important points regarding holidays.

First, an employee who does not work on a day she or he is scheduled to work because of a holiday is entitled to his or her regular pay for that day.  That includes those who work traditional 8 hour days and flexible schedules as well as those who work compressed schedules.

Second, an employee who does work on a regularly scheduled day that is a holiday is entitled to no more than 8 hours of holiday pay unless the employee works on a compressed work schedule.  Then the employee is entitled to holiday pay for all of the regularly scheduled compressed hours worked on the holiday.

Third, an employee who works outside of his or her regularly scheduled hours on a holiday is entitled to overtime pay for those hours, not holiday pay.

Fourth, for those who are concerned about in lieu of days, that is a day off other than the day on which a holiday falls, there are three pieces of guidance: 5 C.F.R. §§ 610.201-610.202, 5 U.S.C. § 6103, and E.O. 11582.

What these basically say is: for an employee who works Monday-Friday, when a holiday falls on a Saturday, the day before is celebrated as the holiday for the employee; when a holiday falls on a Sunday, the day after is celebrated as the holiday.

The same basic rule applies to an employee who works something other than a Monday-Friday workweek.  That is when the holiday falls on the employee’s first regular day off, the holiday is celebrated on the day before. And when the holiday falls on the employee’s second regular day off, the holiday is celebrated on the day after.

For example, an employee who works a Tuesday-Saturday workweek, and a holiday falls on Sunday, then the in lieu of day for this employee is Saturday.  For the same Tuesday-Saturday employee, when a holiday falls on Monday, then the in lieu of day is Tuesday.

When an agency finds that the in lieu of day found by following this guidance causes adverse agency impact, the manager may designate a different in lieu of day for fulltime employees who are working under compressed work schedules.

Hope this helps to clarify the rules.  Have a happy holiday season!

Wayne Coleman is a federal pay expert available to help your agency avoid premium pay claims through on-site training. Contact him for more information.

© 2019 Wayne Coleman. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Wayne Coleman.

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About the Author

Wayne Coleman is a compensation consultant whose career at various Federal agencies and in private practice spans almost 40 years. During this time he has written about and provided training on overtime and premium pay, on the principles of FLSA coverage and exemption, and on related Federal compensation issues. Wayne is available to help your agency avoid premium pay claims through consulting services and training. You can contact him at [email protected].

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