Gift card as payment, paid tax on gift card, but have yet to recieve gift card.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Gift card as payment, paid tax on gift card, but have yet to recieve gift card.

The company I work for, rather then pay holiday pay like 2.5 wage, they pay gift cards for working holidays. They are notorious for taking months to actually distribute the gift cards, even though I have already paid tax from my regular paycheck for the gift cards. Rumor going around is that this is illegal and that since the gift card is considered pay and not fringe benefit that its supposed to be received within the pay period that its being taxed. Is my company doing something illegal?
Thanks -Chase

Asked on January 10, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no law requiring holiday pay: paid holidays or bonus/extra pay on holidays are simply not required by law. If you work on a holiday, you must be paid your normal wage for working that day, but the company does not need to give you anything more or additional. If they do choose to give you something additional, it's actually more of a discretionary or holiday bonus than it is "pay" per se: it is voluntary for the employer; can take any form they like (including gift cards); and, just like with any bonus not guaranteed by contract, can be paid whenever they want to pay  it, if they want to pay it. So as long as you are getting your base wage for working on a holiday, that's all you are legally entitled to (and that wage, must be paid with the next payroll); anything over and above it, you are lucky if the employer chooses to give you more and have to accept it when and in the form they choose to provide it.

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