What can I do if my employer refuses to pay me for a holiday even though I have been paid for every single holiday in the past up to this point?

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What can I do if my employer refuses to pay me for a holiday even though I have been paid for every single holiday in the past up to this point?

Everyone else was paid for this holiday except for me because my employer states only salary based employees are entitled to receive holiday pay. I am a full-time employee with this company and the company handbook states all full-time employees who work 40 hours a week are entitled to holiday pay. It does not state anything about salaried employees only receiving holiday pay.

Asked on July 20, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Leaving aside the company handbook for a moment, as a general matter, employers are not required to pay for holidays; do not have to treat all employees the same; and can treat salaried and hourly employees differently vis-a-vis pay and benefits, including holidays. So without regard to the handbook, this would appear to be legal.

The handbook *may* create enforceable rights in your favor to receive holiday pay; it depends on exactly what the handbook says and whether it contains any "disclaimers" limiting its effect, such as "all employment is employment at will, and nothing in this Handbook shall be taken to create any contract of employment or enforceable rights." (If it does contain any such dislaimers or limitations, they are legal.)

However, even if the Handbook does give you an enforceable right to holiday pay, you can't really vindicate that right: if your employer will not voluntarily pay you for the holiday, the only way to get the money would be to sue your employer in court, and it is unlikely that it is worthhile, either econonically (in terms of cost and time of lawsuit vs. the money you hope to get) or otherwise (e.g in terms of damaging the employer/employee relationship) to sue your employer over this.

And note: employers may change all policies not contained in actual written employmet contracts at will, so the fact that you were paid for holidays in the past does not mean they have to continue paying you.


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