Pay Before and After the Holiday

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We currently have a PTO program.  If you have a similar program, do you know whether or not a policy can be instituted stating you must work before or after the holiday to be paid???  I heard that since PTO programs do not have “true” holidays, you can not have that type of policy.  However, if that’s the case, I wonder if I can “get around it” by actually stating the dates – i.e., “You will not be paid if you are scheduled but call out on the following dates:  November 25, November 27, December 24, December 26, etc.”??




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  • Usually employers require employees to work the day before and the day after a holiday to receive holiday pay to reduce/eliminate people calling in sick before or after a holiday.  Most companies allow their employees to use planned vacation or personal time the day before and/or day after a holiday and still provide pay for the holiday.  The key is having a policy in place which details the company's requirements for requesting paid time off and the approval process (first come/first serve or based on seniority).

    If you are trying to require that no one can take PTO the day before or the day after a holiday, there is no law (unless NJ has a regulating statute) stating you cannot do so, but you may have some employee morale issues.

  • Thank you for responding.  My intent is to prevent the abuse of calling out before and after the holiday.  If the day has already been planned or otherwise excused (ex. jury duty), no problem. 
  • If that is the case, then you are fine to incorporate into your current holiday policy that employees must work the day before and the day after the holiday in order to receive pay unless they are using a pre-planned PTO day or have jury duty, bereavement, etc.
  • Our employee handbook lays out the holidays that are paid and requires that the employee works the day before and the day after in order to be paid for that holiday unless they opt to use their paid vacation time or sick leave.

    I've never heard of this being considered "wrong" by any state or federal law.

    Of course, with this economy, we had to institute a furlough for everyone, so we waived the policy until further notice.  (We are having employees take two unpaid days off a month.)

  • I've never heard of it being "wrong" either.  Not sure where that information came from.  Good luck with that.
  • There could be an issue here if the employee is salaried and the employee would not have been required to work on that holiday.

    You can't fail to pay a salaried worker for an absence due to lack of work caused by the employer if such absence is for less than one full calendar week.


    If there's a company closure on Wednesday or a reduced work staff that would include the salaried employee and they take vacation in that week, I don't think you get to charge them vacation time for the holiday.  I don't have timeto do a DOL opinion letter search but I bet this has a lot of opportunity for irritating outcomes.

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