As the Fourth of July approaches, this year falling on a Saturday, employers may choose to close on the preceding Friday, giving their employees a paid day off in observance of the holiday. Others, however, may proceed as normal, either not offering extra time off for the Fourth of July or remaining open — it’s business as usual.
Ultimately, how employers handle the holiday depends on both their company policy and whether employees are exempt or nonexempt.
California law doesn’t require an employer to:
- Provide employees with paid holidays;
- Close its business on any holiday; or
- Give its employees the day off for any specific holiday. (Note: Accommodation of religious holidays is required in certain circumstances.)
Companies can choose to offer paid holidays and should communicate their holiday policies in their employee handbook, including listing out which paid holidays the company will observe and if you’ll pay for the time. These holidays are the most commonly granted in California:
- January 1 — New Year’s Day
- Presidents’ Day
- Last Monday in May — Memorial Day
- July 4 — Independence Day
- First Monday in September — Labor Day
- Fourth Thursday in November — Thanksgiving Day
- Friday after Thanksgiving
- December 25 — Christmas
If a holiday falls on a day that the employee usually has off, as is the case with Independence Day this year for employees who don’t work on weekends, and it’s your policy to give that holiday as a paid day off, then you may choose to observe the holiday on the closest weekday. For a holiday that falls on a Saturday, such as this Fourth of July, employers whose policy includes the Fourth as a paid holiday could offer Friday, July 3, as paid in observance of the Fourth.
Exempt employees must be paid if they’re ready, willing and able to work but no work is available, such as on a holiday when the company is shut down. Remember, your workplace policies establish vacation, holidays and paid time off requirements — meaning you get to decide whether employees need to submit time off requests in advance and if you can deny the leave if your policy isn’t followed.
CalChamber’s Employee Handbook Creator® can help you easily create an employee handbook containing a holiday and a paid sick leave policy.
CalChamber members can take the Holiday Pay Quiz to test their knowledge about pay for religious holidays, paid holidays and other days off that could be considered a holiday. Not a member? See what CalChamber can do for you.