Holidays Handbook Statement: California

Author: Amy E. Mendenhall, Marissa L. Dragoo, Corinn Jackson, and Judith A. Paulson, Littler

When to Include This Statement

California private employers are not required to give employees time off for national or state holidays, but many employers do. Employers should consider including this statement in their handbook to communicate to employees which holidays are observed and the circumstances under which employees will receive holiday pay. Doing so will result in fewer workplace disruptions and employee inquiries.

Customizable Handbook Statement


The Company offers paid time off for the observance of specific holidays each calendar year. Typically, the Company observes the following paid holidays: [insert holidays such as New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas]. If a holiday falls on a weekend day, the Company usually observes the holiday on the preceding Friday or the following Monday. Holiday observance will typically be announced in advance.

[OPTIONAL: To be eligible for holiday pay, employees must be regularly scheduled to work on the day on which the holiday falls.]

[OPTIONAL: If you are required to work on a designated holiday, you will receive [insert terms].]

[OPTIONAL: The Company does not pay a premium for work performed on a holiday, except for an overtime premium for work performed in excess of eight hours in a workday or 40 hours in a workweek.]

Holiday pay for nonexempt employees is calculated based on the employee's straight time pay rate (as of the date of the holiday) multiplied by the number of hours the employee would have otherwise worked on that day. Holiday pay is not counted for the purpose of calculating an employee's overtime hours of work or overtime premiums.

Employees who are on a continuous leave of absence are not eligible to receive holiday pay.

[OPTIONAL: Temporary workers and new hires who have not completed 90 days of employment are not eligible for holiday pay.]

Guidance for Employers

  • Providing paid time off for holidays can help employers attract valuable employees, improve productivity by allowing for periods of rest and maintain employee satisfaction.
  • Many private employers observe at least six federal holidays by closing their places of business on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Other employers that must remain open on some or all of those holidays sometimes acknowledge holidays by paying holiday premium pay to those scheduled to work on a designated holiday.
  • Determine whether the holiday will be paid or unpaid. An employer is not required to pay employees for time off for holidays.
  • Determine whether a premium will be paid to a nonexempt employee who works on a holiday.
  • A company is not required to pay a holiday premium, but if a company does, it is good practice to indicate the premium to be paid in the policy, e.g., one and one-half the employee's regular rate of pay or double time.
  • If the company does not pay a premium to a nonexempt employee who works on a holiday, it is good practice to indicate this in the policy.
  • Consider the specific needs of the business (e.g., hospitals and medical facilities will have different needs and restraints than manufacturing facilities or offices).
  • When selecting which holidays will be designated as company holidays, take federal, state and local government holiday schedules into account. Also, consider the impact of local school schedules and closings, as well as industry practice.
  • Some employers have concerns regarding sick leave abuse around the time of company holidays. Employers can adopt provisions in the policy statement to address this concern, such as reserving the right to require documentation for absences for illness or injury on or just before or after a holiday. Another option is to indicate that an employee must be present on the scheduled workday before and the scheduled workday after a holiday to be eligible for holiday pay, unless absent for a preapproved vacation day.
  • Some employers, particularly in a corporate or office environment, may find it beneficial to close early on the day prior to a scheduled holiday. Employees may be less productive on days surrounding certain holidays, so closing two or three hours early can help strike a balance between business needs and employee satisfaction.
  • California law does not require that an employer provide its employees with paid holidays, that it close its business on any holiday or that employees be given the day off for any particular holiday.
  • Be aware that other states may require holiday premium pay or the right to take time off on certain holidays. For questions concerning compliance with state or federal law regarding holidays and holiday premium pay, consult legal counsel .