Holiday Pay Requirements in Arizona (AZ)

Arizona does not have its own law on the books concerning holiday pay for its workers. Whether or not employers pay employees holiday pay is solely at the employer’s discretion and enforcement is provided by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). They do, however, have to comply with the federal laws determined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), instituted in 1938, established a national minimum wage for employees, guaranteed time and a half for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors. The FLSA does not require payment for time the employee does not work, including vacations and holidays. Holiday pay is generally agreed upon between the employer and the employee. There are exceptions for some salaried employees working in executive, administrative, professional and administrative positions as well as certain employees in computer-related positions. These employees must meet certain standards as well as being paid on a salaried basis at not less than $455 per week. An employee’s specific duties and salary must meet all the federal requirements in order to be exempt from the overtime rules including holiday pay.

The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) was created in 1925 in response to the establishment of a workers’ compensation system. Over the years, the ICA’s duties have expanded to include such issues as occupational safety, health, compliance responsibilities for youth employment laws, wage dispute resolution, injured workers issues, and workers’ compensation. Funded by an annual tax on workers’ compensation premiums, the ICA is overseen by a commission appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Arizona State Senate. Their goal is to enforce all applicable laws and regulations regarding “the protection of life, health, safety and welfare of employees within the state.”

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20 Thoughts on “Holiday Pay Requirements in Arizona (AZ)”

kandis

November 23, 2008 at 5:45 pm

I work in Arizona for a company that is based in Tennessee. Can you tell me if anyone in the company gets holiday pay, that we in Arizona would also be owed holiday pay?

Amelia

November 23, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Hi Kandis! No, we can’t tell you that, because it’s not true. There is no state or federal law that employers must provide holiday pay. An employer can legally offer some benefits to employees in one location, and not to employees in another location. Or offer some benefits to employees with one job, and not to employees in another job.

If the employee offered holiday pay to Caucasian employees, and not to African American employees, that would be discrimination based on race or color. But if the employer offers holiday pay to all workers at the home office in Tennessee, but not to factory workers in Arizona, that’s not illegal.

You can also post your question on our sister site at http://www.laborlawtalk.com, for more info. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Hope

May 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

Message: I am a nurse and in the healthcare field we qualify for night and weekend differential. However, the corporation I am currently with only pays the highest of the two differentials. Example: If an RN comes in on night shift on a weekend and this is an extra overtime shift she is not paid any differential because the overtime rate of 1.5 wage is the highest of these. Also because our shifts are 11.5 hours long we work 3 one week and 4 the next, however if the 4th shift falls on the weekend we recieve no weekend differencial because the OT rate is higher and we are now over 40 hours. The hospital observes all federal holidays as we were previously a government facility. Most staff are paid holiday pay for the number of hours they would work staff on 8 hr days get 8hr, 10 hr days get 10hr and RNs should get 11.5, but if the holiday falls at the end of the 4day week we are paid only 5.5 hours of holiday(2X) and 6 hours of OT(1.5X). Are these practices within the law? Thanks for your input.

Amelia

May 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

Hi Hope! Yes, these practices are all lawful. In fact, they are generous. There is no law that any employer has to pay a shift differential — ever. Nor is there any law that an employer must provide paid holidays — ever. So the employer is providing much more than the law requires.
Under federal law, the employer must pay overtime at 1.5 times the employees average rate, when the employee works more than 40 hours per week. However, there is never any requirement for holiday pay to include overtime. 99.9% of employers pay holiday time only at the regular rate — and this is perfectly legal.
Having said all that, RNs are in very high demand and it is possible that you can find a job that will offer even better benefits than you enjoy at this one. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

angie

June 8, 2009 at 3:34 pm

If our office is open on Saturdays. We have employees that work m-f shifts.
and some on work on saturdays. If a holiday lands on a Saturday do we pay that holiday pay and do we give a day off for the weekday employees.

Amelia

June 8, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Hi angie! Many employers are asking this question because July 4 falls on a Saturday this year. The short answer is that you don’t “have” to do anything. There is no federal or Arizona law that requires employers to give paid holidays. When an employer chooses to give paid holidays, it is in accordance with company policy.

Having said that, the best practice would be to give employees one day off with pay during that payroll week as their “holiday”. Employees who usually work on Friday would receive Friday off with pay for the holiday. Employees who usually work on Saturday might be off, or might receive Monday or another day off that week, with pay.

If you normally pay a higher rate to employees who work on the holiday, it would be appropriat to pay the higher rate on Saturday. HTH, and thanks for reading teh blogs!~ Amelia

marisol

June 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Hello, in the place where i work, do not pay us holidays, do not give us a break every 2 hours, every Sunday they pay us like any other day and besides that we do not have any benefit we suffer mistreatment as shouts, is it legal?

Amelia

June 27, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Hi marisol! Unfortunately, yes, everything you list is legal in Arizona. In other states such as California, the employer would be required to give you breaks. No state requires that employees be paid extra on Sunday, have benefits or have paid holidays, although many employers do provide those benefits. Physical abusie of employees is assualt, and is illegal. But shouting and verbal abuse, sadly, are legal. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Angela

July 2, 2009 at 2:53 pm

In our company handbook it states that Independence Day is a recognized/paid holiday. It also states that if a holiday falls on a non-working day (i.e. we are closed Saturday & Sunday), it will follow the best practice policy. Which after asking the office manager she said we would get Friday or Monday off. Well, I work in a volatile work environment and I suppose the owner has been in a bad mood this week and has said that he is not giving us a day off nor will we recieve pay for the holiday. My question is, is this legal? Thank you for your time and consideration to this message. And FYI I live in the commonwealth of Kentucky if that makes any difference.
Sincerely,
Angela

Amelia

July 2, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Hi Anglea! You may have a case if the handbook says that you will be paid for Friday when a holiday falls on Saturday. However, if it just says the employer will follow the “best practice”…well, the owner gets to decide what that is. And it appears that he has decided it’s not paying you.
If the employer does not pay employees, you can certainly take him to small claims court and try to get a day’s pay that way. You do not need an attorney to represent you in small claims court.
Our experience with volatile small business owners is that sometimes they change their minds after cooling off. You might mention this to the office manager to see if she can intercede on the behalf of the employees. And, obviously, when the economy improves, you might consider changing jobs. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Amber

July 3, 2009 at 11:56 am

I work for a company where we get paid Holidays. I work M-F as well as most of the other employees here, however, 2 employees work Saturdays. The owners are planning on just paying those 2 employees and my boss isn’t sure that is legal. Could you help us out? Thanks.

Amelia

July 3, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Hi Amber! This is legal, because holiday pay is a matter of company policy, not labor law.
There is not law that any employer in Arizona or elsewhere must provide paid holidays to employees. If the employer does provide paid holidays, the employer establishes the rules regarding them. The employer can also change those policies when he or she likes. In this case, it appears the employer has the policy of only paying holiday pay to employees who are normally scheduled to work on that day. HTH, and thanks for reading the blgos!~ Caitlin

October 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Well, here I was working along, just doing what I always do, expecting the company I work for to pay me holiday pay, just like every other employer always did, till they decided to not pay me holiday pay. So then I tried to resolve it. So far, I still haven’t been paid holiday pay for having worked on Labor Day. Now I google Arizona Holiday Pay and find this blog that basically tells me that my employer can screw me and there is nothing I can do about it. That’s just great. Now I’m mad, and impotent. Wonderful. So I have to beg them to pay me, on my hands and knees, over broken glass, rusty nails, and cockroaches, in the vain hope that they will actually give me the time and a half that I’m hoping they will give me.

Why the freakin heck is there no law whatsoever about holiday pay? What, working during a holiday is not, in any way, a hardship for anyone? What if I’m missing out on my whole family getting together, something that doesn’t happen often, and that really hurts me emotionally for not being able to be there?

Anyway, guess I’m SOL. Thanks a lot for the info, it was incredibly accurate even if it wasn’t what I was hoping for. :(

Amelia

October 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Hi Aaron! Sorry that we didn’t have better news for you. It sounds like you were hoping to be paid a higher rate for working on the holiday. Unfortunately, there is no federal or Arizona law that requires that (and very few laws nationwide that require it anywhere.)
Just for future reference, HR policies vary a great deal from one employer to another. Within legal limits, employers can set just about any policy they want, including no holiday pay. Sorry. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Diana

November 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Can my employer offer one employee to be paid out for holiday pay in lieu of taking a paid day off, while all others are required to take a paid day off. Maybe there are others who would like to have the extra cash rather than the day off but it was not offered to anyone else.

Amelia

November 23, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Hi Diana! If we understand this correctly, the employer offers a paid day off to employees. Instead of taking a scheduled day off, the employer is offering one employee the option of using that day on a holiday, when she is not regularly scheduled to work.

Most employers have policies that an employee can only use a paid day off on a day when the employee was scheduled to work. It appears that this employer does not have that policy, or chooses not to enforce it.

This is favoritism, but it may not be illegal. Favoritism is when one employee is treated better than others. There are number of situations when favoritism may be lawful. An employer can favor an employee who does an exceptionally good job, or who is a family member, or a close friend. Favoritism is often unfair, and is not a good business practice, but it is legal. That seems to be the case here.

However, if this favoritism affects employees in one protected group more than employees in another protected group, that may be illegal discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against employees based on race, color, religion, sex, national ancestry, disability, age (between 40 and 70) or pregnancy. Suppose Susan’s boss shows favoritism towards her. If Susan is the only Caucasian employee and the other employees are African-American, Susan’s boss may be guilty of illegal discrimination. The same is true if Susan is the only African-American and all of the other employees are Caucasian. If you believe this is an issue, and you bring it up, it might make a difference.

On the other hand, if the employee is working on the holiday, that is a different issue. It is routine for employees who work on a holiday to receive holiday pay, plus pay for the time they work during that payroll week. In some cases, the employee receives an additional day off that week. (The employee may work on Thanksgiving and be off the day before, for example.) In other cases, the employee simply receives additional pay. If this is the case, you should immediately volunteer to work on the holiday (Thanksgiving.) If the employer needs only one person per holiday, you should immediately volunteer to work on Christmas or New Year’s Day. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Bob

September 23, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Message
I am a salaried manager at my job. Our Company does pay for holidays however it is minimum wage paid for 8 hours that day same as vacation. Since I am salaried, 750.00 weekly, is it legal for my employer to also pay me hourly minimum which is much lower than my weekly salary pay, 40 hours @ $8.00 a hour?

Amelia

September 24, 2010 at 7:00 am

Hi Bob! If you are an exempt employee, it would not be legal for the employer to pay you minimum wage for holidays, but probably is legal for the employer to pay you minimum wage for vacations. The relevant statute is the federal FLSA, the Fair Labor Standards Act. That law specifies which salaried employees can be exempt from overtime. In order to qualify as exempt, the employee must be paid the same salary every week “regardless of the quantity or quality of work performed.” This means that if you work 4 days one week and one day is a holiday, you are still entitled to your entire salary for the week.

However, different rules apply if you work no hours at all during one payroll week. In that case, the employer could legally pay the exempt employee nothing– even if it is the employer’s decision for no work to be done.

There is no law that an employer must offer paid vacations to workers. If the employer does offer paid vacations, the employer sets the policies surrounding them. So yes, if you do no work at all for one payroll week of “vacation” the employer can elect to pay you only the minimum wage that week. This is unusual, and not the best practice, but it is legal.

Some smaller Arizona employers are not covered by the federal FLSA. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Amelia

nina

December 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Message
HI can an employer not pay you for holiday pay because you quit a week after..Even though in the employee handbook it states you get holiday pay after 90 days and as long as you dont call out the day before or after?

Arizona

Amelia

December 3, 2010 at 7:51 am

Hi nina! This is a tough situation and you have our sympathy. No, this is not fair — if the employer has a stated policy of paid holidays, the employer should honor it. Unfortunately, it may be hard for you to collect because this is a benefit, rather than wages.

First, contact the Industrial Commission of Arizona. File a wage claim at http://www.ica.state.az.us/Labor/Labor_WagClm_FAQs_Wage_Claims.aspx and see if they can help you collect. If not, you may have to take the employer to small claims court (where no attorney is required) to collect your money. Another alternative might be to file a discrimination complaint with the federal EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov, if the company pays this benefit to workers of another race, color, sex, etc. That’s a long shot, but it may work.

In this case, since you are no longer with the company, merely telling them you intend to file complaints with the Industrial Commission of Arizona and the EEOC if you are not paid by the next regular payday, may result in you being paid. You have very little to lose by using this tactic. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

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