Employer Holiday Pay Requirements in Florida

The State of Florida has no laws that require an employer to give vacation or holiday leave to their employees, although some employers do provide these benefits as part of their labor costs, as such leave has been known to contribute to employee morale.

Under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are not required to pay their employees for time not worked, including vacations, sick leave or holidays (federal or otherwise). Such payment is optional and between the employer and employee, or the result of some sort of collective bargaining agreement.

In the case of employers who do choose to pay their employees for holidays, most follow the standard that an employee who performs any work during the workweek in which a named holiday occurs is entitled to the holiday benefit, regardless of whether the named holiday falls on a Sunday, another day during the workweek on which the employee is not normally scheduled to work, or on the employee’s day off.

Employers who do pay their employees for holidays can restrict this somewhat, such as stipulating that employees must be employed a certain amount of time before receiving holiday pay, or that employees are required to work the day before or the day after the holiday in order to receive holiday pay.

For employees who did not work during the work week in which a recognized holiday occurs, they usually do not get paid for the holiday, unless the employee is on paid vacation or sick leave. If employers do choose to pay their employees for holidays, they must pay full-time employees a full day’s pay up to 8 hours.

Employers must also follow the pattern of any other consistently scheduled employee, such as pay a worker who normally works 6 hours those 6 hours for the holiday, or an employee who normally works 4 hours those 4 hours for the holiday. Again, this is only if the employer chooses to pay for holidays, which they are not legally required to do.

The Florida laws are all detailed on the Florida Complete Labor Law poster along with all of the most up to date federal laws.

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67 Thoughts on “Employer Holiday Pay Requirements in Florida”

Laura

July 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

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In Florida – are there any laws to having an employee work 7 days a week?

Amelia

July 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Hi Laura! No, there are no Florida laws that would make it illegal for an employer to schedule an employee 7 days per week. Several states, including Illinois, have what are called “one day rest in seven” laws, that require an employer to give the employee at least one day per week off. Florida does not. An employer can schedule a worker 365 days per year in Florida, and it is entirely legal. The employer does have to pay overtime when an hourly employee works more than 40 hours per week. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Dee

December 22, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Hi Amelia, I was looking for any sort of laws regarding holiday pay and came accross your blog. I live in Florida and my employer pays us 7 holidays per year. This year two of those holidays are on saturday (Christmas & New years)on which we are already not scheduled to work (Our schedule is monday through friday 9-6). My question is, can they just say that we’re off on the saturday and not pay us for that day or give us a different day off on which we are scheduled to work.

Amelia

December 23, 2010 at 6:58 am

Hi Dee! Yes, the employer can just say that since you are off on Saturday anyway, you will not be paid for Christmas and New Year’s this year. In Florida, as in most states, there is no law that an employer must offer paid holidays. If the employer does offer paid holidays, the employer sets the policies regarding them. Some employers do have the policy of offering paid holidays only when they fall on a work day. Most employers will give workers Friday off with pay this year, but the way your employer is handling it is also legal. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

Barbara

January 2, 2011 at 7:14 am

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Hey Amelia, is this blog still going? I have a sister in Florida who has found her holiday pay, conditions of service etc. being changed without notice. If her contract of employment says she should get holiday / sick pay etc. can she sue under contract law to enforce those rights? Do you have employment tribunals or a small claims court service for this?

Amelia

January 2, 2011 at 8:34 am

Hi Barbara! Yes, we still answer questions from readers every day!

Most Florida employees do not have an actual contract of employment. They have an offer letter and/or an employee handbook. Employment contracts are common only in the state of California. If your sister genuinely has an employment contract, she should consult an attorney who specializes in employment law.

The offer letter or handbook states the company policies in effect at the time the employee was hired. However, the employer can unilaterally change those policies at any time. This is completely legal in Florida and most other states. (A few states require that the employee be notified in writing a week or two in advance when policies will change, but not Florida. Federal law requires that employees be notified in advance when wages change.)

There is no law that any Florida employer must offer paid holidays. If the employer does offer paid holidays, the employer establishes the policies surrounding them and can change them at any time.

For example, an employer that offered 5 holidays per year could suddenly decide to only offer 3 paid holidays (or no paid holidays) this year. As long as the new policy is enforced fairly for all employees, it is legal. (If the employer offered some employees 5 paid holidays and others 3 paid holidays based on sex, race, color, religion, disability, pregnancy, etc. that would be illegal discrimination.)

All of this is also true of sick pay. There is no federal or Florida law that an employer must offer paid sick leave. If the employer does offer paid sick leave, the employer can change it at any time. The policy must not be enforced in a way that discriminates against protected groups (i.e. race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, etc.) If your sister is a salaried exempt employee, there are certain federal requirements as far as payment for sick leave. If that is the case, post another question.

In most states, as in Florida, the employer can even change wages, hours and working conditions at any time. If wages are changed, the employer must tell the employee before the work is performed, under federal law, but that is the only stipulation in Florida.

We suspect that what has happened in this case is the employer has decided not to pay employees for holidays that fall on a day when the employee would normally be off (like Saturday or Sunday.) This is entirely legal in the U.S. It does not even represent a change in policy — it may have been the employer’s policy all along. However, even if it is a change in policy, that is legal.

We notice that your email address is in the U.K. Employment laws in the U.S. are a lot less pro-employee. Generally the courts assume that if employees do not like the new working conditions unilaterally imposed by the employer, they will quit and find another job. (We don’t necessarily agree with that philosophy, but it prevails.) Employee rights vary a great deal from one state to another in the U.S., with Florida offering far less protection than most other states.

There is no tribunal that will make the employer behave in an ethical way. Most states have a state department of labor that enforces wage payment laws and other state employment laws. Florida does not. The employee can take an employer to small claims court, but they do not have a good record of forcing employers to pay promised benefits, even when benefits like vacation pay are clearly owed. (They have a better record in forcing employers to pay past due wages for hours worked.) Federal agencies enforce federal employment laws, but there are no federal laws regarding paid holidays.

This is a complex issue, so feel free to post additional quesitons. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Viv

February 6, 2011 at 9:43 am

Hi, my employer just updated the employee handbook and there are outrageous “rules and regulations.”

1. My first question is it legal in Florida that my employer can prohibit me from speaking another language during any of my breaks including lunch and on company grounds?

2. My employer states that we are provided 10 unpaid personal/sick time off for the year and if “we take 11 days off for the year, we will only be eligible for 5 paid holidays rather then 6 paid holidays”? How can they take my paid holiday out if I go over a “Personal Time off” and I do not get paid for it?

3. My employer states throughout the handbook that everything is grounds for termination if we do not do what is told by them because we are “at-will” and that includes gum chewing!

4. My last question is can my employer require a doctors note from us each and everytime we are sick? They state that if we are sent home that we are required to bring in a doctor’s note, what if we can’t afford one (dr visit) or its just a common cold that takes time to go away? There are many people that work but basically live paycheck to paycheck. I thought that a doctors note is required after 3 days of missed work.

5. Can they also fire me if I refuse to sign the handbook because I am confuse with what is said on the book? Please help! I have a meeting to discuss the handbook on Monday and I would like to make sure that these ridiculous rules are illegal. Thank you!!

Amelia

February 6, 2011 at 11:13 am

Hi Viv! We agree that many of these policies are harsh, possibly too harsh, but with one exception they are all legal. Your post raises several questions so we have numbered them for easy reference.

1. This is the only rule that is probably illegal. In some cases, when there is a business consideration or safety concern, the employer can require that workers speak only English while working or conduct all work-related conversations in English. However, in several states the federal courts have upheld that employees have the right to conduct personal conversations in another language, particularly on lunch or rest breaks. An English-only rule that applies to your breaks may very well be illegal discrimination based on national ancestry. Our suggestion is that you sign the handbook and file a discrimination complaint with the federal EEOC at http://www.eeoc.gov. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker who files a complaint in good faith.

All of the other items you mention are legal. They are not necessarily good management, but they are legal.

2. There is no law that an employer must provide PTO or paid holidays. If the employer does provide those benefits, generally the employer establishes the rules surrounding them. It is very common for an employer to discipline or terminate an employee who uses all of her PTO and takes additional time off, even if that time off is unpaid. It is unusual to discipline the employees by depriving them of a paid holiday, but it is legal. (If the employer has 50 or more workers within 75 miles, employees might be entitled to unpaid time off under FMLA.)

3. This has always been true. In Florida, as in most states, an employee can be fired for any reason except illegal discrimination — or the employee can be fired for no reason at all. An employer can also fire an employee for insubordination, which is basically not doing what the employer asks. (The exception is if the employer asks the employee to do something that is unethical or illegal.) This suggests to us that there is a problem with employees being insubordinate, or not following the rules. The employer is letting workers know that will no longer be tolerated.

4. This is a harsh policy, but it is legal. Basically, the employer is saying,”You need to come to work unless you are so sick that you must see a doctor. If you just have a minor cold, come to work.” Combined with #2 above, this suggests that some employees have attendance problems. This policy is probably not wise. The best practice in HR is to encourage employees to stay home if they are sick, to prevent the spread of illness. However, again, there is no law that requires that. The employer can decide that a doctor’s note is required for any absence, and discipline or terminate any employee who does not have one. Many companies have this policy.

5. Yes, you can be fired for insubordination if you refuse to sign the handbook. And even if you do not sign it, the policies still apply to you. Signing the handbook merely means that you have received a copy of it. Basically the employer sets the rules in the workplace, and can change those rules at any time without the employee’s permission. So even if you do not sign the handbook, the new rules apply to you (if you still work there.)

These policies are harsh, but with the exception of the English-only rule, they are legal. While we do not approve of the employer’s methods, it sounds like this is a situation where many employees have had attendance problems, and there has been insubordination (meaning employees not following company rules or simple requests.) The employer is doing the right thing by letting employees know that they mean business, and any employee who does not follow the rules will be fired.

It may be that once attendance improves and employees start following the rules, the employer will become more reasonable. Or maybe not.

Our suggestion is that you sign the handbook. We doubt that raising the issue of the English-only policy will do any good. If you bring it up, you should do so very tactfully, listen to the employer’s answer, and then drop the issue. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

February 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Yesterday my employer sent out a notice to all employees that if they used a sick day that they had to make up any sick time within that pay period. Is this legal?

Amelia

February 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Hi vicky! Yes, this probably is legal. The employer sets the work schedule for employees and can change it as they like, in Florida.
It is not clear from your question if the employer gives paid sick leave or not. It would be unusual for the employer to require workers to make up a sick day they had been paid for, but it would be legal. Basically the employer is requiring employees to give up their day off if they call in sick.
If the company has more than 50 employees within 75 miles of your work location, you may be entitled to unpaid time off under FMLA, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. You may also be entitled to unpaid time off under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. An employer cannot require a worker to make up time taken off under either of those two laws. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

March 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Hello, My husband works for a local satelite installation company, Approx 10 months ago, he relocated from Ohio to Louisiana with a promotion to Field Technician Supervisor. On Tuesday when he went into the office, he was informed they were closing his local office. He was told that if he wanted to remain employed he would now have to travel to the next local office which is aprox 80 miles away. The company does provide him with a company van. They are however making no provisions to reduce or assist with his current work load. He is still expected to do the exact same thing that he has been doing.(well actually more as this new office has different requirements) The problem is the 160 mile round trip drive is adding 4-5 hours before he can even get started on his day. (he would have to drive to the office, have his morning meetings, then drive back to the general area in which he now works to perform his in field supervisory duties). Therefore instead of being able to start his day at say 7am like normal it would be approx noon before he could start. We were wondering in the State of Louisiana, if this would be considered “good cause” for him to find alternative employment and draw unemployment benefits in the meanwhile. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Amelia

March 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

Hi Jennifer! In most states an employee who quits rather than accept a job 80 miles away would qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if the employee works one day under the new arrangements, he has accepted them. If he quits after that, he would not qualify for unemployment benefits. We agree that the new working conditions are unrealistic, but in this economy, it may be better for him to accept the job while looking for something better, rather than be unemployed. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Lea

November 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

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If all the other employees are being paid for holidays, do the managers that work also have to be paid. Emphasis on the ALL here.

thanks. My manager works every holiday even when some of the other employees take the day off with pay and/or other employees get holiday in addition to the pay for the day they worked. He is a great guy.

Amelia

December 2, 2011 at 10:11 am

Hi Lea! Thank you for the kind words! Unfortunately, we are shutting down the comments section of this blog. Our staff will continue to respond to questions or concerns posted as comments on http://www.humanresourceblog.com. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Jessica

November 26, 2014 at 8:52 am

If an employer that pays holiday and requires the day before and after to be worked, normally makes you use a vacation day if you want the day after off and all of a sudden changes it to not paying you that holiday and if you want paid you have to use 2 vacation days, is this legal? I hope that makes sense. So if you want the day after off as well you have to use 2 vacation days and not get holiday pay.

Jennifer

December 3, 2014 at 9:36 am

Hello my husbands job is closing two weeks for the holidays with no pay is this legal?

Richard

December 4, 2014 at 7:38 am

I was fired for no call no show for the last day of the thanksgiving holiday pay period if they pay all other employees holiday pay can they refuse my holiday pay

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