The short answer is “no,” there are no special rules for holidays in either California or Washington state. If an employee works over 40 hours in a week or over 8 hours in a day, then they qualify for overtime pay. However, if it has been the employer’s practice over several years to provide holiday pay, an employee might have reason to argue that they are also entitled to holiday pay. Additionally, if there is a policy of holiday pay in place (many union contracts for example include double time on holidays), then the employee must be paid at the rate listed in the policy.
Although an employer doesn’t have to offer paid holidays to their employees, it can make sense in some cases. If staffing is often necessary on holidays and it is difficult to find sufficient employees, it might be worth it to offer premium pay to entice people in to work. Other businesses may find that their employees are more productive when given the chance to spend holidays with their families. In other cases, the extra pay may simply boost morale by showing the company cares about its employees on a day when many people would prefer to be celebrating with their families.
Whatever your plans this Thanksgiving, I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!
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