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I live in Israel, here if an employee is working on a holiday or on the weekend, they are paid a double salary by law. So if your salary for a normal work day is 10$ an hour you'll get 20$ (before taxes) for each hour you work on the holiday.

There was the recent issue of US retail stores opening on Thanksgiving and many sources claim that it's not fair to the employees. I wanted to know whether an employee who works on a federal holiday and/or weekend in the US is payed more by law?

  • I'm not in the Us but AFAIK it's not like at all in the US. – Preet Sangha Dec 5 '13 at 10:46
  • While this is a bit of a legal question, it seems to be of a general enough nature that it can be addressed on this site. – GreenMatt Dec 5 '13 at 11:54
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According to the United States' Department of Labor web site, this will depend on whether you're considered an "Exempt" employee for the wage and salary laws and also whether the holiday or weekend hours worked put you into overtime.

To explain this, I need to define a "work week" as a set period of 7 consecutive days in which an employee works. Note that a work week need not correspond to a calendar week. A standard work week will contain 40 hours of work. Any time over that 40 hours is overtime. However, an employer can (and some routinely do) schedule an employee to work 8 to 10 consecutive days that split those days over two work weeks in such a way as to avoid overtime pay.

Exempt employees (often called salaried or salary employees) are generally just that - exempt - from receiving any extra pay above their salaries for work they do, whether it is overtime or done on holidays or weekends. The trade-off is that an exempt employee is supposed to be paid a full wage for times he/she works less than 40 hours and also that salaries are expected to be higher than non-exempt wages.

Non-exempt (sometimes called hourly) employees have to be paid overtime for any work they do over 40 hours in a work week; there is no legal requirement of which I am aware that work done on weekends or holidays automatically receive extra pay. However, if the employee has to work over 40 hours in a work week because of this weekend or holiday work, then he/she is entitled to overtime pay.

Note this answer is only addressing the United States as a whole; state or locality laws may modify these requirements. Also, employment contracts (union negotiated or individually negotiated) can also modify these requirements.

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I wanted to know whether an employee who works on a federal holiday and/or weekend in the US is payed more by law?

No.

There is "business practice" and "law".

Businesses in the US are not required by Federal law to pay extra for working on a Federal Holiday. Some employers choose to pay extra, some do not.

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This article indicates that Walmart (one of the largest examples of "open on Thanksgiving" this year) employees got an extra full day's wage - meaning they likely got at least double their usual rate.

US Government workers get double their salary when working on holidays.

In general, I've seen "time and a half" (1.5x wage) be the usual standard for hourly employees.

Still, it can easily be argued that making a few dozen extra dollars isn't worth losing the holiday.

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  • It's been time and a half on all hourly jobs I've worked here in the US. – Andrew Bartel Dec 5 '13 at 16:29
  • My first summer job paid me 2.5 times my hourly rate for overtime. I think that was due to an incompetent bookkeeper who didn't understand what "time and a half" meant. The boss made sure I got very little overtime anyway ... even though she was the one I referred to in my answer who would schedule me for 7 to 10 straight days, but do it over a change in the work week so overtime rules didn't kick in. Also, I was making minimum wage, so the overtime pay still didn't go far. – GreenMatt Apr 9 '15 at 15:25

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