What are paid holidays?

Paid holidays are days of festivity or recreation when people can take a paid day off. These may be state, national, or religious holidays. US federal law does not require employers to pay their people for holiday days.

How important are paid holidays?

Even though you are not federally mandated to pay your people for holidays off, it’s common for companies to offer paid holidays as a standard benefit for part-time and full-time employees. 

Choosing not to offer paid holidays would be unusual. It may also make your compensation package much less attractive to potential employees, who most likely expect to receive paid holidays as a standard part of their benefits package. The bottom line? Offering paid holidays is a must if you want to attract top talent.

If you do not offer paid holidays, you may allow people to take them as unpaid time off so they can celebrate the holidays with their families.

What are the benefits of offering paid holidays?

It isn’t only your people who enjoy paid holidays. Offering your workforce more paid time off benefits the employer, too, helping to:

  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce burnout
  • Improve the employee experience, leading to higher retention

How many paid holidays are in a year?

The number of paid holidays you offer in a year is up to you. Here are a few figures you can reference when making this decision:

  • The average number of paid holidays in the US is 7.6
  • There are 11 federal holidays 
  • There are eight standard paid holidays

What holidays are typically paid?

Companies most commonly offer the following as paid holidays:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Easter 
  3. Memorial Day
  4. Independence Day
  5. Labor Day
  6. Thanksgiving Day
  7. The day after Thanksgiving
  8. Christmas Day

What are federal paid holidays?

As mentioned above, the federal government does not require employers to pay people for holidays. However, the federal government designates certain days off during which all government agencies and banks must be closed. Private businesses may legally remain open during federal holidays, but it has become standard to designate them as days off.

The federal holidays include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Presidents Day (George Washington’s Birthday)
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth 
  • Independence Day (Fourth of July)
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

Are people entitled to extra pay for working a holiday?

Companies are not legally required to pay people extra for working on a holiday. However, it’s not uncommon for employers to offer special holiday pay. This is often a rate of time-and-a-half or 150 percent of regular hourly wages.
On the other side of the spectrum is a time in lieu policy, which allows people to take time off as an alternative to pay for overtime hours.

Why should paid holidays be a part of modern HR strategy?

While you are not required to offer paid holidays by law, it is still standard practice for employers to give their people paid work holidays. Failing to do so may seriously hurt a company’s ability to attract talent and cause it to lose good potential employees to competitors.