Sample Policy: Holidays

The following sample policies were excerpted from The Book of Company Policies, published by HR Specialist, © 2007. Edit for your organization’s purposes.


Sample Policy 1:

“XYZ will observe the following days as paid holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day (as observed by federal offices), the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The office will also close early on Christmas Eve and will be closed the day after Thanksgiving as well, but these are not paid holidays. Employees may also choose to take the following days off on an unpaid basis if they give the company two weeks’ notice: Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Good Friday and Veterans Day.”

Sample Policy 2:

“Regular employees have paid time off on the following holidays, unless otherwise scheduled (list holidays). When the holiday falls on the employee’s regular day off, full-time employees may schedule a paid day off within two weeks preceding or following the holiday. Part-time employees will be paid only for holidays that fall on their regular workdays. If the holiday falls on a non-workday, they will not be paid for it. However, if the holiday falls on a regular workday and they are asked to work on the holiday, they may schedule a substitute day off with pay.

“Nonexempt employees who are required to work on their scheduled holiday will be compensated at their normal rate of pay for the holiday plus one and one-half times their base rate for the time they work.

“Temporary employees who are not required to work on the holiday will have the holiday off but without pay. If they are required to work, they will receive straight time pay.”




Make it a policy to post your company’s holiday schedule every year. You may want to use the federal government’s holiday schedule as a guide in deciding your schedule: New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Columbus Day, Presidents Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day and Christmas Day.

The Fair Labor Standards Act doesn’t require you to pay time off for holidays. You should clearly state your policy on paid versus unpaid holidays in your handbook. Also, you may require that, to be paid for a holiday, employees must work the business day before and after the holiday unless they have arranged in advance with their supervisor to take vacation or personal time.

Can you force employees to work on a holiday? Title VII allows you to require an employee to work on state and federal holidays, including Christmas, if his absence would pose an undue hardship to your company. However, Title VII and the First and 14th amendments guarantee workers the right to freedom of religion. To avoid religious discrimination claims and morale problems, you should make every effort to accommodate the employee whenever possible. Make sure your company policy demonstrates an acceptance of all religions and a commitment to reasonable accommodation of employees of all faiths. You could state that employees can take religious holidays other than Christmas as personal days or as unpaid leave.