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Illinois Holiday Pay

Posted by Tamara

Most companies provide 5 to 7 paid holidays for their employees. These holidays are determined by the company’s policy and are usually outlined in the company handbook. There is no Illinois or federal law, however, which requires a company to provide paid holidays for their workers.

What about extra wages for employees who work on holidays? There is no law requiring extra wages for working holidays either.

Human Resources professionals explain that the term “holiday pay” is used for the additional pay workers receive for a holiday when they are off. The standard pay rate for these hours is the employee’s regulate rate, so he or she would be paid the regular rate for an additional 8 hours.

For example John doesn’t work on New Year’s Day, because it is a paid holiday for his company. During the week of New Year’s Day, John puts in 40 hours. His pay would show 40 hours of regular time at the regular rate, and 8 hours of holiday time, also at the regular rate.

If an employee works overtime during a week with a holiday, he or she would receive 48 hours at the regular rate: 40 regular and 8 holiday. The remaining hours would be paid as overtime.

Why doesn’t John qualify for overtime pay for his 48 hours? When holiday pay is for time that an employee didn’t work, it doesn’t qualify as overtime, and can be paid at the employee’s regular rate.

There are companies that pay additional wages for hours worked on a holiday. Unions often require a holiday premium in their agreements, but there is no Illinois or federal law that requires employers to pay extra for holidays, nights or weekends.

Let’s look at John again. He works on New Year’s Day, plus 48 additional hours. His company pays time-and-a-half for holiday hours, so John would earn 8 hours holiday pay, 40 hours of regular pay and 8 hours of overtime. Since overtime and holiday pay both pay time-and-a-half, John effectively earns 16 hours of overtime for that week.


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