Avoiding wage disputes over holiday pay

Some Tennessee workers may be looking forward to the holidays for an extra day or two off to spend with their families. Others, however, may have to work on those days. Difficult as it may be for them to have to go to work, they may initiate wage disputes if their paychecks do not reflect holiday pay.

While a worker may feel he or she deserves more for working on a holiday, this is not always the case. In fact, there are no federal or state laws requiring employers to give workers off for a holiday or to pay the extra if they work. Some private employers may offer paid holidays or premium wages for holidays, but this is the choice of the employer. Additionally, an employee who is salaried is typically exempt and does not qualify for any overtime pay.

On the other hand, certain union workers and those who work as civil servants, such as police or firefighters, often qualify for premium pay for working or even for a paid day off for the holiday. Another exception is when an employee's contract stipulates holidays off or wages above the normal pay for working on a holiday. Of course, if the hours one would work on a holiday are above the normal 40-hour work week, the employee should receive overtime pay.

Employees who are uncertain of whether their employers offer special considerations for holiday time off or additional pay should check with their human resources department or review their employment contracts to avoid wage disputes. While laws do not mandate holiday pay, a contract may. Those whose employers do not honor the terms of a contract concerning holiday pay may wish to speak with a Tennessee attorney.

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