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Unpaid Holiday pay California

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  • Unpaid Holiday pay California

    My employer pays Holidays (7/year) in addition to PTO. At my location all drivers work a 5 day / 8 hour schedule except me, I work a 4-10 schedule with Mondays off. So on Holiday Mondays my Holiday pay appears on my check as cumulatve available just like available PTO. However nobody knows how i can use it and it gets wiped out at the end of the year. Is the employer responsible to pay me this money and/or give me comparable time off?

  • #2
    This is maybe complicated. Under CA law, vacation/PTO is legally vested and normal fixed holidays are not. There is no external governmentally imposed requirement that employers ever pay anyone holidays. A few caveats to that statement.
    - CA-DLSE is on record that while normal fixed holidays are not vested, so-called floating holidays might be. Basically CA-DLSE would need to look at the nature of the holiday and see if it looks like (to them) more like vacation or more like traditional holidays.
    - A number on the paystub is not inherently a formal legally enforcable committment. However, it can be treated as supporting evidence. I would really suggest that you take a very hard look at your company's published policies, especially the ones on holiday. If you cannot find support in your company's policies, I will say that you are likely out of luck. If you can find something in the published policies, then the pay stub could be argued to support the policies. In most states (and other federal law), company policies tend to not be legally enforcable. I will not say that CA enforces all company policies but I will CA is more likely to do so then other states.
    - Not your question, but your employer is maybe not very smart. Putting holiday balance numbers on a paystub, even in error, raises questions. Especially in CA. Not with certainty but smart employers avoid these situations. I have done payroll for many years and I never worked for an employer dumb enough to put fixed holiday balances on a paystub. I have never worked for an employer who did not have clearly written holiday policies, so when some employee challenges us, and sooner or later someone will, we could defend our handling.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Is it relevant that all other employees in the company are paid for that day. (ther is a written policy stating that these are paid holidays but with no more specificity, I dont know what happens on the retail side because they are open on most holidays.) All of the drivers working a 5-8 normally, work a 4-8 that week and get paid 40 hours; while I still work 40 hours and get paid for 40.

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      • #4
        Maybe. Like I said, CA does not normally care about normal fixed holidays. They (sometimes) care about company policies, which is not usual under the law of most states. You are looking for a hard bright line that does not exist. At best you have small weak pieces of information that may or may not in their entirety convince a judge or ALJ.

        I am usually on the other side of these things, and the 4 CA employers I worked for made a point of having formal holiday policies that were well written and left no obvious points of attack. Not that CA-DLSE cares much (if at all) about normal fixed holidays, but rather any judge or ALJ can find a reason to decide a matter any way they want if you leave loose ends. Arguably a poorly written policy is worse then no policy at all.

        Probably not what you want to hear, but I have never worked for an employer who lost a claim regarding normal fixed holidays. We had such claims filed, but that particular dog failed to hunt. But we always made a point of having well written policies with no loose ends. If you have enough employees, there are always a few who will file claims. Smart employers do not give them anything to work with. Your employer is not a smart employer, and has given you something to work with, but not a whole lot.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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