Federal Holidays in 2017: How to Set Up Your Employee Calendar

December 15, 2016

employee holidays

If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate, would it be paid? When it comes to taking time off from work, employees first look to their employers to find out what holidays they observe. How does your company’s employee holiday calendar stack up?

What’s Covered: Check Federal Labor Laws

Depending on the type of business, you may or may not need to keep your doors open on a given holiday.

Office closed: Believe it or not, employers aren’t required to pay employees for time not worked on holidays, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, paying employees on holidays is an accepted best practice among most companies in the U.S.  

Office open: According to the FLSA, employers don’t have to pay employees overtime for work on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays, unless those employees have worked more than forty hours in the given week. Exempt employees don’t qualify for overtime pay.  

Holiday shopping for coworkers this year? Read our blog for 101 gift ideas.  

What’s Happening: Businesses Put Employees First

Each year, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) randomly selects and surveys a group of HR professionals to learn how businesses plan to observe and celebrate holidays in the upcoming year. Data from the 2017 Holiday Schedules survey shows that most businesses pay employees higher wages for time worked on holidays:

“More than half (57%) of respondents indicated their organizations pay a premium for employees working on a holiday when the organization would normally be closed. Of these organizations, 40% pay double-time and 21% pay one-and-a-half-time, while 19% pay overtime and 21% pay some other type of premium.”

What’s Next: Your Best Calendar

The SHRM survey also found that 84% of offices keep their doors open for business during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. While business often slows down during this week, it’s important for owners to balance holiday time with office work.

Setting up a great employee holiday calendar in 2017 will be a different process for every company. Ultimately, businesses will need to look to the type of work performed and to their employees for cues on how to set themselves up for success in the upcoming year.

Office Holidays eBook


A Content Marketing Manager at Zenefits, Jordan has a lot to say about the nuances of payroll, benefits, and HR (and about the way we say it). He was raised by small business owners, so it’s no surprise that Jordan loves helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

Category: HR Tips & Trends, Payroll, Culture, Time

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