HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.


What is a Holiday?

National holidays are specified days off that an entire company observes. Employees cannot request time off during these dates as they are already declared days off.

Federally Regulated National Holidays Include:

  1. New Year’s Day
  2. Martin Luther King Day
  3. President’s Day
  4. Memorial Day
  5. Independence Day
  6. Labor Day
  7. Columbus Day
  8. Veterans Day
  9. Thanksgiving Day
  10. Christmas Day

What Happens When a Holiday Falls on the Weekend?

If a holiday falls on a Saturday, it will be observed on the day before (Friday). If it falls on a Sunday, it will be observed the next day (Monday).

Holiday Pay Policy

While no employer is required to pay for time off on holidays, employers choose to observe many of them and pay employees. In fact, US employees receive an average of 7.6 paid holiday days each year. 

Average holiday pay is typically equivalent to overtime pay: 1.5x’s the normal hourly pay.
Note: The FLSA doesn’t require employers to pay overtime if employees work on holidays.

Here’s an example: Let’s say your employee, John, usually earns $400 a day. If your company has a policy and designates Christmas as a paid holiday, then John would still make $400 on Christmas even though he didn’t work that day.

It’s recommended that all employers have a holiday pay policy in place. When creating a policy, here are important details to include: 

  1. What employees are eligible (hourly, salary, exempt, etc)
  2. Which dates are designated as paid holidays
  3. If there are any special pay rates or bonuses for employees who work on these days
  4. How these days are observed if they fall on a weekend.

Holiday Statistics in the Workplace

  • 40% of organizations pay double-time for holiday pay.
  • 57% of citizens reported working on these days when the organization would normally be closed.
  • 21% of those organizations pay time-and-a-half. 

Related Terms: Floating Holidays

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