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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Working on Thanksgiving? How to make sure you're getting paid extra time

Thanksgiving day employment tips
Work on Thanksgiving Day may qualify for higher pay
By Andrew Fujii

There is no time like the holidays. If you are a retail worker, there is no time on the holidays. As much as it pains me to say, our society has gotten caught up in the Black Friday rush so much that it has spilled over onto the actual day of Thanksgiving.

As we’ve all seen, working the Black Friday shift can actually be dangerous. Swarms of people craving a discounted TV or computer have no issue trampling over barricades and through employees. Unfortunately employers are not required to pay time and a half on Black Friday.

If you happen to work on Thanksgiving day, you have a stronger case for getting time and a half.

Federal holidays

The Federal Government provides all of its employees with ten paid holidays each year. These include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, George Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Many private employers also provide these days off. However, for the ones that don’t, they often offer an incentive such as holiday pay. This usually comes in the form of an increased pay rate such as time and a half.

Holiday pay

As mentioned before, holiday pay is compensation for pay during the holidays. So if you are forced or choose to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas, holiday pay would be the rate for these days.

Unfortunately for employees, employers are not required to pay extra for working on holidays. Unlike overtime pay, holiday pay is not enforced by the federal government. Every private company regulates their own pay when in comes to holidays.

Should you be getting paid extra

Holiday work often falls to the newest employee at the office or those willing to work on the holidays. Therefore whether you are new or you are hoping to pick up extra cash, you should always be aware of what you are entitled to.


First, you’ll want to check your hours for the week. If working on Thanksgiving puts you over the 40 hour threshold, you are entitled to overtime. The Federal Government, under the Fair Labor and Standards Act, requires that all covered, non-exempt employees be paid at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Therefore if you are putting off spending time with your family to work extra hours at your job, you better make sure you are getting compensated properly for it.

Check with your manager

The first thing you want to do to make sure you are getting paid for extra time or getting paid the holiday pay rate, is to check with your manager. Most managers appreciate the effort their employees put in and respect the sacrifices you are making to work on a holiday.

They (should be) happy to pay you time and a half if that is what the company policy states.

Check with human resources

Another person to check with regarding your overtime or holiday pay is the human resource department or person. The human resources department has a responsibility to tell you the company policy.

The human resource department should also have all information in terms of how many hours you have worked within the week. This total will allow you to calculate if and how much overtime you should be getting.

Check your employee agreement/contract

Finally, you can always consult with your employment agreement or contract. Chances are you didn’t pay too much attention to this when you started. However it can be an invaluable resource for you later on in your employment.

Human resources should be able to provide you with a copy of your employment agreement if you don’t have a copy yourself. In this agreement you should be able to find information such as the rate of holiday pay.

If you happen to work on Thanksgiving and do not receive the extra holiday pay you are supposed to, contact one of the above three resources. If you are still denied the pay you can always contact a law office that specializes in overtime pay or labor relations.

It is not only beneficial for you to claim your overtime and holiday pay, it is also your right.

About the author: Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more.

License: Creative Commons image source