Wage & Hour Issues:
- Holiday Pay – Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers cannot dock exempt employees’ pay for the holidays. If an exempt employee works any part of the workweek, that employee must be paid for the full workweek.
- Attendance at Holiday Events – Make sure that your employees know that attendance at company-sponsored holiday events is voluntary. If attendance is mandatory, non-exempt employees must be paid their regular rate, and the time spent attending the event will need to be counted as hours worked for purposes of calculating whether overtime needs to be paid.
- Holiday Bonuses – Keep in mind that bonuses might need to be factored in to overtime calculations. Unless the bonus is truly discretionary or constitutes a gift, a holiday bonus generally is included in overtime calculations for non-exempt employees.
Discrimination & Harassment Issues:
- Holiday Parties – Remind employees, especially supervisors, that you will enforce workplace rules at the party, including anti-harassment policies. Consider limiting the availability of alcohol (or eliminating it altogether) and arranging free rides home.
- Holiday Schedules – Anti-discrimination laws may require employers to reasonably accommodate their employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, and observances. This may include providing unpaid time off for employees to celebrate a religious holiday or attend a holiday service. Keep this in mind when those time-off requests come rolling in.
- Holiday Decorations – Ensure that holiday displays are reasonable and non-disruptive. Both Title VII and the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers from requiring participation in religious practices as a condition of employment. Conversely, employees have the right to engage in reasonable expressions of their faith in the workplace. Make sure that reasonable restrictions are consistently applied to all such displays.
If you have questions about your company’s holiday policies and compliance, contact Terah Moxley to schedule a meeting, audit, or training.