There are no employment laws in North Carolina or nationally that require your employer to provide holiday, sick, or vacation leave. However, many companies do offer time away from work and even paid time off you can use for a sick day, to observe a holiday, or to take a vacation. If they offer these wage benefits, they need to provide a clear description of benefits and offer guidance about how you can use your annual leave.
Phil Gibbons at Gibbons Leis, PLLC can help you understand your employer’s policies and whether you are supposed to get paid for holiday, vacation, or sick leave. We can ensure your company follows its own policy regarding this type of wage benefit program, and recover any unpaid wages you lost. Call our North Carolina office today at 704-612-0038.
Does My Employer Have to Give Me Holidays Off in North Carolina?
There is no federal law establishing set holidays your employer must give you off work. Your employer can choose to observe specific holidays by closing the business, or not observe any holidays at all. Many companies remain open year-around, but allow employees to use annual leave to observe the holidays they choose. This is particularly helpful when there are employees of numerous religions or cultures working on the same staff.
Companies observe holidays in a number of ways:
- Closing, and having no employees report
- Closing, but requiring some employees to report
- Remaining open, but with limited staffing
- Remaining open with full staffing
If your job does close on certain holidays, its wage benefit policies determine how much — if any — pay you receive. North Carolina requires employers to put these policies in writing, and provide a copy to all employees who are eligible for these benefits.
For those who work on holidays when the business remains closed or only minimally staffed, some companies provide a special premium pay. This works as an incentive to encourage staffers to work while others are off. While this wage benefit can vary widely, “time-and-a-half” is common. Those who receive paid time off for holidays typically only get their normal pay rate.
Is My North Carolina Employer Required to Provide Vacation or Sick Leave?
There are no laws requiring your employer to give you paid time off for sick leave or vacation time. However, if the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers your company, it must offer you unpaid time off for sick leave.
Vacation time or annual leave is a wage benefit that is up to the sole discretion of your company to provide.
Many companies do offer employees this option however. This is especially true for full-time workers. This benefit helps improve morale, increases retention, and a host of other positives for the individual worker and the entire company.
When a North Carolina company opts to offer paid time off for employees, the state labor laws require it to clearly outline its policy in the employee handbook or other documentation available to all qualifying employees. These policies are often complex, but it is paramount they inform staff how to earn vacation or sick time and how to use the time they earn.
How Does Paid Leave Affect Overtime Pay?
Only hours you worked count when calculating overtime. Even if you received paid time off for a holiday, you will not receive overtime pay unless you report to work and do work-related tasks for more than 40 hours during that week. If you do not work because of a holiday, sick day, or vacation time, these hours are not “working” hours even if you receive pay for them.
Imagine you worked 40 hours last week, and then took time off for a weekend trip on Friday. This would not trigger overtime for you, even if you receive pay for your time off. You would receive 40 hours of work pay and eight hours of vacation pay. Your check would show 48 hours of straight-time pay.
On the other hand, if you opted to work that Friday instead of taking paid time off, your check would include 40 hours of straight-time pay plus eight hours or time-and-a-half pay for your overtime.
What Should I Do If My Employer Is Violating Their Holiday, Sick, or Vacation Pay Policy?
While there are no federal or state laws forcing your employer to offer you holiday, sick, or vacation pay in North Carolina, employers still have a responsibility to ensure you understand their policies and to follow them. North Carolina labor laws require them to outline their policies in their employee handbook or the other documentation they provide staff members. If they fail to do so — or do not follow their own policies — this can result in wage theft.
Wage theft occurs any time an employer fails to pay employees the money they deserve. This may include violations of hours and wage laws, or refusal to follow their own wage benefit policies. If you believe you are the victim of a wage theft situation, you want a knowledgeable employee rights lawyer on your side. We can help you understand your rights, and help you recover any unpaid wages due to you.
Many of these cases are complex, especially if they rely on the company’s own policies and not federal or state laws. We know how to navigate your situation, and hold your employer accountable for the pay you deserve. We can provide the resources and support you need to win your claim against a small business or large corporation. We are also not afraid to litigate, and will go after even the largest multi-national corporation to recover the unpaid wages you deserve.
Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC, Employee Rights Lawyer, Can Help You Recover Unpaid Vacation or Sick Time Wages
Phil Gibbons at Gibbons Leis, PLLC understands how frustrating it can be when your employer does not pay you fairly for vacation time, sick leave, or holidays. Call us today at 704-612-0038 to schedule a free case review, and let us go to work recovering any wages owed to you.