Mandatory vacation days or closures?
October 11, 2011
Christmas and new years both fall on a Sunday in 2011. Is my practice required to be closed on the following Mondays? Am I required to compensate my employees for an extra day for the holiday?
No law requires that you close or pay your practice employees for holidays. So no, you are not required to be closed on the following Mondays after Christmas and New Years this year. You are also not required to provide employees with any extra compensation, pursuant to any law. Our office confirmed same with NYS and the Federal government. The information we received from both sources clearly states that federal employees are the only ones required to be given a day off for specific federally recognized holidays. Other employers are only required to adhere to their own policies, and to compensate appropriately for work actually rendered. What that means is, if you have an office policy that everyone gets a day to celebrate Christmas and New Years, then you cannot reneg on that policy. So, the answer to your question Dr. H is another question - have you promised your employees and has it been your practice to your employees over the years that they get a day off for Christmas and New Years? If so, you may be stuck honoring your common practice. If not, and there is no expectation - or you set that expectation in advance - you will not be on the hook for closing those days.
The following is from the New York State Department of Labor -
Q: Must an employer pay workers for holidays, sick time and/or vacations?
A: Under the New York State Labor Law, payment for time not actually worked is not required unless the employer has established a policy to grant such pay. Holidays, sick time and/or vacations fall under 'time not worked.' When an employer does decide to create a benefit policy, that employer is free to impose any conditions they choose.
Fringe benefits may include:
-Reimbursement of expenses or tuition
-Payment for - Sick time - Vacation - Personal leave - Holidays
Q: What is the status of an employer's oral agreement to provide a particular fringe benefit?
A: Section 195.5 of the Labor Law states: Every employer shall notify his employees in writing or by publicly posting the employer's policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours.
If an employer does not have a written policy, the oral policy (or past practice) may be enforced - if the terms of the policy can be confirmed through an investigation. Moreover, violators of § 195.5 are subject to civil penalty.
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