Spark Employee Retention and Gratitude this Independence Day

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Happy 4th of July!

Will your employees get paid time off for the 4th of July? Should they? The wrong answer could lead to fireworks in your office. The right one could help you attract and retain the best employees.

Human Resources guru, Michael Haberman gets this question all the time: “Do I have to pay my employees for holidays?” Last July 5, in honor of Independence Day, he blogged about it at Omega hr Solutions, Inc.’s website in “Holiday Pay for the 4th of July”.

The answer to the question, he says is, “as often occurs in HR, ‘it depends.’” Here’s what Haberman says it depends on:

  • In the private sector, under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if employees are classified as non-exempt there’s no requirement to pay them for holiday hours they spend not working. You can pay them for holidays at your company’s discretion and as a matter of company policy and past practice.
  • If your company pays employees for a holiday, it DOES NOT have to be counted as time worked in the calculation of overtime.
  • In the private sector, if employees are classified as exempt, you must pay their entire salaries for weeks in which holidays occur, regardless of whether they work the holidays or not. If they don’t work the holidays you can’t dock their pay.
  • Union contracts or status as a state employee will alter these requirements.

So, be sure you follow FLSA guidelines this 4th of July. And consider your policies for offering other types of paid leave, such as vacation, sick and personal days. SHRM’s survey report, Examining Paid Leave in the Workplace, says:

“An attractive employer-sponsored benefits program makes it easier for organizations to retain and attract great employees. Leave programs are crucial to an employee’s overall benefits package.”

The report advocates combining leave policies into one personal time off, or PTO block, to make administration easier and reduce costs.

What’s your philosophy on leave pay, and how does it affect your employees’ morale?

Michael Haberman is known as “THE HR COMPLIANCE GUY” of Omega hr Solutions, Inc. He’s also an instructor at the University of Georgia’s School for Professional Education and Emory University’s School for Professional Education, teaching human resources management. You can follow Mike Haberman on Twitter (Mike [email protected]).

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