Do you Get Holiday Pay for Memorial Day

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May, is a significant holiday in the United States dedicated to honoring military personnel who have died in service to their country. As a federal holiday, it often raises questions about employee entitlements, particularly regarding holiday pay. Whether you receive holiday pay for Memorial Day depends on various factors including your employment status, company policies, and the nature of your work. This article explores these aspects in detail to provide a comprehensive understanding of Memorial Day holiday pay.

Federal and State Laws

Firstly, it is important to clarify that there is no federal mandate requiring private employers to provide paid holidays, including Memorial Day. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not obligate employers to pay employees for time not worked, such as holidays. However, government employees typically do receive paid leave for federal holidays, including Memorial Day.

State laws also do not usually mandate holiday pay for private sector employees. However, some states have specific regulations that might impact holiday pay practices. For example, certain states may require extra pay for work performed on a holiday, but these laws vary widely and often depend on the type of employment.

Company Policies

Most private sector employees who receive holiday pay do so because it is stipulated in their company’s policies or their employment contracts. Many businesses offer paid holidays as part of their benefits package to attract and retain employees. Typically, full-time employees are more likely to receive holiday pay compared to part-time or temporary workers.

Company policies on holiday pay can differ significantly. Some common practices include:

  • Paid Time Off (PTO): Employees receive their regular pay for the holiday without having to work.
  • Holiday Premium Pay: Employees who work on Memorial Day receive extra compensation, often at a higher rate, such as time-and-a-half or double time.
  • Combination: Some companies offer a combination where employees who do not work receive regular holiday pay, and those who work receive holiday premium pay in addition to their regular pay.

It is crucial for employees to review their employee handbook or consult with their HR department to understand their specific entitlements regarding Memorial Day pay.

Union Contracts and Collective Bargaining Agreements

Employees who are part of a union may have holiday pay provisions included in their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). These agreements are negotiated between the union and the employer and can provide for paid holidays, including Memorial Day. Unionized employees should refer to their CBA to determine their holiday pay benefits.

Industry-Specific Practices

Certain industries have standard practices regarding holiday pay that might influence whether employees receive additional compensation for working on Memorial Day. For instance:

  • Retail and Hospitality: Employees in these sectors often work on holidays and may receive holiday premium pay due to the high demand for services during holidays.
  • Healthcare and Emergency Services: Workers in these fields typically do not get holidays off due to the nature of their work but may receive higher pay rates for holiday shifts.
  • Manufacturing and Office Jobs: These sectors often close on federal holidays, providing employees with paid time off.

Part-Time and Temporary Workers

Holiday pay policies for part-time and temporary workers vary widely. While some companies extend holiday pay benefits to part-time employees, many do not. Temporary or seasonal workers are less likely to receive holiday pay unless it is specified in their employment contract.


Whether you receive holiday pay for Memorial Day largely depends on your employer’s policies, your employment contract, and any applicable union agreements. While federal and state laws do not generally require holiday pay for private sector employees, many employers offer it as a benefit to their workforce. It is advisable for employees to familiarize themselves with their company’s policies and their specific entitlements regarding holiday pay. By understanding these factors, employees can better navigate their benefits and rights concerning Memorial Day and other federal holidays.

Amit Singh
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