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Common misconceptions about holiday work hours

The holidays are here, and that means more shopping. Whether you love the shopping or hate it may have to do with the industry you work in.

For those in the retail industry, the holiday season can mean longer hours and an increase in the number of shifts. With this comes common misconceptions about what is required of employers.

Holiday pay

Many employers offer holiday pay benefits, which can come in a variety of forms. Some employers offer their employees paid time off. Others may pay their employees time-and-a-half for working on a holiday. While many employer offer these benefits, they are not required by law. The law treats holidays like any other work day, meaning an employer is not obligated to give employees the day off or additional pay for working on a holiday.


With Black Friday and other holiday sales, many employers in the retail industry extend their hours during the holidays, meaning more and longer shifts for employees. If you are a nonexempt employee, you are entitled to receive overtime pay for any hours that you work over 40 in a week.

Meal breaks

When employees work longer shifts, taking meal and rest breaks can also be an issue. While there is no federal law that requires an employer to provide its employees with a meal break, New York, like many states, does require employers to offer meal breaks to their employees. The specifics of those laws depend on the shift and hours an employee works. Given the lack of federal regulations, always remember to consult your state's laws regarding meal break rules.

Seasonal employment

Employers will often add additional employees with seasonal employment during the holidays. These employees are most often hired as part-time employees, and are entitled to the same wage and overtime rules as any other employee.

These are issues to keep in mind all year, not just during the holidays. However, the regulations become particularly important for many people around this time of year.

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