Is it legal for an employer to withhold holiday pay in the event that the employee was admitted to the hospital the day after a holiday and was unable to work?

I missed work the day after the 4th of July. I was admitted to the hospital. My employer refuses to pay me even though I have proof of the incident. I didn’t work the day after the holiday and that’s what they want to stick to.

Asked on September 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Paid holidays are not legally mandated; they are a benefit that an employer can choose to provide. Accordingly, a company has a great of discretion as to when and why it is paid, as well as other limitations. That is unless such an action violates the terms of an employment contract/union agreement or constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a business can set the terms and conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit or deems necessary.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal unless you have a written employment contract preventing them from doing this or guaranyting you the pay in this situation. Paid holidays are *not* required by law, not even for the big national holidays--it is purely voluntary on the part of employers to offer paid holidays. Since it is purely voluntary on their part, they have the right to rules, restrictions, and limitations, like the one you describe, on when you can get holiday pay.

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