Can an employer alter holiday pay without permission?

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Can an employer alter holiday pay without permission?

Live and work in AZ. Have worked with
this company since January 2017. Was
transferred internally to a new
department last month that required
new paperwork signed. Paperwork
stated I would be paid time and a half
for working on specific holidays.
Received a company email stating
there would be no holiday pay at all. Is
this legal and what can I do if not?

Asked on May 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Such pay cannot be changed retroactively. In other words, policy can only be changed going forward for pending or future holidays. The fact is that holiday pay is not legally mandated; it is provided at the discretion of an employer. Accordingly, it can make whatever changes to such pay that it deems fit (absent some form of actionable discriminaton). Therefore, unless you have an employment contract or union agreement that affords you protection in this situation, you have no recourse here.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is legal. Holiday pay is NOT required--it is purely voluntary on the part of employers to pay a premium for working on a holiday. Since it is voluntary on the employer's part, they can elect to not pay it, and are free to change their policy at will, going forward. (That is, holidays already worked must be paid at the policy in place when you did the work; but the policy and pay may be changed for coming, pending, or future holidays.)


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