Can an employer not pay for a holiday after the holiday has passed?

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Can an employer not pay for a holiday after the holiday has passed?

Attached to my check for the week of Labor Day was a letter that said the company in no longer paying part-time employees holiday pay until they have been there a year. I thought they could only change the rule going forward not send a letter after the holiday stating you will not get paid for it.

Asked on September 16, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are correct; while an employer may change any rule, benefit, etc. which is not guaranteed by contract at any time, for any reason, it may only do so going forward. It cannot retroactively change the rules to deprive someone of pay or benefits which were in place when they performed the work.

So the first thing you should do is double check any prior emails, notices, communications, etc. to see if there had been some prior notice of this change.

However, even if there was not, you have to consider whether it's worth taking action: if the employer doesn't want to pay you, you'd have to sue for the holiday pay...and it may very well not be worth it.


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