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

UPDATED: Sep 16, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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