There is nothing worse than having to work on a holiday – except not being compensated more for it. Holidays are generally considered to be regular workdays, and employees receive normal pay for time worked.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are obligated to pay for time worked. If an employee takes off on a federal holiday, he or she is not entitled to pay for it. 

If you are facing a wage dispute at work, contact the team at Burnham Douglass Attorneys At Law for experienced employment law representation across New Jersey.

Religious Observances

This is also true for religious observances. Employers must accommodate those who request off, in a non-discriminatory and consistent manner.

However, under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an employer need not accommodate all requests, if in some way it would bring hardship to the company.

Paid Holidays

An employer is generally not obligated to pay extra for holidays worked – this is considered an employee benefit.

New Jersey state “paid holidays” include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
  • Lincoln’s Birthday
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans’/Armistice Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • General election day

Under New Jersey Statute 36:1-1, holidays that occur on a Sunday are observed the next day. Public state employers are not obligated to grant public employees paid holiday leave, while private employers are not required to allow paid or unpaid time off on holidays; it is their choice.

Vacation Days

Federal law does not require employers to pay their employees for vacation days or time off – this would be an employee benefit.

Sick Days

If you call in sick, in most states you are not protected from termination. In many states, employment is considered to be “at will,” meaning that you can both quit or be fired without explanation at any time.

An exception to this would be an employee who has a well-documented disability, as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require time off for a disability-related illness, you may be protected.

Recently, however, New Jersey passed a new law. The New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law permits an employee to accrue 1 hour of earned sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours each year.


Another protective federal law is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It provides certain employees, who work for companies with over 50 employees, up to 12 weeks off in a single 12-week period, for pregnancy, care for a newborn, a serious medical condition, caring for an immediate family member with a serious health problem, and the arrangement of adoptions.

Workers’ Compensation

You may also be protected from termination if you have been granted Workers’ Compensation for an injury incurred at work.

New Jersey State Law

In New Jersey, most state laws governing payday requirements fall under The New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law. Employers must pay their employees at least once every two weeks, via cash, check, or direct deposit with employee consent. Minimum wage in New Jersey is $8.60 per hour, and employees are entitled to overtime (1.5 times pay rate) if they work more than 40 hours in one week.

However, certain individuals (e.g. executives) are exempt from this. Should a New Jersey employer fail to pay state minimum wage or violate other laws, it may be subject to payment of back wages and civil or criminal action.

For a free consultation call 856-751-5505 or contact us online today. We help clients in the Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County and throughout New Jersey who have experienced wage issues.