As mandates are lifted and more Americans are getting vaccinated, many people are beginning to feel comfortable in group settings, especially outdoors.  After more than a year of limited in-person celebrations, 4th of July is the first major holiday that may see more people gathering and wanting to embrace the time off work.

This holiday is always eagerly anticipated, so much so that many employers have started providing employees with a four-day weekend when the holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, or a three-day weekend, when the holiday falls on a weekend, Monday or Friday.  Other employers provide employees with a half day off on July 3rd.  It is natural, then, that when the holiday falls mid-week, employers find themselves fielding PTO requests for the days surrounding the holiday.  The truth is, however, that the vast majority of employers only provide employees with the day off on July 4th itself, no matter what day of the week it falls on.

This leads to an interesting question.  Does an employer have to pay an employee overtime for requiring them to work on July 4th?

The simple answer is “no.” The Fair Labor Standards Act makes no distinction about what days an employee works.  A day is a day is a day, whether it is July 4th, Christmas, or a random Monday in March.  Overtime is required to be paid for hours worked by an employee over 40 hours in one workweek.  Holidays are treated the same as any other day in pay time calculations and do not receive different treatment.  Some employers will pay employees more to work on holidays, including 4th of July, to be generous or persuade them to work on a day most people don’t want to be working.  However, it is not required.

Many people are under the misconception that the federal government requires employers to pay its employees double time if they work July 4th or other holidays.  However, there is no Federal or state law requiring a private employer — that is a business or non-profit agency as opposed to a government employer — to pay its employees anything extra for working on these days.  There is also no law requiring a private employer to give employees paid time off for the July 4 holiday.

Whether you decide to give your employees one day off (or three!), we hope everyone stays safe and enjoys their time outdoors.

*Special thanks to Lynn Derenthal, who assisted in the drafting of this post. Lynn is a Paralegal in our Fort Lauderdale office.