Working on Christmas Day

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Working on Christmas Day

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My boss just let me know that he has me scheduled to work on Christmas. I feel this is unfair since I am a religious Christian, and wish to attend church and spend time with my family. Am I entitled to take the day off? If not, am I at least entitled to extra holiday pay?

Are you entitled to take the day off? Not necessarily. Entitled to holiday pay? No.

Your situation presents particular difficulties, since Christianity is the dominant religion and Christmas is a widely observed family holiday even for the nonreligious.  I suspect that most employees don’t want to clock in December 25th — unless there is the promise of double-time wages. Unfortunately, the law does not require employers to pay more just for working on a holiday.

Schedule Changes

The law says that an employer must make an accommodation to the known religious creed of an employee, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.  Changes in schedule may sometimes be a reasonable accommodation — but not if they have an adverse impact on other employees or violate a seniority system. Your ability to celebrate the holiday on your own terms may depend on your seniority and the goodwill of your coworkers.  



Amy Semmel is a partner with the firm Kelley Semmel, where her practice focuses on employment law. Please visit:

The information discussed here is a general explanation of the law, and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Readers requiring legal advice regarding a specific situation should consult an employment attorney.

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