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Can my boss make me work on Christmas?

Each state has its own legal holidays—and its own laws with respect to employer obligations on such days. In addition to federal holidays—New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas—Texas also observes other state holidays. These include:

  • Confederate Heroes Day (January 19)
  • Texas Independence Day (March 2)
  • San Jacinto Day (April 21)
  • Emancipation Day in Texas (June 19)
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson Day (August 27)
  • The Friday after Thanksgiving (the day after the fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Eve (December 24)
  • The day after Christmas (December 26)

In Texas, “holiday pay”—i.e., paid time off on a holiday or extra pay for hours worked on a holiday—is not required for most employers. There are two exceptions:

  • Federal government employees are entitled to holiday pay for federal holidays.
  • Texas state government employees are entitled to holiday pay for federal and state holidays.

Employees in other sectors may receive holiday pay, but the law does not require it. Whether or not an employee in the private sector is entitled to holiday pay depends on the employer’s written policy. This policy should outline:

  • Which holidays are paid,
  • Whether an employee receives extra compensation for working on a paid holiday and
  • Whether an employee can receive a compensatory holiday in exchange for working on a paid holiday.

Most Texas employers have no legal obligation to offer holiday pay. However, if an employer’s policy states that an employee is entitled to holiday pay, and the employer violates this promise, the employee has the right to pursue legal action against them.

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