working on labor day

Are you working on Labor Day? Labor Day is a federal holiday, and most employees get time off from work on this day. While Labor Day weekend is often spent with family and friends, there are some people who spend this holiday at work. Whether or not you should do the same, though, depends on the nature of your work and your company policy.


Is Working on Labor Day a Normal Practice?

Labor Day is a federal holiday in the United States. It takes place every first Monday in September.

The very first Labor Day celebrated in the country took place on September 5, 1882, in New York City. The Central Labor Union organized a parade where 10,000 workers marched from City Hall all the way to 42nd Street. This holiday holds great significance among the American workforce. It is a day set aside to honor and commemorate the American labor movement as well as the contributions of laborers to the country.

While the first Labor Day occurred on a Tuesday, the holiday now takes place every first Monday in September. The holiday also marks the unofficial end of summer, whereas Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer.

Most people get time off from work on Labor Day. Since it falls on a Monday, Americans use the holiday as a chance to take advantage of a three-day weekend, spending it with friends and family.

Not all workers, though, have the holiday off. In fact, a past Bloomberg BNA survey showed that 40% of employers do require some employees to work on Labor Day. Therefore, it is not uncommon for employees to report to work on this federal holiday. Businesses still need some workers to keep operations running.


Laws About Working on Labor Day

Laws About Working on Labor DayAccording to the Society of Human Resource Management, Labor Day ranks as the fourth-most common paid holiday in the United States. Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day are the three that come before it.

It is normal practice for employees not to work on Labor Day. That said, there is no federal law that requires companies to give employees time off for holidays or vacations.

Although there is no law mandating employees get time off on Labor Day, it is often a perk that employers offer. Paid holidays are one way to attract potential workers and keep compensation packages competitive. They also help improve morale within the company, as employees tend to feel more secure when they are given paid breaks.

Even if a company gives the day off, though, it is not required to pay its employees for the day. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not mandate businesses to pay workers for the time they don’t work.

However, it is common for companies to offer extra pay when employees work on holidays. In fact, the Bloomberg study showed that 86% of employers offer extra compensation to employees who work on Labor Day. Of those employers, 27% offer time-and-a-half pay, 18% offer both extra pay and compensatory time, 16% offer double time, and another 16% offer other forms of rewards, such as double-time-and-a-half. Less than 10% of businesses offer the base, regular pay when employees work on Labor Day.


Other Labor Day Statistics

The companies that ask employees to report to work on paid holidays, specifically Labor Day, tend to be those that are more essential in nature. Technical and security workers are the most likely to work on Labor Day, with 15% of employers requiring such personnel to show up. Next in line are professional workers, with 13% of employers asking professional workers to report to work on Labor Day. Managers, supervisors, service and maintenance workers, sales staff, and customer service personnel are also likely asked to work on the holiday.

In addition to the nature of the work, the size of the business also plays a significant role. Larger companies are more likely to ask staff members to report to work on Labor Day compared to smaller companies. In fact, 80% of businesses with at least 1,000 employees require some employees to work on Labor Day. In comparison, only 29% of small businesses do the same.

Non-business organizations, such as hospitals, also typically ask some employees to report to work. While non-manufacturers and manufacturers will have some level of staffing, it is not as high as non-business organizations.


Should You Work on Labor Day?

should you work on labor dayWhether or not you should work on Labor Day depends on your specific circumstances. If you work for a company that gives the holiday off, then you likely don’t have to report to work on Labor Day. That said, your company might still ask you to come to work but with added benefits or compensation.

When it comes down to it, the requirement to work on Labor Day relies on your agreement or contract with your employer. As such, make sure to review your employment agreement to understand what you are entitled to as an employee.

Those who are still looking for work should also ask about paid holidays, especially if this is a major concern or dealbreaker for you. When browsing job listings, look for the compensation package and benefits. Ask about the company’s policy during interviews. This should set your expectations and inform your decision on whether or not to accept the job when offered to you.

Given the meaning behind the holiday, a lot of people wish to take Labor Day off. It is also a good way to celebrate the end of the summer season in the company of family and friends. Time off from work, though, is not a guarantee.


The Final Word

Working on Labor Day might seem like an odd idea, especially when you consider the significance of the holiday. Not all businesses can afford to completely shut down, though, even if it is just for a day. This is why many companies ask some of their employees to report to work. The good news is, a lot of employers offer paid holidays.