Holiday closures, schedule accommodations, and labor law posters

I don’t normally close the office on Labor Day, but a few of my employees are convinced that I’m supposed to close since it’s a federal holiday. Is this true?

The legal side of things: Federal holiday closures are very much a real thing, but they don’t apply to private employers. This can lead to confusion amongst employees. Typically it’s because they’ve talked to someone who’s employer voluntarily follows this schedule so they think it applies to everyone, or they've read about federal closure requirements without realizing private business are excluded. We’ve spoken to plenty of employers that have had to address this with members of their team.

Luckily, it’s a simple issue to address. As a private employer, holiday closures are entirely at your discretion. That’s it! And no, you aren’t required to pay time-and-a-half to employees who work on a holiday - once again there’s no federal law that requires employers to do anything at all for holidays.

The human side of things: It may be an easy question to answer, but talking about holiday closures can still cause some tension if employees don’t know what to expect. Our advice? Create your holiday schedule at the beginning of each year and share it with your employees as soon as possible (CEDR’s document-sharing platform in backstageHR is perfect for this). Since holiday closures are completely up to you, it’s okay if they differ slightly from year to year.

CEDR members can find a sample yearly holiday schedule memo and more guidance about holidays in backstageHR, CEDR’s new and improved member’s area.

School just started back up and one of my full-time employees has requested to leave early twice a week so they can make it to their kid’s pick up time. What is the correct way to address their request?

The legal side of things: There’s nothing in the law that requires you to adjust employee work schedules based on the need to pick up kids from school or daycare. That means that this is a purely personal request for a schedule change, and it’s entirely up to you how to respond to it. What we mean by that is there is no legal requirement for you to accommodate their request since it’s not related to a protected reason, like a medical condition.

The human side of things: There may not be legal considerations at play here, but this can turn into a tricky HR issue if not handled properly.

The first thing to address is the most important: is granting their request even feasible? Allowing the extra bit of flexibility can go a long way, but may not be worth it if it will have a negative impact on the day to day of your business. It’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons before giving the employee an answer.

If you can’t grant their exact request but this is a good employee that you’d like to retain, we recommend sitting down with them to brainstorm other options. Thorough communication makes a big difference when it comes to requests like these and unexpected solutions often pop up.

Finally, consider the precedent this sets. Granting this employee’s request means other similar requests would ideally be treated similarly. Note that you would need objective reasons why you can or cannot grant things like this going forward. Randomly selecting who can get schedule flexibility can set you up for a discrimination claim.

If you do end up granting their request (or a modified version of it), let the employee know in writing what is being granted and what the expectations are.

How often am I supposed to update my labor law posters?

The legal side of things: This is one of our most common questions for poster compliance and our response is one of our most common answers: it depends on your state. There’s no standard schedule for updating signage to maint poster compliance. If your posters are up to date, there’s no need to update them! Some states go years without changing their required labor law posters, while others have new versions out every few months.

There’s also federal posters that need to be displayed with your state posters. These typically aren’t updated as often as state posters, but there’s been three released just this summer!

The human side of things: Even though there’s no standard schedule for when required posters are released and how often you need to replace them, it’s a good idea to check for new versions regularly so you don’t fall behind. The beginning and middle of the year tend to be particularly busy times for new releases.

CEDR members - you can rest easy knowing that we do the tracking for you. We'll maintain your poster compliance becuase new posters are uploaded to backstageHR and can be downloaded directly from your state’s page in the HR Center.

Once a new poster is available, it should be displayed as soon as possible. Remember that you can display print outs of new posters next to your large all-in-one poster and remain compliant. You don’t have to buy a new all-in-one poster each time there is an update to a single notice.

We know that there are a lot of companies out there that send you marketing messages about needing to buy new posters. If you’re a CEDR member, you can go ahead and delete those emails. If you actually need to update a poster for legal reasons, we’ll tell you.

If you’re not a CEDR member and aren’t sure about your poster compliance, or if your wall is becoming cluttered with posters and you want to start fresh with a new, fully updated, all-inclusive state & federal poster, you can receive discounted pricing through CEDR’s poster partner, and be sure to use our coupon code CELLP to receive special pricing.

Aug 15, 2023

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance based on applicable local, state and/or federal U.S. employment law that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.

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