Court of Appeal Rules on Holiday Pay, Regular Rate, and Overtime

Sometimes employers pay workers "holiday premium" pay for working on a holiday. Under federal law, if the holiday premium is at least 1.5 times the normal rate, such premiums may be taken as a "credit" against overtime premiums due in the same workweek.

The Court of Appeal just decided that this federal regulation also applies in California. If you're not familiar with this rule, here's an example from the opinion of how it works:

During the week of September 4, 2006, Ms. Roman worked 12 hours on Monday, which was Labor Day, 12 hours on both Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8 hours each on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for a total of 60 hours. Her paycheck reflected payment of one and one-half times her regular rate for the 4 hours of overtime she worked on both Tuesday and Wednesday of that week, as well as the premium rate of pay of one and one-half times for the 12 hours she worked on Labor Day. As such, Ms. Roman was paid for 40 hours at her regular rate of pay and 20 hours at a rate of time and one-half. Ms. Roman contends that the time and one-half she was paid for working on Labor Day was her regular rate of pay pursuant to the Employee’s Handbook, and she was entitled to be paid one and one-half times the premium rate for the hours she worked on Labor Day.

The plaintiff argued that she was entitled to time and one-half for the 20 hours of overtime she worked. The employer argued it paid her time and one-half for eight of those hours because of the holiday premium policy.

The Court of Appeal decided nothing in the California overtime law required the employer to pay more than the time and one-half for 20 hours of overtime work. However, the court expressly reserved judgment on whether the employee could bring a breach of contact claim for the holiday pay premium.

The case is Advanced Tech Security Services, Inc. v. Roman and the opinion is here.

Well, the court of appeal decided that