Working on Labour Day? You’re Not Alone

While many will be off, plenty of employees will be working on Labour Day.

  • One of the most popular paid holidays in the United States is Labour Day.
  • Labour Day is given to certain employees by 97% of firms. More than 40% of enterprises will continue to remain open and employ some staff members.
  • Compared to small enterprises, large organizations are significantly more likely to have some workers working on Labour Day.
  • Federal rules do not mandate that firms provide their staff with paid holidays or extra pay for working on certain days.

Tuesday, September 5, 1882 marked the inaugural Labour Day in the United States in New York City. 10,000 employees participated in the Central Labour Union-organized procession, which went from City Hall to 42nd Street. Typically, the summer season comes to an unofficial close during Labour Day weekend. While many workers will take advantage of the three-day weekend, not all of them will.

One of the most popular paid holidays is Labour Day, which occurs on Monday, September 2 this year. The holiday is celebrating its 125th birthday this year. However, not everyone is affected by the closure of many businesses. A sizable portion of employees, according to prior Bloomberg BNA data, will be at work on Labour Day.

According to the report, whether they are full- or part-time employees, 97% of businesses will give at least portion of their staff the day off on Labour Day. Nevertheless, 41% of those companies will still need some employees to work on Labour Day.

Who works on Labour Day?

Technical and security professionals are the ones that are most likely to be at work on Labour Day. More than 100 human resources and employee relations experts were polled, and the results showed that 15% of companies required technical workers, security people, and public safety personnel to report to work on Labour Day.

Furthermore, according to the poll, 13% of the employers will have professionals reporting to work on Labour Day, 11% will have managers or supervisors at their desks, and 10% will have employees in charge of service and maintenance, sales, and customer support.

Larger organizations are more likely to have some employees report for duty on Labour Day. According to the study, 29% of small firms and 80% of companies with at least 1,000 employees would require at least some of their workers to work on Labour Day.

Additionally, the survey discovered that 56% of non-business entities, such as hospitals and governmental institutions, will have some staff working on Labour Day, as opposed to only 35% of non-manufacturers and 30% of manufacturers.

Labour laws and Labour Day

Compared to Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, Labour Day is the fourth-most popular paid holiday, according to research from the Society of Human Resource Management.

Contrary to common belief, employers are not required to offer their staff a day off for Labour Day or any other holiday. Employers are not required by the federal government to provide their staff time off for holidays or vacations.

Employers are not compelled to pay their staff members for the day if they elect to give them the day off. The Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA), according to the U.S. Department of Labour, exempts employers from paying workers for time off. The U.S. Department of Labour states on its website that “These benefits are normally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee (or the employee’s agent).”

Although paid holidays like Labour Day are not mandated by federal law, they are a perk that attracts workers.

Paid vacations are a wonderful benefit that may draw applicants and boost staff morale since they provide workers a much-needed break without having to worry about losing money, according to Lisa Porto, an HR consultant with Inspiring HR, who spoke to Business News Daily. Labour Day honours employees as well, and traditionally, many people have taken the day off to spend it with their loved ones.

Although many firms give their employees a little bonus for working on Labour Day, this is not required by law either.

On its website, Rocket Lawyer states that “Under federal law, a holiday doesn’t have a unique designation for overtime compensation, nor is working on a holiday deemed overtime.” Holidays are treated like any other business day under federal law.

Despite not being compelled to, according to a Bloomberg study, 86% of firms pay their workers a little bit more on Labour Day. Employers will specifically pay time-and-a-half in 27% of cases, extra pay in 18% of cases, compensatory time in 16% of cases, double time in 16% of cases, and time-and-a-half in 16% of cases.

According to the report, 9% of businesses offer additional days off in addition to normal compensation. Less than 10% of companies that require workers to work on Labour Day only pay regular wages.

How to decide if your employees should work Labour Day

Porto advises businesses to take numerous aspects into account when determining which holidays to provide employees time off from work and how many, if any, employees should be expected to work on such days.

  • Instead of assuming that someone’s personal situation, such as their marital or family status, makes them more or less likely to want time off, employees should think about finding an equitable method, such as a rotation, to determine which employees get which holidays off and which are on the schedule to work.
  • Employers should take into account granting employee requests for religiously-related holiday absences if doing so won’t have a negative impact on their operations. These days off do not necessarily have to be compensated, but if a PTO or vacation plan is offered, staff members should be permitted to utilize it in such circumstances.
  • When one employee is scheduled to work while others enjoy the day off with pay, several states demand extra pay or another day off in place of the holiday.
  • Employers should be care to notify employees who are scheduled to work in advance if holiday operating hours will be curtailed. If employees arrive at work and are sent home earlier than expected owing to a lack of work or an early closing, several jurisdictions demand that a minimum number of hours be paid.

Porto also advises companies to establish a clear written holiday policy that specifies which holidays the business is closed on, if holiday pay is provided on those days, and whether or not a premium is provided for employees who are scheduled to work if the business is open. “Ideally, staff should be informed in advance if the holiday schedule changes so they can make accommodations appropriately,” she added.

The history of Labour Day

According to the U.S. Department of Labour, Labour Day, which is observed on the first Monday in September, is an annual national homage to the sacrifices workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the United States. In New York City, the first Labour Day holiday was observed in 1882. The celebration only began to spread to other industrial hubs of the nation three years later.

Who really founded Labour Day is a matter of considerable contention. According to, “many give credit to Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labour, while others claim that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labour Union, was the one who initially proposed the holiday.”

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