What to Do if You Have to Work on a Holiday

It’s that time of year again: the holidays are here, and from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, office workers will have a lot of time off, right? Well, what if you’re in a job that does business through the holidays and you’re asked to work? Or what if you tried to get vacation time off for the holidays and you were denied? What do you do if you must work for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve?

Firstly, if you were asked to come in and you already agreed, don’t back out. It would look bad if you suddenly got “sick” the day you were supposed to come into work. Your boss will see right through it. Of course, no one really wants to work on these holidays, but if you have to, do what you must do.

Definitely make sure to ask about your pay though. You may be paid extra for coming in on a holiday. However, this is not mandatory. In fact, legally, your boss doesn’t have to pay you overtime or give you holiday pay. Know the policy ahead of time so you’re not surprised once your holiday paycheck comes in.

Also, ask about the hours. It’s possible you may only be scheduled for a half-day, which isn’t the worst thing. You can still spend half your day with your family, so the day isn’t a total loss. Even if you are scheduled for a full day, depending on the type of job you have, if there’s nothing going on and too many employees are sitting around, your boss may let you go home early.

Overall, it’s important to have a good attitude. If you’ve been asked to come into work on a holiday, it’s probably for a good reason. If you’re a team player and willing to help, your boss will remember that. You could be considered for a raise next year or even a holiday bonus.