Holiday Pay

Holiday pay is a crucial aspect of employee compensation and benefits, ensuring that workers are fairly remunerated for holidays. It is a practice that varies significantly across different countries, influenced by cultural, economic, and legal factors..

What is Holiday Pay?

Holiday pay refers to the compensation employees receive for holidays. It ensures that employees are paid their regular wages during designated holidays, even if they do not work on those days. It can also be a form of increased payment if an employee works on a recognised holiday. 

Holiday pay is an essential component of employee benefits, promoting work-life balance and acknowledging the importance of rest and celebration.

What are Paid Holidays?

Paid holidays are specific days designated by employers or governments on which employees are entitled to take a day off with pay. These holidays often coincide with national, cultural, or religious celebrations. 

Is Holiday Pay Required by the Law?

The requirement for holiday pay depends on the country where the business operates. In some countries, holiday pay is mandated by law, while in others, it is left to the discretion of employers.

In the United States:

  • There is no law requiring holiday pay for private sector employees. Employers are not required to provide paid holidays, and holiday pay policies are typically determined by company policies or collective bargaining agreements.
  • However, many employers choose to offer paid holidays as a competitive benefit to attract and retain employees. Common paid holidays in the US include Independence Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving Day.

Holiday Pay in Different Countries

Holiday pay regulations and practices vary widely across the globe. Here is an overview of how holiday pay is implemented in several countries:

In the UK

In the UK, employers are not required to provide paid leave for bank or public holidays. They have the option to count these holidays as part of an employee's statutory annual leave. 

However, as in the US,  many employers choose to provide additional compensation if an employee works on a bank holiday. 

In Singapore

In Singapore, the Employment Act governs holiday pay.

  • Employees are entitled to 11 paid public holidays each year. If an employee needs to work on a public holiday, they are entitled to an additional day's salary at the basic rate of pay or a day off in lieu.
  • Common paid holidays include Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, and National Day.

In the Philippines

In the Philippines, holiday pay is mandated by the Labor Code.

  • Employees who don’t report for work during a recognised holiday must still receive 100% of their day’s rate. If they report for work, then they are entitled to a higher rate. You can learn more about setting up a payroll in the Philippines here
  • Regular holidays include New Year's Day, Independence Day, and Christmas Day. Special non-working holidays are also observed, but holiday pay rules differ slightly, often requiring a premium pay rate if employees work on those days.

In New Zealand

In New Zealand, holiday pay is regulated by the Holidays Act 2003.

  • Employees are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave and 12 public holidays each year.
  • If an employee works on a public holiday, they must be paid at least time and a half, and they are entitled to a day off in lieu (an alternative holiday).

In Australia

Employees are entitled to their base pay rate for their regular working hours if they didn’t report to work due to a public holiday. In Australia, the base rate of pay excludes overtime, penalty rates, bonuses, incentive payments, loadings, allowances, and other identifiable amounts.

Note that employees are not entitled to payment if they do not have regular working hours on the recognised holiday.

Benefits of Holiday Pay

Compliance with holiday pay laws is essential for businesses to avoid legal penalties and foster a positive work environment. Below are the additional benefits holiday pay offers employers:

  • Employee Satisfaction: Offering holiday pay boosts employee morale and job satisfaction.
  • Increased Productivity: Well-rested employees tend to be more productive and engaged.
  • Talent Attraction: Companies that offer holiday pay are more attractive to potential hires.
  • Employee Retention: Providing holiday pay helps retain valuable employees by enhancing their overall benefits package.
  • Positive Company Culture: Holiday pay contributes to a supportive and inclusive work environment.
  • Enhanced Reputation: Companies known for fair compensation practices, including holiday pay, enjoy a better reputation in the job market.


Holiday pay is an essential aspect of employee compensation, ensuring that workers are fairly compensated for designated holidays. While the specific regulations and practices vary by country, the principle of holiday pay remains a fundamental component of labour rights and employee benefits. Understanding the legal requirements and cultural practices surrounding holiday pay is crucial for employers operating in different regions, as it helps promote employee satisfaction, compliance with labour laws, and a positive work environment.

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