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New York holidays: Laws and requirements for employers

8 min read
New York holidays

New York has officially designated a number of days each calendar year as state holidays. These days are observed throughout the state, and they serve as opportunities for people to commemorate and celebrate various events, achievements, and historical figures that have shaped the state’s identity and culture. But what are the implications of these New York holidays on public and private employers?

In this comprehensive guide, we will take a look at all NYS holidays in 2024 and explore state time off requirements for employers. We will also highlight which New York leave and labor laws you need to keep in mind when you design your employee time off policies.

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New York holidays in 2024

Let’s start by taking a look at all New York holidays celebrated in the state.

Federal holidays 2024 in New York State:

  • New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1, 2024)
  • Martin Luther King’s Birthday (Monday, January 15, 2024)
  • Lincoln’s Birthday (Monday, February 12, 2024)
  • Washington’s Birthday (Monday, February 19, 2024)
  • Memorial Day (Monday, May 27, 2024)
  • Juneteenth (Wednesday, June 19, 2024)
  • Independence Day (Thursday, July 4,2024)
  • Labor Day (Monday, September 2, 2024)
  • Columbus Day (Monday, October 14, 2024)
  • Veterans’ Day (Monday, November 11, 2024)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28, 2024)
  • Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25, 2024)

Additional holidays in New York 2024:

  • Election day (Tuesday, November 5, 2024)
  • Flag day (June 14, 2024 – only observed in Pennsylvania, some government offices observe it in NY)

New York City holidays 2024 – not officially recognized

  • Lunar New Year (Saturday, February 10, 2024)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (Sunday, March 17, 2024)
  • NYC Pride March (Sunday, June 30th, 2024)
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Thursday, November 28, 2024)
  • New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31, 2024)

However, the NYC holiday calendar 2024 does not include these NYC holidays. As a result, unlike officially observed celebrations such as labor day 2024 NYC, there is no obligation to offer paid or unpaid time off to employees. Employers can choose to include them in their NYC pay calendar 2024, but there is no legal obligation.

What holidays are paid holidays in New York state?

You must pay eligible employees for the following 6 New York holidays:

  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Election Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

But what is an eligible employee?

Essentially, the employee must:

  • Work for an employer with 5 or more employees
  • Have worked for you for at least 26 consecutive weeks
  • Be scheduled to work on the holiday

If an employee meets the above criteria, then you must provide them with time off with pay or, if they choose to work, premium pay. In all other cases, the specific rules for paid holidays will depend on your leave policy. For example, some employers offer a set number of days of paid leave, while other employers offer unlimited PTO, personal time off, VTO, or flexible time off.

There is one other exception to this rule. In the case of federal and state employees, employers must provide holiday pay for all officially designated federal and state holidays.

What holidays do NYS employees get off in 2024?

Some of the New York holidays mentioned above, such as New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day, are typically observed as days off for employees in both the public and private sectors. As with other states like Texas and Florida, these are federal holidays, and many businesses, offices, and government institutions are closed on these days.

However, it’s important to note that the designation of holidays and whether they are observed as days off can vary depending on the specific employer, industry, and collective bargaining agreements. While federal holidays are generally recognized nationwide, the specific policies regarding paid time off or work schedules on these holidays may vary from one employer to another.

Regarding New York state holidays like Juneteenth and Flag Day, it is up to the employer to decide whether they will offer days off for these New York holidays. Some companies and organizations choose to recognize these holidays and provide time off, while others do not.

It is also worth noting that New York State has designated Lincoln’s Birthday as a floating holiday in 2024 for state employees in certain bargaining units. This means that, depending on negotiations with labor unions, certain state employees have the flexibility to choose when to take Lincoln’s Birthday as a paid holiday in 2024.

Requirements for holiday pay in New York State

If an employer chooses to pay employees for taking time off for any of the above New York holidays, they must follow certain rules.

  • Your organization must observe the holiday. This means that you must close your business or allow employees to take the day off.
  • You must provide holiday pay if the employee would normally be working on that day.
  • Your organization must pay the employee their regular hourly rate of pay.
  • You must process this holiday on the next regular payday after the holiday.

If an employer does not follow these rules, they may be liable to their employees for unpaid wages.

Here are a couple of additional things to keep in mind about holiday pay in New York State:

  • Employers do not have to give employees the same amount of holiday pay for all holidays. For example, you could choose to give employees double pay for Christmas Day, but only regular pay for other holidays.
  • Employers do not have to give employees holiday pay if the employee voluntarily works on the holiday. However, if an employee does work on a holiday, you may have to offer them premium pay.

Related: Labor Laws for New York Employers

Requirements for holiday pay for state employees

The rules governing holiday pay are slightly different for federal and state employees in New York State.

Specifically, state employees are entitled to paid time off for the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Washington’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

In terms of how much you have to pay them, you must provide state employees with 1/10 of their regular biweekly gross salary for each holiday.

Moreover, you must offer state employees who work on a holiday either time off with pay or premium pay.

If they choose to work, you must offer them either:

  • Time and a half pay for the hours worked.
  • Their regular hourly rate of pay plus 8 hours of straight-time pay.

You must process holiday pay on the next regular payday after the holiday.

In addition:

  • You do not have to offer state employees holiday pay if they are on leave on the day of the holiday.
  • You do not have to offer state employees holiday pay if they are absent from work without pay on the day of the holiday. For example, if an employee calls in sick on Thanksgiving Day, you do not have to provide them with holiday pay.
  • State employees who work on a holiday may be eligible for overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week.

Are there any other New York leave and labor laws that employers should keep in mind?

So, aside from the requirements for holidays in 2024 in New York, which other leave and labor laws should you keep in mind when you create your employee time off policies?

In fact, New York State has some of the most comprehensive leave and labor laws in the country. These laws protect an employee’s right to time off for certain reasons, such as sick leave, family leave, and vacation. They also provide employees with additional protections to ensure a fair and equitable working environment.

Let’s explore the most notable state requirements that you need to be aware of.

Sick leave

New York State has its own Paid Sick Leave Law. This law requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide employees with 5 days of paid sick leave per year. Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid sick leave. This is in addition to any sick leave that may be provided by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Moreover, employees can use this leave for any reason, including illness, injury, or to care for a sick family member.

Paid family leave

Aside from the federal laws governing parental leave, New York also has its own Paid Family Leave Law. This law requires employers with 20 or more employees to provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid family leave per year.  Employees can use this leave for a variety of reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child, the care of a sick family member, or bonding with a new child.

Domestic violence leave

Domestic violence victims are covered under the New York City Human Rights Law. New York has amended this law to expand protection from employment discrimination for victims of domestic violence. As a result, employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to deal with the effects of domestic violence. Employees can use this leave to seek medical attention, relocate, or attend court proceedings.

Vacation leave

There are no state laws in New York that require employers to provide paid vacation leave to their employees. However, many employers in NYS choose to offer paid vacation leave as part of their employee compensation packages.

There are also no state laws in New York that regulate how employees accrue vacation leave. As a result, employers are free to set their own vacation payout and PTO carry over policies. For example, some employers may pay out unused vacation leave when an employee terminates their employment, while others may not.

Additional leave laws

In addition to the above, New York State also has laws that protect employees’ rights to leave for other reasons, such as jury duty, military leave, and religious holidays.

Employee rights in the workplace

Aside from specific leave laws, New York State has certain laws that protect employees’ rights in the workplace. This includes the right to be free from discrimination and harassment, the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and the right to fair wages and hours.

Fair Workweek Law

The New York Fair Workweek Law (FWWL) applies to employers in the state of New York with 10 or more employees. The law sets rules around scheduling, scheduling predictability, and premium pay.

Specifically, the FWWL requires employers to:

  • Provide employees with predictable schedules. Employers must give employees their work schedules at least 14 days in advance, or as soon as practicable if the schedule changes less than 14 days in advance.
  • Pay premium pay for working certain shifts. Employers must pay employees premium pay for working certain shifts, such as clopening shifts (closing and opening shifts on the same day) and split shifts (two or more shifts in one day with at least five hours between shifts).
  • Allow employees to refuse shifts.

The FWWL also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

Day of Rest Law

Finally, New York State’s Day of Rest Law requires employers to give their employees at least one day of rest in seven. This means that you cannot require an employee to work more than six consecutive days, and you must give them at least 24 consecutive hours off each week.

The Day of Rest Law applies to most employers in New York State, with a few exceptions:

  • Organizations with fewer than five employees
  • Employers in the retail or service industries
  • Employers who operate on a 24/7 basis


How to stay compliant with state time off requirements

As an employer in New York, it is important to stay compliant with state time off requirements. These requirements can be complex and vary depending on the type of employment, so it is important to familiarize yourself with them.

One way to stay compliant is to use a time management system like Factorial. Factorial’s cloud-based time management system can help you track employee hours, manage leave requests, and ensure that you are compliant with state regulations.

Features of the platform include:

  • A centralized time tracking system. Factorial allows you to track employee hours from anywhere, so you can easily see how much time each employee has worked. This can help you ensure that employees are not working overtime or taking unauthorized time off.
  • A leave management system. Factorial allows you to create and manage leave requests. You can also easily track employee leave balances through the integrated leave management system and approve or deny requests in a timely manner.

In addition to these features, Factorial also offers a number of other features that can help you manage employee time off, such as:

  • Geofencing, so you can ensure that employees are only clocking in and out when they are at work.
  • Automatic time off approvals, so you can automatically approve or deny time off requests based on pre-defined rules.
  • Absence reporting, so you can track trends and identify areas where you may need to make changes.

As a result of all this, you can easily manage employee time off for all New York holidays, maintain a productive and organized workforce, and reduce the risk of potential legal issues associated with non-compliance.

Cat Symonds is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Originally from Wales, she studied Spanish and French at the University of Swansea before moving to Barcelona where she lived and worked for 12 years. She has since relocated back to Wales where she continues to build her business, working with clients in Spain and the UK.  Cat is the founder of The Content CAT: Content And Translation, providing content development and translation services to her clients. She specializes in corporate blogs, articles of interest, ghostwriting, and translation (SP/FR/CA into EN), collaborating with a range of companies from a variety of business sectors. She also offers services to a number of NGOs including Oxfam Intermón, UNICEF, and Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership.  For more information or to contact Cat visit her website ( or send her a message through LinkedIn.

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