McDonald’s to Open on Christmas Day: Holiday Pay, Overtime, and Unions

McDonald’s is pushing its franchise owners to open their stores on Christmas, and the fast-food chain won’t be paying workers holiday overtime at company-owned stores. Traditionally, many employers that require employees to work on major holidays extend some bonuses or an increased pay rate for the day; does that mean McDonald’s and other stores have any requirement to pay holiday overtime?

Holiday Pay Not Required and Overtime Rules Still Apply

A common myth among many business owners is that they are required to provide days off for holiday to their employees and if they do require them to work, they have to be prepared to pay them extra. Even in the employee-friendly state of California there is no requirement to provide employees with paid holidays nor a “holiday pay.” The law allows employers to set their own holidays, if any. They must follow their policy, but there are some employers that do not provide for any holidays at all.

As a clarification, overtime rules still apply, i.e. if the non-exempt employee who works more than eight hours in one day or more than forty in one work week is entitled to overtime pay.

Employees May Face Repercussions for Noncompliance

santa mcdonalds

At-will employees may be terminated or demoted for any legal reason. Employees generally have no given right not to work on a holiday unless it’s for religious reasons–even so, this issue gets complicated depending on the number of employees and whether the employer may make reasonable accommodation.

Opening on Christmas, A New Trend?

Last Thanksgiving, Walmart received a lot of press for opening early on Thanksgiving day, even though it was late in the day. There is probably not much difference between opening at 8 PM and 12 A.M. that same evening as did many other retailers. McDonald’s is also not the only fast food restaurant to stay open with some franchises like Jack In-the-Box doing it for years.

Some argue that these moves to open on holidays stems from the struggling economy and recession. It is not clear whether it is just the economy that is contributing to these types of decisions, but rather the change in culture or stigma of remaining open on such a holiday. There was a time when selling gas on Sunday was taboo.

A Fight for Unions

These kinds of moves among big box stores and fast food conglomerates has further drawn the attention of various trade unions. McDonald’s and Walmart obviously do not have union employees, but there is definitely a push to change that.  A business model which relies upon minimum wage workers may help convince employees who desire unionization to be scared off with the argument that the company would be unable to afford it and downsize accordingly.

Federal and state law guarantee the right to form unions. Nothing is automatic and there is a process, but from an employer perspective, unions due pose a significant threat to its bottom line. There are many legal ways that businesses can do to prevent unionization. Walmart is said to even have a hotline for its managers for tips on remaining union free in the event they hear of union organization among its workers.


Ready to speak with an attorney? Contact Form below.

Misclassifying Your Workforce

This free guide shows you how to avoid the worst & most common mistake in your business.

Get Free Download Now

Other Articles You May Like:
  • Everything (Legal) You Wanted to Know about Drones [145]

    January 30, 2015

    Nasir and Matt end the week by diving into the topic of drones and where the law stands with their usage. Transcript: NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business in the news and add our legal twist. And my name is Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. NASIR: I keep...
    Read More

  • Can I Trademark My Hashtag?

    January 29, 2015

    Once the sole province of Twitter users, the hashtag is everywhere now — on social networks, products, television and at political events. Hashtags are increasingly used to market a wide range of products, services, events and brands. If your business wants to use a hashtag as part of a marketing campaign, can you trademark it?...
    Read More

  • Why Everyone is an Expert on Startup Valuations [e144]

    January 28, 2015

    The guys talk about the different methods to value a startup, particularly when the business is pre-revenue. Transcript: NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business in the news and add our little legal twist to it like a little lemon at the end of a… what do you add lemons to?...
    Read More

  • Legal Guide on Buying & Selling a Website or Mobile App

    January 27, 2015

    There are plenty of websites, web-based apps, mobile-based apps, or other internet-based business that are actually profitable. A unique result of easy entry into these types of businesses is that it is more likely they will reach plateau below their potential due to the inexperience by the management of the original founders and developers. Relatively inexperienced...
    Read More

  • Can Companies Prohibit Employees from Gossiping? [e143]

    January 26, 2015

    Nasir and Matt discuss the app that allows employees to post anonymous messages about their employers.  They also talk about the legalities of banning gossip in the workplace. Transcript: NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast. My name is Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. NASIR: Did I have an accent there? I feel...
    Read More

  • The Legalities of Exploding Glitter and Mailing Animal Feces [e142]

    January 23, 2015

    Nasir and Matt end the week by talking about businesses based on pranks, including exploding glitter and mailing animal feces. Transcript: NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business legal news. My name is Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. NASIR: Welcome to our program – probably the best podcast that...
    Read More

  • Trends in Privacy Law for 2015

    January 22, 2015

    Privacy is back in 2015. Just when many observers were ready to declare privacy dead, consumers and businesspeople have developed new concerns about how information is being collected, sold, manipulated and even accessed by government agencies. The hacking scandals continued; Snapchat images, to the horror of many people, really do not disappear. And now the international...
    Read More

  • What to Consider When Hiring Employees in 2015 [e141]

    January 21, 2015

    The guys discuss the recent developments in employment law for 2015 and what employers should consider when hiring new employees. Transcript: NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business legal news. My name is Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. NASIR: And, today, we are talking about hiring employees in 2015....
    Read More

  • Cofounder Charged with Murder! Get Rid of a Business Partner

    January 20, 2015

    There are many reasons to get rid of a business partner. In fact, my guilty pleasure is prying into the lives of business partner problems on Reddit. The same mistakes are made over and over again by these wantrepreneurs. I have the luxury of pointing and laughing, but for these posters, the stress is real. For those seasoned, you...
    Read More

  • How Partnerships Can Make or Break a Business [e140]

    January 19, 2015

    Nasir and Matt kick off the week by diving into the topic of partnerships and the important things to remember before forming the partnership. Transcript: NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast where we cover business legal news. My name is Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. NASIR: And welcome to our program once...
    Read More