Type of Policy
Policy No
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Human Resources
Contact Name
Kevin Merkel
Contact Title
Senior Director-Payroll and Total Rewards
Contact Email
Policy Statement

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require payment for vacations or holidays (federal or otherwise). Paid holidays and vacations are generally a matter of agreement between an employer and an employee. Paid holidays shall be awarded in addition to earned vacation time and shall be observed in accordance with the rules and regulations set forth by the respective institutions. 

In order to receive pay for the holidays, an employee must be in active pay status the day before and the day after the holiday. Active pay status is defined as working regularly scheduled hours immediately preceding and following the holiday. Employees receiving excused absences prior to and following the holiday will be eligible to receive the holiday pay provided. Excused absences include approved sick, vacation, bereavement, jury duty, and other FMLA related absences.

The Institute observes 13 official paid holidays each calendar year. A schedule of holidays is published each year by the Institute and can be found at https://hr.gatech.edu/payroll.

Holidays are not carried into another calendar year. If the holiday time is not taken by the end of the year, it must be forfeited.


Regular employees and faculty working one-half time or more


Non-Exempt full- and part-time employees: If a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled workday, the employee will be paid for their standard hours as holiday pay. Should an employee’s normal work schedule not include a holiday, that employee’s supervisor should schedule an alternate “holiday” to ensure the employee receives the “benefited” holiday time allowed by the University System of Georgia. When determining eligibility for overtime pay, holiday hours are not counted as hours worked.

Exempt part-time employees: If a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled workday, the employee will observe that holiday. Should an employee’s normal work schedule not include a holiday, that employee’s supervisor should schedule an alternate “holiday” to ensure the employee receives the “benefited” holiday time allowed by the University System of Georgia. Exempt employees are not paid hourly, and their monthly salary will remain the same as though there were no holiday hours.

Special conditions

Termination: A terminating employee shall not be paid for any official holidays occurring after the last working day of employment.

Retirement or inter-institutional transfer: Employees will receive pay for holidays occurring at the end of their final month of employment if they are in a paid status (work time, annual leave, sick leave, or other paid leave) on the last scheduled workday of the month.

Compressed Work Week Schedules: Holidays count as eight hours; therefore, if an employee is on a 10-hour a day schedule and one of their workdays fall on an Institute holiday, the employee must work an additional two hours another day of the work week. Otherwise, regular policies regarding holiday pay should be followed.

Remote Units & Police Department: Operating units that are physically remote from the main campus in Atlanta, the Police Department and staff supporting affiliated organizations may be permitted to observe a holiday schedule more consistent with that of the host organization. This schedule is not to exceed the number of holidays per year allowed for the University by the Board of Regents.

Partial Year Employees: Partial-year employees are not eligible for holiday pay for those holidays occurring during the designated leave period, nor are they eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits during this period.

Part-time benefited employees: Employees who work part-time and receive benefits are eligible for holiday pay on a pro-rated basis.

Non-benefited employees: Regular employees and faculty working less than one-half time are not eligible for holiday pay.

Religious Observance

We consider each individual's decision to either engage in or refrain from religious worship to be worthy of respect and consideration, therefore, we encourage reasonable accommodations be provided for observance of religious holidays.

Employees should inform their supervisor in advance, specifically requesting an adjusted work schedule related to religious purposes. Depending upon business needs, you may be able to work on a day that is normally observed as a holiday and then take time off for another religious day.  Also, planned absences for such requests may be taken as paid vacation leave (if applicable); as time off without pay; or be permitted as alternative work hours at a time and manner agreed upon by the employee and the responsible supervisor or manager. The hours worked in lieu of the normal work schedule may be scheduled before or after the religious observance within the workweek, so as not to create any entitlement to premium pay (including overtime pay). An employee’s request for time off should not be granted without simultaneously scheduling the hours the employee will work to make up the time, in order to provide a clear record of the employee’s adjusted work schedule. If an employee is absent when he or she is scheduled to perform work to make up for a planned absence for a religious observance, the employee must take paid leave, request leave without pay, or be charged absent without leave, if appropriate. These are the same options that apply to any other absence from an employee’s basic work schedule.

Alternative holidays for essential work: At times, the operating demands of a department make it necessary for all or a portion of the staff to work on a scheduled/official Institute holiday. If a non-exempt employee is designated as essential and is required to work on an official Institute holiday, the employee's supervisor may choose one of the following holiday pay options:

  1. Grant the employee another workday off with pay by designating that day as the employee's paid holiday.
  2. Pay the employee their holiday pay, plus pay the employee at their regular rate of pay for the additional time actually worked on the holiday. Under this option, the employee does not receive another day off with pay for having worked an official holiday.

The responsibilities each party has in connection with the Campus Holiday Policy are:

Party Responsibility
Institution Chief Human Resources Officers Ensure compliance with policy.
GTHR Payroll Offer assistance with policy interpretation.