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What Will Happen If Payday Falls on a Holiday?

What Will Happen If Payday Falls on a Holiday?What Will Happen If Payday Falls on a Holiday?
What if payday is a holiday?

Updated: February 14, 2024 

As a small business owner, you plan your financial cycles down to the penny to maximize efficiency. Employees' ability to stick to a budget and pay bills on time depends on payroll consistency. But what happens when a scheduled payday falls on a holiday, and banks are closed? Even worse - it's a Monday holiday after a long weekend.

Suddenly, that reliable direct deposit paycheck is in limbo. For both parties, it appears to be a lose-lose situation. As a conscientious employer, you want to avoid late paychecks, which annoy employees and cause household financial hardship. Yet, distributing paper checks without direct deposit requires extra legwork for you. 

The situation may appear destined for hardship, but it doesn't have to be that way. You can manage holiday payroll easily by being well-prepared. This guide will teach you how to maintain professional payroll standards even when the calendar throws you a curveball. You'll discover how to pay employees on time while also extending goodwill.

What Happens If the Holiday Is a Bank Holiday?

Do I get paid if payday falls on a holiday?

Almost all financial transactions are fully suspended on a bank holiday like Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or Thanksgiving. The Federal Reserve recognizes and sets these days in advance for companies to keep track of them. If payday falls on these days, banks cannot process or transfer scheduled payments. That’s why there are standard practices if this happens, such as paying them before or after the holiday.

Payroll processing options

Pay early
Process payroll a day or two before the holiday to ensure on-time payment. This may require adjusting the regular schedule and notifying employees earlier.

Delay payments
Some companies delay payroll by a day or two to avoid paying early. However, this may cause financial challenges for employees and require extra communication to set expectations.

Same-day payroll
Specific processors continue paying their staff on holidays like President's Day or Columbus Day, as banks are open and can process direct deposits without problems. However, physical paychecks may need to be distributed before or after the holiday.

Legal obligations

When a federal holiday falls on payday, employers are legally required to process payroll and pay employees according to specific guidelines. Obeying the state and federal labor laws regarding holidays and overtime compensation is a significant part of this.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay, 1.5 times their regular hourly rate, if they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Employees must, therefore, receive overtime pay if they work on a federal holiday that coincides with a regular workday. Even if the worker gets a salary instead of hourly pay, these overtime requirements still apply.

The timing of pay distribution must also comply with state pay frequency laws. Most states require employees to be paid in full within a specific timeframe, either semi-monthly or bi-weekly. Employers should ensure wages are distributed on the preceding business day or through an alternate pay schedule if a payday falls on a holiday.

All employers are legally required to provide appropriate holiday pay and maintain payment frequency. Payroll and HR professionals must ensure compliance with federal and state labor laws when paydays coincide with holidays. With careful planning and policy communication, many of these delays and legal issues can be avoided.

So what exactly happens when payday falls on a weekend?

If the payday falls on the weekend, some firms will process payroll on the preceding Friday to ensure employees get paid before the long weekend, especially if a holiday falls on Monday. Some employers follow this common practice: if the payday comes on a Saturday, you can pay your employees on the Friday before; if the payday falls on a Sunday, the payment will be processed on the Monday after that.

Practical Tips for Implementation

How to pay employees on time?

Plan ahead

When a company holiday falls on the same day as a scheduled payday, payroll teams must prepare in advance. A proactive approach and preparation can help your staff avoid potential problems on payday.

The key is to start preparing early. Payroll teams should compare the annual company holiday schedule with the pay dates as soon as it is determined. Indicate, as quickly as possible, any inconsistencies or overlapping dates. This gives enough time to modify pay cycles, initiate early direct deposits, and alert managers.

Being proactive, detail-oriented, and well-organized is critical when paydays and holidays coincide. Payroll automation using software can prevent the stress of last-minute scrambling by creating comprehensive plans in advance. As a result, employees have a seamless pay experience, and employers are shown to respect their time and financial needs, even on holidays.

Review your payroll processing deadlines

Each payroll processor has different cutoff days and times when payroll files must be submitted to guarantee on-time pay delivery. Review these deadlines in advance to get payroll submitted on time before the holiday to minimize delays. Processing payrolls earlier also builds in extra time in case of issues.

Communicate with your bank

Talk to your finance team and bank about timing issues related to the holiday payday. Ensure you know when deposits must be initiated and when funds must be available for payroll. Especially if your payroll falls on a Monday holiday, account for extra days with banks closed over the weekend.

Have a backup plan

Despite the best-laid plans, technological glitches can happen. If your payroll processor encounters system issues that delay deposits, you should have a contingency plan. Even if you can’t pay electronically on the holiday, prepare paper paychecks ahead of time to distribute on the closest business day.

Notify employees in advance

Should I tell my employees about payday when it falls on a holiday?

Give your workers advance notice of several weeks if their paycheck falls on a holiday. Explain that they will receive their pay a day early or late. Make sure the date is precise so they can plan accordingly.

Send out a company-wide email detailing the exact revised payday. Specify the holiday on which payday was initially scheduled and the new date that live checks or direct deposits will be issued. Remind employees to mark this date on their calendars.

As a follow-up to the email, hand-deliver or place a paper memo in each employee's mailbox. Email is effective, but a paper notification ensures everyone gets the message—even if they do not receive it in their inbox. Paper memos posted on bulletin boards and break room message boards are also helpful reminders.

Payroll changes may lead to financial difficulties and frustration for your employees. However, keeping employees informed well in advance and explaining the reasons for the shift can ease anxieties. Maintain goodwill by reminding them that it’s a rare occurrence that a holiday falls on the scheduled payday. Reinforce that standard pay policies and procedures will resume during the next pay period.

Prioritize direct deposit

Encourage all employees to use direct deposit if they haven’t already. This allows pay to be automatically deposited into their bank account on the scheduled date, even if banks are closed for the holiday. Assure employees their pay will be available in their account on the next business day if you can’t process direct deposits on the holiday.

Digital payroll reduces paper waste and resource consumption over time and streamlines processing compared to paper checks. Making environmentally responsible decisions regarding payroll operations shows your company's social responsibility in yet another area of excellent employee relations and retention.

Offer flexible paycheck pickup

How do I get my salary if payday falls on a holiday?

If paying with paper checks on the holiday is unavoidable, provide employees flexibility around when they can pick up checks. Allow them to swing by a day or two before or after the holiday. Just be sure your office is open or make arrangements for check distribution.

Potential paper check distribution options include:

  • Requiring in-person staff pick-up before or after the holiday
  • Mailing checks early to arrive ahead of holiday weekends
  • Allowing minimal holiday staffing solely to hand out checks, ensuring on-time payment

Pay the correct holiday pay

Don’t forget to factor holiday pay policies into that payroll if employees are entitled to different wages or overtime on the official holiday. Review who qualifies for the premium pay and make the required adjustments. Failing to pay time and a half or other holiday wages will put you at risk for legal problems and negate employee goodwill.

Show employee appreciation

While planning holiday payroll may involve some headaches for you, it also poses challenges for employees. Show workers you empathize with and appreciate their flexibility during this payroll transition. Treat staff to a holiday lunch, offer an early office closing, or provide gift cards for employees who may incur late payment fees due to the off-pay cycle. These actions help to foster loyalty by demonstrating that workers' needs are valued and essential.

With some care taken upfront, a holiday landing on payday shouldn’t cause too many ripples. Following the outlined best practices will help make the process smooth for you and your workers. Handled right, employees will feel the company has their back, even when payroll gets thrown an occasional curveball.


To sum up, dealing with the difficulties of a payday that falls on a holiday calls for preparation ahead of time and meticulous implementation. Payroll consistency should be a top priority for owners of businesses of any size when it comes to meeting legal requirements and looking out for employees' financial security. Businesses may stay on the up-and-up and prevent hiccups by being familiar with their choices, which include paying early, postponing payments, or using same-day payroll processors.

The key to a well-managed holiday payroll is preparation, which includes reviewing processing deadlines and communicating clearly with employees. Making sure everyone follows the rules for holiday pay, providing multiple ways to pick up paychecks, and encouraging direct deposit all help to make things go more smoothly. The employer-employee connection is strengthened, and the work atmosphere is improved when workers are thanked and appreciated for their flexibility throughout these changes.

When it comes down to it, a well-planned holiday payroll process allows businesses and their workers to weather these unpredictable storms with relative ease. Even when faced with unforeseen calendar curveballs, organizations may uphold their dedication to professionalism and employee well-being by following best practices and showing empathy and support for their staff. Explore our payroll software reviews, blog articles, and comparisons to choose the ideal solution for your payroll processing challenges.

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