A  question recently sent to us asks why the writer was unable to get his employer to pay for "overtime" worked on Christmas and New Year’s Day.  As a point of general information, the right to overtime arises only after 40 hours are worked in one week.  If the time spent working on holidays does not bring the week’s total hours to more than 40 then there is no right to overtime. 

Another possibility is if the employer agreed in advance to pay overtime rate for holiday time worked, either on an individual basis or under a collective bargaining agreement.

If the employer either has agreed contractually to pay an overtime rate, or weekly hours worked total more than 40, but the employer has refused to pay, the quickest and easiest remedy is to file a complaint with the NJ Department of Labor.    In most cases there is no need to hire a lawyer to do this.

Another suggestion: if your employer asks you to work on Christmas, make sure he commits in writing to pay at the overtime rate before you give up your holiday.