Paid Holidays in Florida (2024 Guide for Employers)

For a business owner operating in Florida, managing paid holidays on top of the daily workplace concerns for time tracking, scheduling, PTO accrual, and payroll might seem like a straw that breaks the camel’s back. Especially when you take into account that the federal government’s rules in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require business owners to offer paid holidays to their employees.

And yet, despite the fact that paid holidays are optional, stats show that 80% of private business owners offer them to their employees. Why?

In this post, we’re going to cover everything a business owner needs to know about paid holidays, from what they are, to the difference between state and federal holidays, to why it’s worthwhile for any business owner to offer them. By the end of this post, you should be well positioned to take your Florida business operations to the next level.

What is a Paid Holiday?

A paid holiday is a national, state, or religious holiday that Florida employers have the eligibility to grant their employees. Doing so means that employees will be compensated a full day’s worth of wages despite having the day off.

Who do Paid Holidays apply to?

Only public employers, including agencies working at the municipal, state, or federal level, are required to offer paid holidays to their public employees. Business owners operating in the private sector have no such obligation through federal law.

That said, a private employer that chooses to offer paid holidays or paid breaks to employees is bound by law to any agreement they set out in their PTO policy, employee contract, or other written documentation.

Federal Holidays

The list of all 2024 federal holidays to be observed (regardless of what state you’re in) and the date they fall on is as follows:

  • New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 15 – Third Monday in January)
  • George Washington’s Birthday / President’s Day (Monday, February 19)
  • Memorial Day (Monday, May 27 – Last Monday in May)
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day (Wednesday, June 19)
  • Independence Day (Thursday, July 4)
  • Labor Day (Monday, September 2)
  • Columbus Day (Monday, October 14)
  • Veterans Day (Monday, November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28)
  • Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25)

Some federal holidays have different names and natures across various states. For example, some states in the southern U.S. celebrate Robert E. Lee day instead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

There are a few rules that apply to all holidays. For example, if a holiday falls on a Saturday, employees are given the preceding Friday before the holiday off. If a holiday happens to land on a Sunday, employees get a day off the following Monday.

Holidays Specific to the State of Florida

Florida state holidays are numerous, and Florida even offers full-time employees working for the state one personal holiday each year. Employees also receive one personal paid holiday each year when they are hired and every July afterwards. They have until June 30th of the following year to use it or lose it. Also, each part-time employee is entitled to a personal holiday each year which must be calculated proportionately to the personal holiday allowed to a full-time employee.

In regards to the Florida state holidays, many of them are not required to be observed by state law, not even for state employees.

Impact of Common Florida Leave Laws

While we’re observing the overall impact of paid holidays on work hours, let’s take a look at Florida’s Labor Laws.

Sick Time

Florida does not currently have any state law that mandates employers provide sick leave, though some employers have to comply with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). That said, if an employer chooses to offer sick leave, they must clearly outline the rules for usage and accrual and must stick to them.

Vacation Leave and Holiday Time

Florida also does not have any law requiring vacation leave to be offered to private employees. Once again, if a private employer chooses to offer vacation time or holiday time, they are held to their outlines. If an employee is called in to work on a holiday, there is no law in Florida that requires them to be compensated with special holiday pay.

Parental Leave

Florida law does not provide any regulations for parental leave for private employees, though they did recently expand offerings for eligible employees working for the state. This is another area where Florida business owners may make their own parameters for the leave, so long as they are prepared to stick to them or be punished by the law.

Bereavement Leave

Florida does not have any laws requiring that employers provide bereavement leave to their employees. This is left entirely up to an employer’s discretion so long as they stick to what they outline.

Jury Duty

While Florida employers are required to excuse employees from work so that they can serve on a jury, employers do not have to compensate employees for that time spent responding to a jury duty summons or serving on the jury. That said, an employee’s job is protected from termination while serving on jury duty.

Voting

Time off to vote is left entirely up to employers. There is no requirement for employers to grant time off to vote for employees. If an employer does so, they should outline the rules clearly and stick to them.

Overtime Pay

Florida does not have its own overtime regulations, meaning that employers and employees follow the typical overtime rules established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Overtime is defined as hours worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek or 8 hours in a workday. Overtime pay is one and a half times an employee’s regular rate of pay.

Read our guide here for a more comprehensive look at how Florida Law affects your workplace.

The Benefits of Paid Holidays

Florida is one of the most relaxed states when it comes to rules for paid leave. Pairing that with the fact that no business owner is required to offer paid holidays by federal law, and the power is entirely in an employer’s hand whether they’ll provide paid breaks and to what degree.

Here are a couple of reasons you may want to err on the side of offering more paid breaks and paid holidays rather than none at all.

1. Paid Holidays Make Your Business More Competitive in Hiring

Ever since the pandemic, we’ve seen a shift in how much workers value breaks, their mental health, and a positive work/life balance. The 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Deloitte Report reveals that employers have been making persistent progress in the work/life balance area. In 2019, 18% of millennials and 21% of Gen Z were satisfied with their/work life balance. That’s increased in 2024 to 34% of millennials and 37% of Gen Z.

Part of this improvement is from employers being more generous with paid leave and paid vacation time. Those sorts of breaks are critical components of an employee having a better work/life balance.

It’s also noteworthy that in a hiring space where employees are increasingly worried about breaks and benefits, your business being generous with your paid leave will make it easier for you to attract and pick from high-quality candidates to employ.

2. Paid Holidays Boost Company Morale

When workers are given paid breaks and days off, they’re able to take that time to recuperate mentally and physically, as well as have time to handle any events that may be going on in their personal lives. When they return to work after these breaks, they’re usually rested up and ready to work. This means a boost in their productivity as well as a healthier mental state for better communication and cooperation with team members and administrators.

All of this contributes to a better work environment and higher company morale, which can spread across your company.

There’s also the opposite side to consider. If team members aren’t being given time off, there’s a greater chance of stress and overwork contributing to a toxic work environment that impedes worker productivity.

3. Paid Holidays Save Your Company Money

Some business owners focus on the idea of paying employees not to work as a reason to limit the number of paid holidays they offer. But that’s only important if you’re focusing on the short-term impact of paid breaks, rather than the long-term effect. Like we mentioned in the benefit above, employees can suffer from overwork if they’re not being granted breaks and paid holidays. That can quickly get to a point where they quit. Data from the Pew Research Center showing that 35% of quitting workers did so due to working too many hours (and 45% of quitting workers said a lack of good benefits such as health insurance and PTO drove them away).

The problem here is how expensive it can be to replace terminated employees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) replacing an employee can cost six to nine months of an employee’s salary.

All these potential benefits add up to it being worthwhile offering your employees paid holidays.

Track Paid Holidays and Employee Leave with Buddy Punch

If your hesitation about offering paid holidays and PTO comes down to how difficult it can be to monitor, we’ve got you covered. Workforce management solutions like our very own Buddy Punch drastically streamline the process for business owners, regardless of your company size.

For example, consider the freedom you get with our Paid Time Off Management Feature. You can easily manage the most common PTO types within our user interface or create your own custom types at will. When an employee sends in a leave request, you or your administrators can receive notifications for easy approval or denial of the request. We also included PTO Accrual functions, so you can easily set accrual and carry over rules.

In the case of trusted employees, business owners have the option to enable a self-service approach to paid time off. With this enabled, employees will be automatically approved for their requests. Spend less time micromanaging, more time optimizing other aspects of your business.

And all of this is just one example of what you can do with a single Buddy Punch feature. Our all-in-one software is meant to be the only software option you need, with many features including employee time tracking, staff scheduling, and built-in payroll.

Click here to browse through Buddy Punch’s features or click here to start a 14-day free trial.

While the idea of offering paid holidays may seem intimidating for a variety of reasons, it’s important for business owners to properly weigh how many benefits they provide before they make a decision on how many paid breaks, if any, they’ll offer to their employees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

So offering PTO of any kind is optional in Florida?

Yes, if you’re a private business you’re not required to offer PTO or paid holidays in most situations. If you’re a public employer working for the state in some capacity, you may be held to most of the federal holidays we listed above.

Do Florida employers have to pay out unused PTO in case of termination?

Florida has no law requiring employers to pay out unused PTO, so this would come down to whether an employer chose to include unused PTO provisions in the employment contract.

Do employers tend to offer employees all 11 paid federal holidays?

According to a survey conducted by Zippia, the average U.S. employees receive 7.6 paid holidays. The two most common paid holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas, while President’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the two least common.

What is Florida’s minimum wage?

As of this post’s writing, Florida’s minimum wage is $12.00 per hour. Florida’s minimum wage is adjusted annually based on a set formula, and is scheduled to increase by $1.00 every September 30th until reaching $15.00 on September 30, 2026.

Official State Resources

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

This blog post provides a general overview of Florida Holiday & Paid Leave Laws but does not constitute legal advice, nor does it replace an attorney-client relationship. Laws and regulations are subject to change, and there may be additional requirements or exemptions that apply to specific situations. Employers and employees should consult a qualified labor law attorney for advice on their specific circumstances.

If you have any questions about your rights or obligations as an employer or employee in Florida, it is essential to consult with a labor law attorney or employment lawyer to receive accurate information and guidance tailored to your situation. By seeking professional legal advice, you can ensure that you are taking the appropriate steps to comply with labor laws and protect your rights.

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