paid holidays in idaho

Paid Holidays in Idaho (2024 Guide for Employers)

Paid Holidays can be almost deceptive for business owners to handle. The fact that there are no federal laws, not even the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), that require business owners to offer paid holidays puts the power entirely in a business owner’s hands. This means it might be tempting to offer as few paid holidays as possible, if you offer them at all, in order to avoid paying employees not to work.

However, looking at paid holidays this way not only disadvantages your business compared to your competitors, but also misses out on the long-term benefits of Paid Holidays.

In this post, we’re going to breakdown everything an Idaho business owner should understand about paid holidays to use them to their advantage, including:

  • An overview of Paid Holidays
  • How Paid Holidays impact the public sector vs the private sector
  • Federal vs State Holidays
  • Idaho-specific Paid Holidays
  • The Benefits of Offering Paid Holiday Time
  • Other FAQs
  • How Buddy Punch helps manage Paid Holidays & Leave

What is a Paid Holiday?

A paid holiday is a national, state, or religious holiday that Idaho employers have the eligibility to grant employees. If they choose to do so, employees will be able to take those days off work and still be compensated with a full day’s worth of wages. The U.S. Department of Labor makes it clear that there are no federal laws that demand a private business owner to provide paid holidays to their employees.

Who do Paid Holidays apply to?

Only public employers are required by federal law to provide paid holidays to their employees. Public employees include anyone working for agencies at the municipal, state, or federal level.

That said, if a private employer takes it upon themselves to offer paid holidays, they are bound by employment law to stick to whatever agreement they outline in their PTO policy, employment contract, or other 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 / Idaho Human Rights Day (Monday, January 15)
  • 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 / Fraternal Day / American Indian Heritage Day(Monday, October 14)
  • Veterans Day (Monday, November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28)
  • Christmas Day (Wednesday, December 25)

Some of these federal holidays have different names or natures that change across state lines. For example, in some areas Robert E. Lee Day is celebrated instead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Note: there are a few rules that apply to all holidays. For example, if a holiday falls on a Saturday, employees are given the 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 Idaho

The only holiday specific to Idaho is Idaho Human Rights Day, which occurs on the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day (the third Monday in January). This is because Idaho was the 47th state to finally recognize MLK Day, up until an Idaho law was passed to officially recognize the day in April 1990.

Impact of Common Idaho Leave Laws

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

Sick Time

There is no state law in Idaho that requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. That said, if an employer chooses to provide it in their benefits package, they are held by law to whatever they outline.

Vacation Leave and Holiday Time

Employers are not required to offer vacation leave to their employees. If an Idaho employer chooses to give employees vacation leave, they are held to whatever they outline in the company policy. That said, in the event of requiring workers to come during their holiday leave, Idaho does not mandate that staff be compensated with holiday pay (which is usually premium pay, or one and a half times an employee’s regular rate of pay). Employers can choose the rules for accrued vacation at their discretion.

Parental Leave

Idaho does not offer any parental leave, though in 2020 the Idaho Governor signed the Family First Act to expand paid leave for state employees. It is up to an employer’s discretion if they’re going to allow parental leave, and to what degree. Otherwise, eligible employees have to rely on provisions provided by the federal FMLA to take parental leave in Idaho.

Bereavement Leave

There is no Idaho code or law that demands that employers provide bereavement leave to their employees due to the death of a family member. Once again, an Idaho employer is only forced by law to adhere to their own established rules in a company policy.

Jury Duty

Under Idaho law, individuals serving on a jury are entitled to be paid compensation for service. This compensation comes from the state government, not employers. Employers must allow employees to serve on jury duty, and employees’ jobs are protected from termination due to such service, but this may be unpaid leave as an employer does not have to provide paid leave for jury duty.


Idaho completely leaves time off to vote up to the employer, with no requirement for employers to grant time off to vote for employees.

Overtime Pay

Idaho does not have its own overtime laws, which means it defaults to the regulations set by the FLSA. Any full-time employees working in excess of 8 hours per workday or 40 hours in a workweek are entitled to overtime pay, which is typically time and one-half (1.5x their regular wages).

The Benefits of Paid Holidays

Now that we’ve fully broken down the different types of paid leave, it’s time to get into why businesses should care. While paid holidays may seem a somewhat costly and tedious resource to offer your employees, there are some tangible benefits to offering them:

1. Paid Holidays Expand Your Hiring Capabilities

In recent times, employees have been shown to place a greater importance on work/life balance. This is mostly likely due to the pandemic and shifting attitudes towards work in relation to personal lives. An employer who is more generous with their paid holidays and paid time off directly appeals to these workers, as more time off means they’ll have more time to make sure personal affairs are in order and more days can be spent with loved ones.

That said, not all employees will be in a position where they can pick and choose employers based on paid breaks. However, the most desirable, higher-quality workers will. With multiple employers wanting to bring them into their workplace, their decision of where to work may come down to how many paid holidays they’ll get off to spend with family and friends.

2. Paid Holidays Improve Your Work Environment

Workers putting forth maximum effort day after day, week after week without end are very likely to hit a wall at some point. This can manifest in different ways, such as their work quality slipping to them becoming more irritable and reserved, which impedes their general cooperation. It’s even worse if there’s something happening in an employee’s personal life or with their mental health. All these downsides of steadily working employees begin to corrupt your work environment, creating a toxic effect that can spread throughout team members.

This is an effect that paid holidays can immediately remedy. When employees are given paid days off, they’re able to take time to themselves to relax or address issues in their personal lives. Then, when they come back into work, they do so with a better attitude and willingness to get tasks completed. Just like a toxic attitude can spread across your team, so too can a positive one.

3. Paid Holidays Save Your Company Money

This is the benefit that can be the hardest to believe if you’re only looking at the short-term effects of a paid holiday. After all, a paid holiday literally means paying your employees not to work. However, as we mentioned above, this time off helps restore your employees’ mental and physical health, which means a more productive work environment and more efficient workers. The alternative is overworked and overstressed workers, which will likely end up with the termination of a worker.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, 45% of quitting workers cited a lack of good benefits such as health insurance and PTO. As big of a setback that losing a worker can be to your productivity, it can be even worse when you look at it from a financial angle. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), it costs around six to nine months of an employee’s salary to replace an employee.

When you consider all three of these benefits, it’s no surprise 80% of business owners in private industries offer paid holidays off. The benefits are too strong not to.

Use Buddy Punch to Stay on Top of Paid Holidays

Now that we’ve covered everything an Idaho business owner needs to know about paid holidays, it’s time to talk about how to best manage those holidays (and other types of paid leave). While it can be difficult to add this element of managing on top of all the typical tasks: employee time track, staff scheduling, running payroll and more, all-in-one employee management software can drastically streamline these processes. For a stellar example, look no further than our very own Buddy Punch.

Take our Paid Time Off Management Feature for example. Buddy Punch lets you assign the most common types of paid time off to your employees or create custom types at will. Through notifications, you can configure it so that you and/or your administrators receive notifications every time an employee submits a leave request. This sets you up for easy approval or denial of each request. Buddy Punch also includes a comprehensive PTO Accruals setting, so you can establish maximums or carry over rules for each calendar year.

There’s even a self-service approach which you can enable for trusted employees on a case-by-case basis. With this active, employees will be automatically approved for any leave requests they send in.

All of this, and we’ve only talked about one feature that comes with Buddy Punch. There are plenty more options our tool comes with to help with time tracking, staff scheduling, and payroll.

Click here to view a demo video, or click here to start a 14-day free trial of Buddy Punch.

From Boise to Pocatello, Idaho leaves it up to business owners to decide how they’re going to handle paid leave and paid holidays, but that’s no reason to leave money on the table. Armed with the knowledge of this post and a software tool like Buddy Punch, you can make the most of paid holidays to improve your business’s long-term prospects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

So, offering PTO of any kind is optional in Idaho?

Yes. Other than cases when the federal FMLA takes effect, Idaho does not have any laws revolving around paid leave. This means it’s entirely up to employers how they want to handle paid time off.

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

No. There is no Idaho law that governs how employers have to handle unused PTO, so it depends on what an employer chooses to do in their company.

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.

How much is the minimum wage in Idaho?

The current minimum wage is $7.25 per hour in Idaho, which is the same as the Federal minimum wage.

Official State Resources

Disclaimer: Not Legal Advice

This blog post provides a general overview of Idaho Holiday & Paid Leave Laws but does not constitute legal advice. 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 Idaho, it is essential to consult with a labor law attorney 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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