Massachusetts recognizes 11 holidays as a legal holiday and each holiday has different rules and restrictions set on what industries are allowed to open and when. Businesses must obtain permits for some of these holidays and workers in the retail industry are entitled to a higher rate of pay if they work on a holiday. If a retailer has a total of 7 or more employees on its payroll, then any “non-exempt” worker who works on the Fourth of July must be paid a "Premium Pay" rate. There are separate rules for retailers, non retailers and manufacturers, governed by the "Blue Laws" of MA. (Read more about the "Blue Laws" here -- and if you don't know what exempt vs. non-exempt means, then you'll want to read more about it..)

Public employees at state, county and municipal offices in MA enjoy paid days off during MA legal holidays. (Suffolk County actually even has a few of its own additionally recognized holidays!)

Thanksgiving Day, Veterans' Day, Christmas Day and Columbus Day all have restrictions that apply to all businesses conducting commerce, including retail. While many businesses remain open all day on Columbus and Veterans' Days, they will have to obtain a local permit to do so and will run into restrictions for opening before 12pm and 1pm, respectively.

Only retail establishments are allowed to stay open during Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day. However, holiday "premium pay" for retail workers is actually being entirely eliminated by January 1, 2023 for all 3 of these holidays. (see chart)

Holiday Premium Pay  for 4th of July,
Labor Day &
Memorial Day


 1.3x Regular Rate 


1.2x Regular Rate


1.1x Regular Rate


Regular Rate

However, retail workers will still receive holiday premium pay at 1.5x regular rate for New Year's Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day!

Retail workers also have the right to refuse to work on all these holidays.




Here’s an example of what you’re entitled to if you work on July 4th:

You’re a sales associate at a popular clothing store for women. You’re scheduled to work a 5 hour shift.  You get paid $10/hour regularly.

On a regular weekday, you’d be entitled to $50 for your shift ($10/hr x 5hrs = $50).

If you work your 5 hours on July 4th, though, your total pay for the day should be $75 ($10 x 1.5 = $15/hr. (This is your Holiday Premium Pay rate); $15 x 5hrs = $75).

If You’re Not Paid Holiday Premium Pay What Can You Do?

If you don’t receive your time-and-a-half, you do have rights under Massachusetts law.

One thing you can do is to discuss it with your manager or employer. It may have been a simple oversight and they may choose to correct the problem.

Another thing you can do is check with some of your co-workers to see if it happened to them too. If it is happening to your co-workers, they may have a right to get their unpaid wages in a class action lawsuit and you should reach out to us - reliable employment rights lawyers in Dartmouth, MA - to discuss your options today! You can call us at 508.998.0800 or use the contact box below to send us a message.