Labor Commissioner Eltonia Rojas has given clarification on how the upcoming Christmas holidays will be observed.
During an interview on Tuesday, she said that because this year’s Christmas day falls on a Sunday, law requires it to be observed on the 26th of December and Boxing Day on the 27th respectively. She said the same applies for New Years Day which will be celebrated on the 2nd day in January.
“Under our laws, Sundays are considered common law holidays and so any public holiday falling on Sunday automatically gets pushed forward,” she noted.
However in spite of this, she is warming employees not to extend their vacation by not showing up to work before or after the holidays because according to law, they will not be entitled to their holiday vacation pay.
“Those persons who are deciding to lengthening their Christmas weekend and deciding not to report to work on the 23rd even though they are scheduled to work but to show up to work on the 28th, it means that they lose their pay for the 26th and 27th because they would have not have worked on the 23rd, so generally the rules require you to work, once scheduled, the day prior to and the day following a holiday in order to enjoy your pay'” the labor commissioner noted.
Rojas said that often times; workers use sick days as a way out for working during the holiday periods. She reminded workers that they are only entitled to 12 sick days per year, and that only if sick days are available, can workers receive pay.
“You are entitled to 12 sick days in a calendar year, so it isn’t 1 or 2 per month. Once they have sick days, they’re are observed but the catch is the public holiday so for example, if a person has a sick leave that covers the period, they will be taken care of under the sick leave provision but not per say asunder the public holiday provisions,” she noted.