Memorial Day Holiday Pay Case Decided Nearly 50 Years Ago
Forty-nine years ago, a group of state employees won an Ohio Supreme Court case requiring the state to pay them eight hours of holiday pay for working on Memorial Day in 1964.
According to the Supreme Court’s 7-0 per curiam opinion in State Ex Rel. Heistand v. Ward, Dir. Of State Personnel, the state personnel director claimed the employees scheduled to work on Memorial Day and Independence Day – Saturdays that year – weren’t entitled to the pay because “the nature of their work required performance on those days.”
The dispute centered on former Ohio Revised Code section 121.161, which stated: “Employees working on an hourly basis shall be entitled to eight hours of holiday pay for … Memorial Day, Independence Day … of each year, if they are regular employees with at least six months full-time state service immediately prior to the month when such holiday occurs…”
The Supreme Court affirmed the appeals court ruling that the employees were entitled to the pay.
“It is the contention of respondents that the provision of Section 121.161, Revised Code, above quoted, has no application unless the holidays in question fall on the usual working days, i.e., Monday to and including Friday, and, therefore, does not authorize holiday pay where the enumerated holidays fall on either Saturday or Sunday,” according to the Supreme Court’s opinion.
“The provision of the statute is clear and contains no language, express or by inference, that it should not apply where any of the named holidays falls on Saturday or Sunday.”