HR Alert

Massachusetts: No Statewide Approval for Permits to Open on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day 2016

Business on Certain Holidays Governed by 'Blue Laws'

  • If a retail or non-retail business falls within one of the 55 exemptions under state law, it may operate on holidays. For example, restaurants, pharmacies, and hotels may operate on holidays. For a complete list of exemptions, state law.
  • If the non-retail business is a factory or mill, employees may not be required to work on legal holidays under state law, unless the work is absolutely necessary and can be legally performed on Sunday. Therefore, manufacturing employees must voluntarily agree to work.
  • Otherwise, the following rules apply:
    For retail establishments, the DLS may issue uniform, statewide approval of permits for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (among other holidays). If the DLS issues a statewide approval, work may only be performed if the retailer has obtained a local police permit issued at the discretion of the local police chief.

Note: The requirements surrounding permissible work and employee pay in Massachusetts may vary depending on the type of establishment and the particular holiday. As such, employers are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in the Massachusetts Blue Laws to ensure full compliance.

Guidance on Holiday Openings
The recently-released guidance addresses permit issuance for 2016 Thanksgiving and Christmas openings:

  • If a retail or non-retail business falls within one of the 55 exemptions under state law, it may operate on holidays. For example, restaurants, pharmacies, and hotels may operate on holidays. For a complete list of exemptions, state law.
  • If the non-retail business is a factory or mill, employees may not be required to work on legal holidays under state law, unless the work is absolutely necessary and can be legally performed on Sunday. Therefore, manufacturing employees must voluntarily agree to work.
  • Otherwise, the following rules apply:
    For retail establishments, the DLS may issue uniform, statewide approval of permits for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day (among other holidays). If the DLS issues a statewide approval, work may only be performed if the retailer has obtained a local police permit issued at the discretion of the local police chief.

Click here to read the text of the guidance. More information regarding the Blue Laws is available by clicking here.


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