At an employer of a friend of mine, the workers were told that in order to receive Memorial Day off, they had to work the remainder of the week 10 hours per day to make up the difference. Is this legal?
Typically yes. Overtime doesn’t apply unless they are over 40 hours.
Private employers are not required to give Federal holidays off with pay, just Federal and State workers get that as a mandate. Nice employers who like to keep up good morale and aren’t cheap jerks will also give paid holidays, but none of them have to.
It’s also possible that it’s some low-level manager telling MostlyUseless’s friend that, and that they are supposed to get Memorial Day off.
Over her in the UK we have bank holidays, which are pretty much the same thing. There are usually eight of them but we sometimes get an extra one as with the recent royal wedding.
If you work for the state, or Local Government and are required to work a bank holiday, then it is normal to be paid double time and also to get a day off in lieu. Elsewhere there are many other systems. Many workers are expected to work those days but will get holiday to make up for it. Some get paid at a higher rate but not all, and in these times of austerity, some employers are simply expecting their staff to work as normal.
I haven’t been close to overtime laws in a few years, so I hope my knowledge isn’t outdated.
At the federal level, overtime is defined as over 40 hours in a week, so 4 days working 10 hours would not be overtime. However, there are some states with stricter laws. In California, for example, unless the employees are on a regular 4/40 schedule, any hours worked over 8 per day is overtime. So if your friend is in California, 2 of the hours for each of the 4 days (8 hours total for the week) should be paid at time and a half. So it is worth looking into the state laws where your friend is located.
Regardless of the legality, I agree that the employer is not being very smart.
ZenBeam nailed that. While the entire business was closed on Memorial day, one lousy manager is requiring that her entire staff work ten hour days the remainder of the week. This particular manager is claimed to be a nice person, but several actions like this disprove it to me.