Regular vs. nonworking holidays: What's the difference?

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(File photo) Consumers shop at an upscale mall in the financial district of Makati City.

(CNN Philippines) — Of the many changes they face after college, fresh graduates would have to adjust to a peculiar reality once they find a job: Not all holidays are made the same.

Regardless of what holiday the country may be observing, colleges and universities all do the same thing — suspend classes.

However, it's an entirely different story altogether in the corporate world.

While regular working hours are suspended during holidays, some companies can ask employees to render work because of the organization's nature of business, such as those in malls, call centers, or media outlets.

Apart from the number of hours he or she would render, an employee's overtime pay largely depends on the kind of holiday that he or she worked on.

In the Philippines, holidays are grouped into two categories: "Regular Holidays" and "Special Non-Working Days."

Regular holidays are those that usually have a fixed date, such as New Year's Day, Independence Day, and Christmas Day. The only exceptions to this rule are National Heroes Day and the religious holidays of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Eid'l Fitr, and Eidul Adha.

Special nonworking days, on the other hand, are more flexible. Apart from being enacted by Congress, they can also be declared under the judgment of the President.

In Proclamation 831 (s. 2014), for example, former President Benigno Aquino III declared January 2, December 24, and December 31, 2015 as special nonworking days, despite the fact these do not commemorate any special event. They were made as such under the president's prerogative "in order to foster closer family ties and enable our countrymen to observe New Year and Christmas more meaningfully."

Some special non-working days are not necessarily commemorated nationwide, such as Evelio Javier Day in Panay, the Manila leg of Pope Francis's visit last January 2015, and the different cultural or historical celebrations of cities and municipalities.

Schools also have a special holiday of their own: the anniversary of the People Power Revolution.

Employees who work on holidays are paid substantially more than the overtime rate on regular days (regular hourly rate + 25% of regular hourly rate).

However, the difference in the categories' definitions is reflected in their separate pay rates. Those who work on regular holidays are paid at least 200% of the sum of their daily rate and cost of living allowance.

On the other hand, employees who work on special non-working days are paid at least 130% of the sum of their daily rate and cost of living allowance.