When you think holidays, you may think family gatherings, large meals and grandpa falling asleep in the recliner. Unless you are a college student. Then your mind may be on finals, the girl across the dorm, or most likely: making money.

The holidays are a great time to make a bit of extra cash, for buying that bike, so you don’t have to walk to class or even to purchase that textbook for next semester’s class. Whatever the case, if you are willing to put in the time, the holiday seasons can put some extra cash in your pocket.

Earning Extra with Types of Pay

Depending on the job you hold, there may be extra money to be had just by making a small change. During the holidays, you will find that a lot of businesses increase their scheduling to include extra shifts, allow overtime or offer full-time employees holiday pay.

Shift Differential

In a lot of cases, you can make extra money by working a later shift or on a certain day of the week. These cases will appear throughout the year around holidays and some employers have them year-round.

Because you are out of school (generally) for the holidays, it may be a good time to switch to a different shift. Shift differential pay is an incentive to work late shifts or overnight shifts. Usually, you will find an extra dollar or more per hour just for working overnights.

In some states, you can even earn this differential pay by working on a Sunday. Some shifts will overlap and you will need to pay attention to your time sheets. For example, if an overnight differential starts at 10 pm and your shift starts at 7 pm, you will have 3 hours per shift at the lower wage.

They can also overlap in a beneficial way. For example, if you work overnight shifts and receive the differential pay and the company also offers a differential pay for Sundays, if you work overnight shift on a Saturday, from midnight on you will receive both pay increases. This, of course, is up to the employer and the state laws as to how the pay will increase or if one stops so the other can begin.


One of the easiest ways to earn money is just to work more shifts. When overtime is allowed, you will be paid extra for any hours over the stipulated maximum. This will vary based on the pay type, job type and local laws.

Some companies will pay overtime any time you work more than eight hours per shift. Some will tally the hours weekly and pay overtime if you go over 40 hours in a pay week. Still, others will accumulate the total hours over the entire pay period. So, for instance, if you are paid every two weeks, anything over 80 hours will be paid as over time.

Over time pay will also vary based on the company rules and state and local laws. You can expect what is known as time and a half, which is your base salary plus half of your base salary. Some will even do double time, which is twice your base salary.

Holiday Pay

Working on a federal holiday, or in some cases during a holiday period, will earn you extra money as well. Usually, these come in the same form as over time where you will earn a base salary plus half or more.

This is an incentive to have employees willing to work on days where most won’t or can’t. You should be wary though, as some companies will make holiday schedules mandatory and you can get in trouble for calling out or not showing up.

If you already have a job and holidays are approaching you can talk to your manager or supervisor and express interest in working the holiday or adding more shifts or hours over the entire season.

If you are not employed, it is a perfect time to put in the application. Most retailers and larger businesses will hire holiday help. This is a temporary schedule that allows the company to bring in more employees to help handle the extra business they will receive.

If you are only looking to pad your pockets during these times of the year, this is the perfect opportunity to get a job without having to worry about quitting later once school resumes.

Working holidays for students is a great way to earn a quick bit of cash without the commitment to a full-time schedule. You might even be able to swing extra shifts, incorporate shift differential and overtime all in one go.

Because you won’t have classes to attend to, you have more time to fill your day with work to fill your wallet with more than beer receipts.

What Kinds of Jobs Are There?

Holiday work for students is more varied and open than you might think. There are several industries that will hire students with little or no experience. Because they are hiring extra help with no long-term commitment, it is an excellent time to find a quick way to earn money.

Retail is the largest sector for student working holidays. They have exponential increases in customers, vendors, suppliers and stocking. Every aspect of the business will need extra hands and help. Even if you aren’t very proficient at customer service, you can still apply for retail positions and not have to deal too much with the public.

If you are able-bodied and willing to work, you can load or unload delivery trucks, stock shelves or work in the warehouse. As an added bonus a lot of the retail businesses will also have, or begin, overnight shift positions that might take advantage of the shift differential to get employees to work the hours.

Another large hiring potential is with delivery companies. The added burden of shipping over the holidays increases the need for more drivers, assistants and loaders. Most will operate with smaller trucks that don’t require a special license or give you a position helping the driver make the deliveries without actually driving yourself.

If you are good with organization, keeping up with a faced paced environment and able to stand for long hours, you can also get hired loading the trucks. It isn’t a glamorous job, but it does pay pretty well.

Increasing Hours at a Current Job

If you already work part-time while you are in school, the holidays are a great time to switch to full time for extra money temporarily.

This will be based on your performance and reliability as well as the availability of full-time positions. However, during busier holidays, students can easily talk to the manager or supervisor to get an increase in hours.

Most companies are willing to increase their part-time employees to full time instead of hiring extra help to fill the schedule gaps. It saves them money on training and taking time to do the hiring and interview process and it allows you to get more hours without having to go elsewhere.

If your company doesn’t allow part time to full time on a temporary basis, you can always seek out a second job that also works part-time hours. You will have the benefit of full-time pay, but you will lose out on overtime benefits. However, the result is more money, and having more hours or a new job will meet that goal.

If you happen to have a full-time job, you can speak to your management team about adding an extra shift or two during the pay period to take advantage of overtime pay. While this isn’t a common practice, employers are able to accept the offer when they already have a reliable employee willing to fill in.

If your company won’t allow the overtime you, too, can seek out a second part-time position. Most businesses hiring holiday work for students understand that they have other obligations and are willing to be flexible with the times and scheduling. As long as you are open and honest about when you are available, it usually won’t be an issue.

In Conclusion

Earning money on the side as a college student can be a difficult task. However, you will need to provide yourself with some form of income and a part time or full-time job over the holidays is an easy way to make some quick cash.

Looking for extra pay in over time or with a shift differential is an easy way to add extra dollars to an existing paycheck. Working holidays for students is generally an easy hiring process without a lot of commitment and can turn your empty purse into a full wallet fairly quickly.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This