Time-and-a-half is when a worker (or workers) is paid 1.5 times their usual hourly rate. It is usually paid as an incentive to work on a particular day (e.g. on Sundays) or as government-mandated compensation for having workers work on particular days (e.g. public holidays).

In the United States, this provision, as well as the minimum wage, was first instituted by the Fair Labor Standards Act
Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is a federal statute of the United States. The FLSA established a national minimum wage, guaranteed 'time-and-a-half' for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in "oppressive child labor," a term that is defined in the statute...

. The act was passed in 1938, during the Great Depression. Overtime
Overtime is the amount of time someone works beyond normal working hours. Normal hours may be determined in several ways:*by custom ,*by practices of a given trade or profession,*by legislation,...

 pay was not intended primarily as a bonus to the worker but as a penalty or fine upon the employer. In order to increase employment opportunities, Congress encouraged employers to hire more workers for the same amount of time: it was better for three workers to work forty hours per week than two workers for sixty hours per week.

In New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, if a worker works on a public holiday
Public holiday
A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday generally established by law and is usually a non-working day during the year....

, the worker gets time-and-a-half for the hours worked and gets the holiday a day or two later. This legislation explains the 10–15% surcharge and/or special offers not being available on public holidays.
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