U.S Federal Holidays for 2021 (Plus FAQs)

Federal law (5 U.S.C. 6103) establishes the public holidays listed in these pages for Federal employees. Please note that most Federal employees work on a Monday through Friday schedule. For these employees, when a holiday falls on a nonworkday — Saturday or Sunday — the holiday usually is observed on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).

To see holidays for a specific year, please select the tab labeled with your year of interest.

Federal holidays in the United States

Common U.S. federal holidays

There are several holidays that the U.S. government recognizes throughout the year. Here are the public holidays that are usually included:

2022 federal holidays

What are U.S. federal holidays?

U.S. federal holidays are dates throughout the year that the U.S. government deems as legal public holidays. Federal government employees receive these days off from work to celebrate or observe, and government offices or organizations remain closed on these days. State governments also commonly follow the federal holiday schedule for their employees.

Examples of proposed public holidays

Political figures and advocates have presented several different holidays for the U.S. government to recognize as federal holidays. It is important to note that the U.S. government typically chooses not to recognize additional holidays. This is either due to budgetary restrictions for increased costs of additional holiday pay and days off, it falls too close to another scheduled holiday or because more time is needed to consider the proposed holiday and when to celebrate it.

Here are some examples of holidays that politicians have proposed for the federal holiday calendar in recent years:

Other observed U.S. federal holidays

While the list above encompasses the standard federal holidays, there are occasionally other days the federal government recognizes:

Inauguration Day

Currently, the U.S. government recognizes Inauguration Day as a holiday for federal employees who work in the District of Columbia; Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland; Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia; and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia.

Typically, only federal employees are entitled to receive this day off to observe the event every four years. Inauguration Day is traditionally scheduled on Jan. 20 of each fourth year after 1965, as defined by U.S. Code section 2105 of title 5.

Presidentially proclaimed holidays

The president of the United States can issue proclamations calling for the public observance of special days or weeks. A president may also declare a day of public mourning after the death of a noted official such as a president or Supreme Court chief justice.

Examples of presidentially declared holidays include Harriet Tubman Day on March 10 and National Park Week in April.

U.S. federal holiday FAQs

Review these frequently asked questions about U.S. federal holidays to gain a better understanding of how they work and how they affect you:

Do private businesses need to follow the U.S. federal holiday calendar?

Technically no, private businesses do not need to follow the U.S. federal holiday calendar, but many prefer to do so. If private businesses do offer their employees time off on federal holidays, they arent required to pay them for those days, and its ultimately up to the business owner to decide whether to provide employees with paid holidays.

What is the difference between a national holiday and a federal holiday?

The difference between a national holiday and a federal holiday is that a national holiday is one that usually all businesses and governments recognize as a holiday, like Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day. In contrast, the U.S. federal government decides what constitutes a federal holiday, and they might offer their employees time off, unlike private businesses.

A good example of this would be federal government employees getting time off for Columbus Day or Veterans Day, whereas many businesses still operate on those days.

Do federal government employees get paid on federal holidays?

Yes, federal government employees do still receive their regular pay on federal holidays. Because there are 10 federal holidays per year, this means federal employees get paid for each of them.

What happens if there are two federal holidays in the same pay period?

If there happen to be two federal holidays within the same pay period, like Christmas Day and New Years Day, the amount of time an employee receives off depends on their employment type.

Full-time and part-time employees who are regularly scheduled to work on one or both of these days get paid time off for the scheduled holiday. Employees who are required to work one or both of these days are entitled to holiday premium pay for the number of hours in their regular shift.

What happens if federal government employees have to work on a federal holiday?

If a federal government employee has to work on a federal holiday, they receive a holiday premium in addition to their typical rate of pay, so long as their workday doesnt exceed eight hours.

Can federal government employees work on a holiday to transfer their paid time off to another date?

No, federal government employees cannot switch out holiday vacation hours for another date. This is because the government usually closes departments, agencies and other government-operated establishments on those dates, so employees must take off on those days unless told otherwise.

What happens if a federal holiday takes place on a non-workday?

If a federal holiday takes place on a Saturday or Sunday, the federal government uses its “in lieu of holiday” policy. This means that federal government employees receive off for either the Friday before or Monday after the holiday.

For example, if a federal holiday took place on a Saturday, federal government employees receive off on Friday. If a federal holiday took place on a Sunday, federal government employees receive the following Monday off from work.

Which federal holidays are observed on the same days each year?

Some federal holidays are observed on the same numerical date each year, and some holidays are observed on the same day of the month each year.

FAQ

What are the 12 federal holidays in the US?

The United States has established by law the following 12 permanent federal holidays, listed in the order they appear in the calendar: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, Inauguration Day (every four years following a presidential election), George Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National …

What are 3 national US holidays?

  • New Year’s Day.
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Washington’s Birthday.
  • Memorial Day.
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day.
  • Independence Day.
  • Labor Day.
  • Columbus Day.

How many federal holidays does the US have?

there are eleven federal holidays in the United States, we took a look at when each will fall in 2022.

What holidays does the federal government get off?

Holidays for Federal Employees
  • New Year’s Day (January 1).
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. …
  • Washington’s Birthday (Third Monday in February).
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May).
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day (June 19).
  • Independence Day (July 4).
  • Labor Day (First Monday in September).

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