The Federal Government provides employees with ten paid holidays each year. Private sector employers may provide these holidays off with pay, holidays off without pay, or holiday pay for working on a holiday, but they are not necessarily required to offer any of these options. It depends on the employer’s company policy regarding holidays.
Review a list of federal holidays, dates each holiday will be observed in 2020, information on holiday time-off and compensation, extra holiday days off from work, and when you may have to work on a designated holiday.
- January 1, Wednesday – New Year’s Day
- January 20, Monday – Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- February 17, Monday – Washington’s Birthday
- May 25, Monday – Memorial Day
- July 3, Friday – Independence Day
- September 7, Monday – Labor Day
- October 12, Monday – Columbus Day
- November 11, Wednesday – Veterans Day
- November 26, Thursday – Thanksgiving Day
- December 25, Friday – Christmas Day
Observation Days on a Weekend
Federal law establishes these public holidays for Federal employees. When a holiday falls on a weekend, the holiday usually is observed on Monday (if the holiday falls on Sunday) or Friday (if the holiday falls on Saturday).1
State and local laws may have different guidelines, so check with the department of labor in your location for information on holiday leave and pay requirements.
Private Sector Holidays
Private companies are not required to close for holidays, or to pay overtime or holiday pay to their employees for working on a holiday. Even if they do close, they are not legally required to compensate workers with paid time off (PTO). However, companies may have policies that provide for holiday pay or paid time off.
In a 2016 survey, the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) ascertained that, of those companies that anticipated offering paid holidays in 2017.
The majority intended to observe seven specific federal holidays:
New Year’s Day (90%), Memorial Day (93%), the day before Independence Day (13%), Independence Day (93%), Labor Day (94%), Thanksgiving (95%), and Christmas (97%). A smaller percentage of businesses also planned to offer paid time off for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday (39%), Presidents Day (34%), Columbus Day (14%), and Veterans Day (19%). On average, private companies offered paid holidays for nine of these eleven federal holidays.
How Will You Know What Holidays You’re Entitled To?
If the company doesn’t explain their holiday policy during an interview, it is important to ask when you get a job offer.
Become familiar with the company’s policy on holidays so you know your holiday benefits before you accept the job and sign the employment contract, rather than after the fact.