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State and local holidays

An office or worksite may be closed and an excused absence granted on state, local, territorial, or foreign holidays upon a determination by a designated operating unit official that Federal work may not properly be performed. An unscheduled ad hoc state or local holiday, which results in the closure of state and local facilities will not be deemed a holiday or reason for closure of Federal government offices unless one or more of the reasons below prevents Federal work from being performed properly. 

Any of the following circumstances may be determined to prevent work from being properly performed:

  • The building or office in which employees work is closed, or building services essential to proper performance of work are not available;
  • Local transportation services are discontinued or interrupted to the point where employees are prevented from reporting to their work location; or
  • The duties of the employees consist largely or entirely of dealing directly with employees and officials of business, industry, or local government, and most of such establishments are closed in observance of the holiday, and there are no other appropriate duties to which employees can be assigned on the holiday.

When an entire office or worksite is closed, the day is treated as a nonworkday and no charge to leave will be made for the day regardless of an employee's pay, duty, or leave status otherwise. 

When portions of an office or worksite are closed, affected employees may be granted excused absence. Excused absence may not, however, be granted for personal reasons (such as at the request of an employee to attend a local ceremony) and any resulting absence will be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP, as appropriate.

The provisions of this policy do not apply to employees who have been designated as emergency employees unless they are instructed otherwise.

Public Holidays 

The following are legal public holidays: 

  • New Year's Day, January 1
  • Martin Luther King's Birthday, the third Monday in January
  • Washington's Birthday, the third Monday in February
  • Memorial Day, the last Monday in May
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • Labor Day, the first Monday in September
  • Columbus Day, the second Monday in October
  • Veterans Day, November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas, December 25

Additions to and subtractions from this list require passage of a law or an Executive Order. 

Inauguration Day

January 20th, Inauguration Day, of each fourth year, is a legal public holiday for employees working in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on that day. (DC area employees are those who are employed 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.) 

The holiday applies to Regional office employees who are on detail or temporary duty to the D.C. metropolitan area on that date. It does not apply to employees who are stationed in the D.C. area but who are on travel away from the area on the legal holiday. 

If Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the next day chosen for observance of Inauguration Day is the holiday.

If Inauguration Day falls on a Saturday, Federal employees in the DC area who do not work on Saturday will receive no Inauguration Day holiday since the law on "in lieu of" holidays does not apply to Inauguration Day.

Determining Employee Holidays - General Rules

Full-time, part-time, and other eligible employees who are regularly scheduled to work on the legal holiday will either get this day off as a paid Federal holiday or, if required to work it, will get holiday premium pay for all regularly scheduled nonovertime hours of work on that day.

When a holiday falls on the non-workday outside a full-time employee's basic workweek, the day to be treated as the employee's holiday is the workday before the non-workday unless the holiday falls on Sunday - then the subsequent workday is the holiday. This is true for all employees including those on flexible and compressed work schedules. 

Example: For a legal holiday occurring on Sunday, if the employee has Sunday and the following Monday off, the following Tuesday is the in lieu of holiday. If the employee has Thursday, Friday and Saturday off, and the holiday will occur on Saturday, the employee must be given the preceding Wednesday off.

Employees on flexible schedules (or employees with management consent) have the option of moving their scheduled day off (i.e., their in lieu of day: Wednesday in the example above) to another day of the week. 

Heads of operating units may designate a different in-lieu-of holiday for full-time employees on a compressed schedule if necessary to prevent an “adverse agency impact” defined as:

  • A reduction of the productivity of the agency;
  • A diminished level of services furnished to the public by the agency; or
  • An increase in the cost of agency operations. 

Since employees on flexible schedules are limited to 8 hours holiday premium pay for a holiday worked, they must be especially watchful to ensure that, in pay periods in which holidays occur, they meet their full work requirement either by hours of work, leave taken, compensatory time used, or credit hours used.

Part-time Employees

When the holiday falls on the regular workday of a part-time employee, the part-timer will either be given a paid holiday off equal to the number of hours usually worked that day or be paid holiday premium pay for hours worked up to 8 hours. 

When the holiday falls on the nonworkday of a regularly scheduled part-time employee, the employee is not entitled to an in lieu of holiday off. 

If the agency is closed because it is an in lieu of holiday for other employees but this is a day that the part-time employee would normally be scheduled to work, (e.g.,the holiday falls on Saturday so Friday is the day off), a regularly scheduled part-time employee may be granted administrative leave. (B-214156, May 29, 1984). 

Intermittent Employees

Intermittent employees and employees who are paid on a daily, hourly, or piece-work basis, are not considered "regular" for purposes of pay and leave, i.e., they are not regularly scheduled. They are not entitled to a paid holiday off or an in lieu of holiday or to holiday premium pay if they work the holiday. They are entitled to basic pay for the nonovertime hours they work.

Overlapping Shifts

When an employee's scheduled workday covers portions of two calendar days, one of which is a holiday or the in-lieu of holiday, the entire workday which begins on any such calendar day is the holiday.

Holidays for Employees with Duty Posts Outside of the U.S. 

When Monday is designated as a legal public holiday under 5 U.S.C. 6103(a), the first regularly scheduled workday in the week is the holiday for employees at a duty post outside of the U.S. whose basic workweek includes Monday but is not the typical Monday through Friday work schedule. For example, an employee who works Sunday through Thursday with nonworkdays on Friday and Saturday will receive the holiday on Sunday, or the first regularly scheduled workday in the week. 

Updated October 2000.