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What Is a Federal Legal Holiday?

Federal legal holidaysPicture of a fireworks display on a federal legal holiday. in the United States are designated by the Congress and observed by federal employees, as well as postal offices and banks including the Federal Reserve System.

Although not strictly followed, all federal holidays occurring on Saturdays are celebrated on the previous Friday, while holidays falling on Sundays are celebrated on the subsequent Monday.

Private employers may choose to offer holidays as paid days off for their employees, but they are not required. The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employees of private businesses to be paid for time not worked, regardless of vacations, holidays, etc. You may also wish to offer holiday pay to employees that are required to work, although it is not necessary to stay legally compliant.

Observed Federal Legal Holiday List

The following are the federal holidays observed by U.S. federal employees:

  1. New Year’s Day: celebrated on January 1.
  2. Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.: celebrated the third Monday of January.
  3. President’s Day (Washington’s Birthday): celebrated the third Monday of February.
  4. Memorial Day: falls on the last Monday of every May.
  5. Independence Day: celebrated on July 4 annually.
  6. Labor Day: celebrated on the first Monday of every September.
  7. Columbus Day: celebrated the second Monday every October.
  8. Veterans Day: celebrated annually on November 11.
  9. Thanksgiving Day: observed on the fourth Thursday of November.
  10. Christmas: celebrated December 25.

The only quadrennial federal holiday is Inauguration Day. Celebrated on January 20 after a Presidential election, this holiday marks the swearing-in of the new U.S. President and Vice President.

Check out the holiday schedule at for more details for the current year.

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