List of 2021 Federal Holidays for Small Business Owners

When designing a paid time off policy or managing PTO requests, take this List of Federal Holidays into account

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Here's what you need to know:

  • There are 6 Federal Holidays that fall on a Monday
  • There are 15 Federal Holidays
  • You are not required to pay your employees for time off on Federal Holidays unless you are a bank or employ other federal workers
  • As an employer, it is important to note that by law, you have an obligation to make reasonable accommodations for employees celebrating religious holidays

 

U.S. Holidays in 2021 List

In 2021, the federal holidays in the United States fell on the following dates:

  • Friday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Monday, January 18 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Monday, February 15 – President’s Day
  • Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day
  • Friday, June 18 – Juneteenth (observed)
  • Saturday, June 19 – Juneteenth
  • Sunday, July 4 – Independence Day
  • Monday, July 5 – Independence Day (observed)
  • Monday, September 6 – Labor Day
  • Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day
  • Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 25 – Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, December 24 – Christmas Day (observed)
  • Saturday, December 25 – Christmas Day
  • Friday, December 31 – New Year’s Day (observed)

What are the dates for Federal Holidays in 2022?

This year, the federal holidays in the United States fall on the following dates:

2022 Federal Holidays

  • New Year’s Day – Saturday, January 1, 2022
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Monday, January 17, 2022
  • President’s Day – Monday, February 21, 2022
  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 30, 2022
  • Juneteenth (observed) – Friday, June 18, 2022
  • Juneteenth – Saturday, June 19, 2022
  • Independence Day – Monday, July 4, 2022
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 5, 2022
  • Columbus Day – Monday, October 10, 2022
  • Veterans Day – Friday, November 11, 2022
  • Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 24, 2022
  • Christmas Day – Sunday, December 25, 2022
  • Christmas Day (observed) – Monday, December 26, 2022
    New Year’s Eve (observed) – Friday, December 31, 2022

Note: Here is a detailed description of all the 2022 Federal Holidays

and here is a list of 2020 Federal Holidays

One thing that is important to note is that some federal holidays are on the same date every year, while others will be on the same day, but on a different date. For example, Thanksgiving Day is always on the fourth Thursday in November.

Inline CTA:

What are the dates for Federal Holidays in 2023?

Next year, the federal holidays in the United States will fall on the following dates:

2023 Federal Holidays

  • 2023 Holiday Schedule
    Date Holiday
    Monday, January 2* New Year’s Day
    Monday, January 16 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Monday, February 20** Washington’s Birthday
    Monday, May 29 Memorial Day
    Monday, June 19 Juneteenth National Independence Day
    Tuesday, July 4 Independence Day
    Monday, September 4 Labor Day
    Monday, October 9 Columbus Day
    Friday, November 10* Veterans Day
    Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day
    Monday, December 25 Christmas Day

What does it mean for a holiday to be “Federal”?

Holidays aren’t all the same. Some are federal, some are religious, and some are meaningless (you might have heard of National Pie Day or National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day.)

As an employer, the most important 2021 holidays to know will be federal holidays. Federal Holidays are holidays that have been established by law (5 U.S.C. 6103).

Government offices and banks are closed in observance of these holidays. Because the U.S. has deemed these specific days federal holidays, it encourages other businesses to also close so that observance of that particular holiday can be experienced by all.

Federal vs. religious holidays

The U.S. recognizes only one religious holiday as a federal holiday – Christmas Day. All other religious holidays aren’t recognized as federal holidays. As an employer, it is important to note that by law, you have an obligation to make reasonable accommodations for employees celebrating religious holidays.

For example, Muslim employees may wish for time-off to celebrate wither of their 2 major religious holidays: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. To accommodate this, many employers offer a floating holiday, in which an employee receives any day-off that can be used to celebrate their religious holidays.

Does your state celebrate other holidays?

Certain U.S. states have their own state-wide holidays that are observed by state governments and banks. Some of these include:

  • Nevada’s Nevada Day – the last Friday in October of every year
  • Georgia’s Founding Day – a holiday that celebrates its founding on February 12, 1733
  • Wisconsin has several – Casimir Pulaski Day on March 4, and Robert La Follette Sr. Day on June 14
  • Hawaii Native Royalty – March 26 and June 11

Do I have to give employees time off on federal holidays?

As an employer, you do not have to give employees federal holidays off, unless you’re a financial institution or government entity.

Currently, there is no federal law that requires employers to give their workers a holiday off of work. It’s usually done at the employer’s merit (except for banks and government.)

Additionally, if an employer does give their employees holidays off, they’re not required by the law to pay employees for that time.

That said, just because it’s not a requirement for employers to give employees holidays off, or pay for any time off, there’s a reason why most employers offer it as an employee benefit. Time off can be used as a way to keep employees happy, productive, and satisfied. In today’s war for talent, it’s become more important than ever to do so.

Key takeaways for holiday calendar business planning

You can count on federal holidays being on these days every year:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Third Monday in January)
  • President’s Day (Third Monday in February)
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Juneteenth (June 19)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
  • Columbus Day (Second Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Do I have to pay my employees for holidays?

While not required, there are many benefits to employers to offer paid time off to employees on federal holidays. The biggest being that it aids in attracting and retaining top talent, and contributing to job satisfaction. It can offer more good than harm, and all it takes to accommodate is a little looking and planning ahead.

With the great resignation upon us, doing everything you can to keep your employees happy, motivated and from leaving is critical. Paid Holidays are the minimum standard, be sure you are at least offering that as a workplace benefit.

 

With the great resignation upon us, doing everything you can to keep your employees happy, motivated and from leaving is critical. Paid Holidays are the minimum standard, be sure you are at least offering that as a workplace benefit.

Here are some other ways to help your employees celebrate the upcoming federal holidays:

  1. Allow early releases the day before – for example, 3 PM the day before Christmas Eve
  2. Allow a  flexible work schedule around holidays – for example, an 11-7 shift vs 9-5
  3. Give employees space and freedom to celebrate their favorite holiday at work – for example, for MLK day encourage a wall of favorite quotes

 

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