There are ten annual U.S. federal holidays on the calendar designated by the United States Congress1 Unlike many other countries, there are no ‘national holidays’ in the United States because Congress only has constitutional authority to create holidays for federal institutions. Most federal holidays are also observered as state holidays.
* When a federal holiday falls on a Saturday, it is usually observed on the preceding Friday. When the holiday falls on a Sunday, it is usually observed on the following Monday.
* In addition to the ten annual federal holidays, Inauguration Day is an eleventh holiday designated by Congress for observance every four years on January 20 following a U. S. presidential election. It is only observed by government employees in Washington D.C. and the border counties of Maryland and Virginia. Inauguration Day was created to help relieve the congestion that occurs around Washington D.C. with the events surrounding the swearing-in of the President and Vice President of the United States.
** December 25, 2016 (the legal public holiday for Christmas Day), falls on a Sunday. For most Federal employees, Monday, December 26, will be treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes.
Though not technically accurate, U.S. federal holidays are often referred to as ‘public holidays’ or ‘legal holidays’ because of their wide spread observance. Bank holidays are usually the same as federal holidays since most banks follow the holiday calendar of the U.S. Federal Reserve. They tend to use the modern President’s Day for the observance of George Washington’s Birthday.
1. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has additional information and federal holiday dates for years not listed above.
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