Is Presidents’ Day a Holiday?


MP900446438Over 90% of U.S. employers offer employees the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Presidents’ Day, not so much.

That’s according to a Society of Human Resource Management survey on 2013 holiday schedules. Only 36% of businesses offer Presidents’ Day off. Almost as many employers (34%) now offer Martin Luther King, Jr., Day as a holiday.

The United States does not decree national holidays in the same way that many nations do. Under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, the federal government can only set holidays for its own operations. Each state is free to set its own holidays.

Private employers are not required under any federal or state laws to offer holidays to their employees. Days off and holidays are determined by company policy, collective bargaining agreements, and/or individual contracts with employees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private employers offer their full-time employees an average of 7.6 paid holidays each year.

Presidents’ Day is a federal holiday. In fact, Washington’s Birthday (February 22) was first declared a federal holiday by an 1879 act of Congress, to honor our first president. Observance of this holiday was moved to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Holidays Act in 1968. Since then, because President Lincoln’s birthday falls on the nearby date of February 12, most people now call it “Presidents’ Day.” However, under the Uniform Holidays Act, the official name is still Washington’s Birthday.

The day is a holiday in most of the states as well, so state operations are also closed. But as the SHRM survey shows, just over one-third of private businesses give employees the day off.

Does your business give employees any holidays between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day? Which ones? Which holiday would you most prefer to have in this time frame?

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1 Comment

Filed under Benefits, Human Resources, Management, Workplace

One response to “Is Presidents’ Day a Holiday?

  1. I work for the city police department. Veterans Day was a holiday; we also have the day off on March 29th for Good Friday. Thank you for visiting my blog. Enjoy your weekend!

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