Holiday Leave Laws


Holiday leave allows employees to take time off on specific days they would otherwise be required to work. Both the federal government and state governments have designated certain days as holidays, however, that does not mean employees are entitle to take time off, either paid or unpaid, on those days.

Federal Holiday Leave Laws

Federal law requires federal government employers to allow their employees to take (paid/unpaid) time off on designated holidays. A list of those holidays can be found here.

Federal law does not require private sector employers to provide holiday leave to employees for any holidays. Private sector employers may voluntarily allow their employees to take time off on designated holidays and the time off can be either paid or unpaid, but there is no obligation to do so. If a private sector employer has a policy or practice of allowing employees to take either paid or unpaid leave on holidays, federal law may require them to continue the practice unless the employer gives adequate notice to employees of the policy change.



State Holiday Leave Laws

All states have passed laws designating certain days as holidays. State government employers may be required to allow their employees to take (paid/unpaid) time off on those designated holidays. For more a list of each state’s legal holidays, click here.

Only three states require private sector employers to provide employees some form of holiday leave. No other states require private employers to allow their employees to take time off on holidays. If a private sector employer has a policy or practice of allowing employees to take either paid or unpaid leave on holidays, state law may require them to continue the practice unless the employer gives adequate notice to employees of the policy change.

State specific pages containing Leave Law summaries: