Massachusetts State Holidays


The State of Massachusetts has designated several days each calendar year as state holidays. The implications of these state holidays on public employers and private employers is discussed below.



The following list contains the state holidays recognized by Massachusetts.

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January)
  • Presidents’ Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Evacuation Day (March 17 – Suffolk County Only)
  • Patriot’s Day (3rd Monday in April)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Bunker Hill Day (June 17 – Suffolk County Only)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
  • Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

If a holiday falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday. MA Laws 4-7-18


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Public employers

Public offices must be closed on all legal holidays listed above, except only public offices in Suffolk county may be closed on Evacuation Day and Bunder Hill Day. MA Laws 136-12

If a state employee is required to work on a legal holiday they must be given an additional day off or, if the additional day of leave may not be taken, the employee must be paid for an additional day. Additionally, if a state employee’s regular day off falls on a holiday, the employee must be given an additional day off or, if the additional day of leave may not be taken, the employee must be paid for an additional day. When an employee’s regular day off is Saturday and a holiday falls on that day, the employee should be given the previous Friday as a day off, where possible. If the employee cannot take the previous Friday off, they must be given another day off or, if the additional day of leave may not be taken, the employee must be paid for an additional day. MA Laws 30-24A


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Private employers

Massachusetts is one of the few states that require private employers to give employees holiday leave. The laws, known as Massachusetts’ Blue Laws, differentiate between retailers, non-retailers, and manufacturers. Those differences are discussed below. MA Laws 136; Mass. Blue Laws Overview.

Retail

Holidays on which work can be performed only with a permit from the local police department and approval by the State’s Division of Occupational Safety:

  • Christmas
  • Columbus Day before noon
  • Thanksgiving
  • Veteran’s Day before 1:00 p.m.

Holidays on which work can be performed without a permit, however, employees can refuse to work and must be paid 1½ times their regular rate if they do:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Labor Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Columbus Day after 12:00 noon
  • Independence Day
  • Veterans’ Day after 1:00 p.m.

Holidays on which work can be performed without limitations:

  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Patriots’ Day
  • President’s Day
  • Bunker Hill Day
  • Evacuation Day

Non-Retail

Holidays on which work can be performed only with a permit from the local police (If the permit is acquired an employee can be required to work and is only entitled to regular pay unless standard overtime or Sunday Blue Laws apply):

  • Christmas
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Columbus Day before 12:00 noon
  • Memorial Day
  • Veterans Day before 1:00 p.m.
  • Independence Day

Holidays on which work can be performed without limitation:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Patriots Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Bunker Hill Day
  • President’s Day
  • Columbus Day after 12:00 noon
  • Evacuation Day
  • Veterans Day after 1:00 p.m.

Manufacturing

The non-retail holiday requirements generally apply to manufacturing. However, although manufacturers may lawfully stay open on legal holidays with the proper permits, employees cannot be required to work on those days, but instead must be given the option to work or not, except in very limited circumstances where the work being performed:

  • is absolutely necessary and
  • the enterprise requires continuous operation. Otherwise work must be voluntary.

Find out more about Massachusett’s Leave Laws.