Washington State Holidays


The State of Washington 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 national and state holidays recognized by Washington.

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday (3rd Monday in January)
  • Presidents’ Day (3rd Monday in February)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
  • Native American Heritage Day (Day after Thanksgiving Day)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

WA Statute 1.16.050(1)

If a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday. If any of these holidays falls on a Saturday, it is observed on the prior Friday. WA Statute 1.16.050(5)


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Public employers

Employees of the state of Washington and its political subdivisions are entitled to paid holiday leave on the legal holidays listed above. WA Statute 1.16.050(4) Employees of the state and its political subdivision are entitled to one paid holiday per year in addition to those listed above, except employees of school districts and non-classified employees of institutions of higher education who hold appointments or who are employed under service contracts for less than 12 months. The eligible employees may select the date of the additional holiday after consulting with their employer. WA Statute 1.16.050(2)


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Private employers

Private employers in Washington are not required to close on any of the listed holidays. Additionally, private employers are not required to allow employees to take either paid or unpaid time off on the holidays nor are they required to pay employees any premium wage rates to employees who work on the holidays. Private employers may establish policies or practices granting employees time off on any of the listed holiday or agree to pay premium wage rates to employees who work on those days. Employers who establish such policies or practices may be required to comply with them.

Find out more about Washington’s Leave Laws.