The State of California 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 California.
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January)
- Lunar New Year (The date corresponding with the second new moon following the winter solstice, or the third new moon following the winter solstice should an intercalary month intervene)
- Lincoln Day (February 12)
- 3rd Monday in February
- Cesar Chavez Day (March 31)
- Good Friday from 12 noon until 3 p.m. (date varies from year to year but usually occurs in March or April)
- Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24)
- Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
- Juneteenth (June 19)
- July 4th
- Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
- Admission Day (September 9)
- Native American Day (4th Friday in September)
- Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
- Veterans Day (November 11)
- Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
- Any day appointed by the President or Governor for a public fast, thanksgiving, or holiday
When New Year’s Day, Lincoln Day, Cesar Chavez Day, July 4th, Admission Day, Veteran’s Day, or Christmas fall on a Sunday, it is observed on the following Monday. If Veteran’s Day falls on Saturday, it is observed on the prior Friday. CA Government Code 6701, CA Government Code 19853 When laws, ordinances, or charters provide that public offices shall be closed on holidays and a holiday falls on a Saturday, noon to midnight is a holiday as regards to the transaction of business in the public offices of the state or political divisions on that Saturday. CA Government Code 6702 The governor may designate additional holidays. CA Government Code 6701
State employees are entitled to the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 3rd Monday in February, Cesar Chavez Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, the day after Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas. If state employees are required to work on a holiday, they are entitled to receive straight-time pay and eight hours of holiday credit. CA Government Code 19853 Different rules may apply to state employees in State Bargaining Unit 5. See CA Government Code 19853.1
Full-time state employees who have worked for the state for at least six months are entitled to one personal holiday per year, which is credited on July 1. State offices may require employees to provide at least five working days’ advance notice before taking personal holiday leave and may deny requests due to operational needs. CA Government Code 19854 State employees, as defined in CA Government Code 3513(c), elect to take their personal holiday on Lunar New Year, Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24), Juneteenth (June 19) or Native American Day (4th Friday in September). CA Government Code 19853(e)
City offices must be closed on the holidays listed above unless the city has designated otherwise by charter, ordinance, or resolution. CA Government Code 6702 Counties may pass ordinance or resolutions that provide an alternative day as a holiday when any of the above listed holidays fall on a Saturday, except for employees working as court attaches. CA Government Code 6701
State offices and institutions and the University of California must be closed on Admission Day. State offices, agencies, and institutions, including the Legislature and the University of California, must be closed on Veteran’s Day. If Veteran’s Day falls on a Saturday, it is observed the prior Friday. CA Government Code 6703
Cities and districts may pass ordinances or resolutions designating every Saturday as a holiday; however, the ordinances or resolutions must provide for the continuation of essential public services such as police and fire protection. CA Government Code 6704
Public schools must be closed on:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or the Monday or Friday in the week in which January 15 falls
- The Monday or Friday of the week in which Lincoln Day falls
- Washington Day
- Memorial Day
- July 4th
- Labor Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
- Any other day designated by the president or governor
- Any other day designated by the governing school board
When a holiday falls on a Saturday, schools must be closed the prior Friday. When a holiday falls on a Sunday, schools must be closed the following Sunday. School district may change the day a holiday listed above is observed, except for Veterans Day. CA Education Code 37220 Public schools may also be closed on Cesar Chavez Day or the Monday preceding or Friday following that day, CA Education Code 37220.5, Native American Day (4th Friday in September), CA Education Code 37220.7, and Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24).
Private employers in California 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 holidays 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.
Click here for a list of federal holidays.
California State Holidays FAQs
Are there state holidays unique to California?
Aside from celebrating all federal holidays, California observes Rosa Parks Day on February 4 and César Chávez Day on March 31. California also considers the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
What should business owners in California keep in mind about holidays?
Some of the most important pieces of information an employer should remember are:
- The state of California celebrates Columbus Day. However, it is not considered a paid holiday for workers.
- An employer should provide employees holiday credit whenever holidays fall on a Saturday.
- Holidays that fall on a Sunday get celebrated the next day.
- Employees are entitled to get one personal holiday yearly.
- Finally, not everyone gets a day off during César Chávez Day. There are a lot of schools and businesses that still operate on March 31, regardless.