District of Columbia Holidays

The District of Columbia has designated several days each calendar year as state holidays. The implications of these state holidays on public employers and private employers are discussed below.

The following list contains the state holidays recognized by the District of Columbia.

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday (3rd Monday in January)
  • Washington’s Birthday (3rd Monday in February)
  • District of Columbia Emancipation Day (April 16)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (1st Monday in September)
  • Columbus Day (2nd Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day (November 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday in November)
  • Friday After Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

DC Code 1-612.02

Public employers

Public employers must observe state holidays and employees must be granted paid leave on those days, subject to the following rules.

  • For full-time employees whose basic workweek is Monday to Friday, if a legal holiday falls on a Saturday, it is observed on the prior Friday. For the same group of employees, if a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, it is observed the following Monday.
  • For full-time employees whose basic workweek is other than Monday through Friday, except the regular weekly non-workday administratively scheduled for the employee instead of Sunday, the legal holiday is observed on the workday that falls immediately before the employee’s regular weekly non-workday.
  • Part-time employees are only entitled to legal holidays if the date of the legal holiday, as listed above, falls on a workday.

Employers must provide pay and leave to employees scheduled to work on Inauguration Day, which is on January 20 every fourth year beginning 1981. When Inauguration Day is on Sunday, the next succeeding day selected for the public observance of the inauguration is a public holiday.

DC Code 1-612.02

Private employers

Private employers in the District of Columbia 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 District of Columbia’s Leave Laws.

Federal Holidays

Click here for a list of federal holidays.