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District of Columbia Legal Holidays Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

Everyone knows what a holiday is, but a legal holiday is a day, such as Memorial Day or New Year's Day, on which government employees receive a paid day off or extra pay if they work. All states are required to observe federally recognized legal holidays, but some states have some legal holidays of their own, often reflecting that state's unique culture or history.

Legal Holidays in Washington, D.C. at a Glance

The District of Columbia recognizes federal legal holidays, as is required in all U.S. jurisdictions, including Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. But the day of the Inauguration of the nation's President, which happens every four years, also is an official Washington, D.C. holiday, as is every Saturday after 12:00 p.m.

The District of Columbia's Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014 revised a number of the district's wage and hour laws, including increased penalties for violations and a formal hearing process for complaints. If you were not paid properly on a legal holiday or have another type of wage claim, contact the D.C. Department of Employment Services' Labor Standards Bureau (Office of Wage-Hour) at (202) 671-1880.

The following chart lists D.C.'s legally recognized holidays, with links to additional resources. See FindLaw's Wages and Benefits section to learn more.

Code Section ยง28-2701
Holidays New Year's Day (January 1); Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday (third Monday in January); Washington's Birthday (third Monday in February); District of Columbia Emancipation Day (April 16); Memorial Day (last Monday in May); Independence Day (July 4); Labor Day (first Monday in September); Columbus Day (second Monday in October); Veterans Day (November 11); Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November); Christmas Day (December 25); every Saturday after 12:00 noon; day of the Inauguration of the President

Every Saturday is a holiday for:

  1. Every bank or banking institution having an office or banking house located within the District,
  2. Every Federal savings and loan association whose main office is in the District, and
  3. Every building association, building and loan association, or savings and loan association, incorporated or unincorporated, organized and operating under the laws of and having an office located within the District.

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time in a number of ways, typically through the enactment of new legislation or the decisions of higher courts. You may want to contact a District of Columbia employment law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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