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Pay & Leave Pay Administration

Fact Sheet: Federal Holidays - Work Schedules and Pay

Designation of Holidays

Holidays for Federal Employees

  • New Year's Day (January 1).
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Third Monday in January).
  • Washington's Birthday (Third Monday in February).
  • 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 Day (Fourth Thursday in November).
  • Christmas Day (December 25).

Presidential Inauguration Day

Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area are entitled to a holiday on the day a President is inaugurated (January 20 following a Presidential election). Employees are entitled to this holiday if they are employed in-

  1. the District of Columbia;
  2. Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland;
  3. Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia; and
  4. the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia.

When Inauguration Day is moved to January 21st because January 20th falls on Sunday, Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area who would otherwise work on Monday, January 21st, are entitled to a holiday on that day.

"In Lieu of" Holidays

All full-time employees, including those on flexible or compressed work schedules, are entitled to an "in lieu of" holiday when a holiday falls on a nonworkday. In such cases, the employee's holiday is the basic workday immediately preceding the nonworkday. A basic workday for this purpose includes a day when part of the basic work requirement for an employee under a flexible work schedule is planned or scheduled to be performed.

There are three exceptions:

  1. If the nonworkday is Sunday (or an "in lieu of" Sunday), the next basic workday is the "in lieu of" holiday. (See section 3 of E.O. 11582, February 11, 1971.)
  2. If Inauguration Day falls on a nonworkday, there is no provision for an "in lieu of" holiday.
  3. If the head of an agency determines that a different "in lieu of" holiday is necessary to prevent an "adverse agency impact," he or she may designate a different "in lieu of" holiday for full-time employees under compressed work schedules. (See 5 U.S.C. 6131(b).)

An employee is not entitled to another day off as an "in lieu of" holiday if a Federal office or facility is closed on a holiday because of a weather emergency or when employees are furloughed on a holiday.

Two Holidays in One Pay Period

Occasionally, two holidays will fall within the same pay period. A full-time employee on a flexible work schedule is entitled to 8 hours of pay on a holiday when the employee does not work. (See 5 U.S.C. 6124.) Therefore, when two 8-hour holidays fall within the same pay period, full-time employees on a 5/4-9 flexible schedule (or other flexible schedules under which employees work more than 8 hours a day) must make arrangements to work extra hours during other regularly scheduled workdays (or take annual leave or use credit hours or compensatory time off) in order to fulfill the 80-hour biweekly work requirement.

Holidays for Employees Outside the United States

Holidays designated by law to occur on Monday (i.e., Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day) are moved to Sundays for employees at duty posts outside the United States who are regularly scheduled to work on Monday. This applies to employees whose basic workweek is Sunday through Thursday. However, it does not apply to employees whose basic workweek is Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday.

This rule does not apply to "in lieu of" holidays. (See 5 U.S.C. 6103(b)(3).)

Presidential Closing of Agencies

Presidents occasionally issue Executive orders closing Federal departments and agencies for part or all of a workday. Employees are excused from duty during such periods unless they are "emergency employees," as determined by their agencies. Such Executive orders often provide that the time off will be treated like a holiday for pay and leave purposes. Employees who are required to work during their basic tour of duty on such days are entitled to holiday premium pay.

Tours On A Holiday

A basic (nonovertime) tour of duty that includes some, but not all, hours on a holiday is considered a holiday tour. (See section 5 of E.O. 11582, February 11, 1971, and B-202626, September 4, 1984.)

When two basic (nonovertime) tours of duty include hours on a holiday, the holiday tour is the tour of duty that begins on the holiday. (See section 5 of E.O. 11582, February 11, 1971.)

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Pay on a Holiday

Full-time Employees

Full-time employees who are not required to work on a holiday receive their rate of basic pay for the applicable number of holiday hours.

Standard (40-Hour/5-Day Week) Work Schedules. On a holiday, employees under a standard work schedule are generally excused from 8 hours of nonovertime work, which are considered part of the 40-hour basic workweek.

Flexible Work Schedules. On a holiday, employees under flexible work schedules are credited with 8 hours towards their 80-hour basic work requirement for the pay period. Employees under flexible work schedules are credited with 8 holiday hours even if they would otherwise work more hours on that day.  In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, a full-time employee on a flexible work schedule is credited with half the number of hours he or she was scheduled to work, not to exceed 4 hours.  (See 5 U.S.C. 6124 and the definition of "basic work requirement" in 5 U.S.C. 6121(3).)

Compressed Work Schedules. On a holiday, employees under compressed work schedules are generally excused from all of the nonovertime hours they would otherwise work on that day and which apply to their "basic work requirement." For example, if a holiday falls on a 9- or 10-hour basic workday, the employee's holiday is 9 or 10 hours, respectively.  In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, a full-time employee on a compressed work schedule is entitled to basic pay for half the number of hours he or she would otherwise work on that day.  (See 5 CFR 610.406(a).)

Part-time Employees

A part-time employee is entitled to a holiday when the holiday  falls on a day when he or she would otherwise be required to work or take leave. This does not include overtime work.

Part-time employees who are excused from work on a holiday receive their rate of basic pay for the hours they are regularly scheduled to work on that day.

Standard (40-Hour/5-Day Week) Work Schedules. On a holiday, part-time employees under standard work schedules are generally excused from duty for the number of basic (nonovertime) hours they are regularly scheduled to work on that day, not to exceed 8 hours.

Flexible Work Schedules. On a holiday, part-time employees under a flexible work schedule are generally excused from duty for the number of hours of their "basic work requirement" (i.e., nonovertime hours) on that day, not to exceed 8 hours. (See 5 CFR 610.405.) In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, a part-time employee on a flexible work schedule is generally excused from duty for half the number of hours in his or her "basic work requirement" on that day, not to exceed 4 hours.

Compressed work schedules. On a holiday, part-time employees under a compressed work schedule are generally excused from all of the hours of their compressed work schedules (i.e., "basic work requirement") on that day. (See 5 CFR 610.406(b).) In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, a part-time employee on a compressed work schedule is generally excused from half of the hours of his or her compressed work schedule on that day.

If a holiday falls on a nonworkday, part-time employees are not entitled to an "in lieu of" holiday. If an agency's office or facility is closed due to an "in lieu of" holiday for full-time employees, the agency may grant paid excused absence to part-time employees who are otherwise scheduled to work on that day. (63 Comp. Gen. 306 (1984).)

Pay Status of Employees

Employees must be in a pay status or a paid time off status (i.e., leave, compensatory time off, compensatory time off for travel, or credit hours) on their scheduled workdays either before or after a holiday in order to be entitled to their regular pay for that day.  Employees who are in a non-pay status for the workdays immediately before and after a holiday may not receive compensation for that holiday.

Holiday Work

"Holiday work" means nonovertime work performed by employees during their regularly scheduled daily tour of duty on a holiday. (See 5 CFR 550.103.)

Holiday Premium Pay

For each hour of holiday work, employees receive holiday premium pay. Holiday premium pay is equal to an employee's rate of basic pay. Employees who are required to work on a holiday receive their rate of basic pay, plus holiday premium pay, for each hour of holiday work. (See 5 U.S.C. 5546(b).)

Employees who are required to perform any work during basic (nonovertime) holiday hours are entitled to a minimum of 2 hours of holiday premium pay. (See 5 U.S.C. 5546(c).)

Standard (40-Hour/5 Day Week) Work Schedules. Employees are entitled to holiday premium pay if they are required to work on a holiday during their regularly scheduled nonovertime basic tours of duty, not to exceed 8 hours.

Flexible Work Schedules. Employees under flexible work schedules are entitled to holiday premium pay if they are required to work during the hours of their "basic work requirement" (i.e., nonovertime hours) on that day, not to exceed 8 hours. In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, part-time employees on a flexible work schedule are entitled to holiday premium pay if they are required to work during the last half of their "basic work requirement" (i.e., nonovertime hours) on that day, not to exceed 4 hours.

Compressed Work Schedules. Employees under compressed work schedules are entitled to holiday premium pay if they are required to work during their "basic work requirement" on that day. The number of hours of holiday premium pay may not exceed the hours in an employee's compressed work schedule for that day (e.g., 8, 9, or 10 nonovertime hours). (See 5 CFR 610.407.)  In the event the President issues an Executive order granting a "half-day" holiday, part-time employees on a compressed work schedule are entitled to holiday premium pay if they are required to work during the last half of their "basic work requirement" (i.e., nonovertime hours) on that day.

Part-time employees do not receive holiday premium pay for working on an "in lieu of" holiday for full-time employees.

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Overtime on Holidays

Overtime Work on a Holiday

Standard (40-Hour/5-Day Week) Work Schedules. Overtime work on a holiday is work in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. This also applies to part-time employees.

Flexible Work Schedules. Overtime work on a holiday for employees under flexible work schedules is work in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week that is officially ordered in advance. (See 5 U.S.C. 6121(6).)

Compressed Work Schedules. Overtime work on a holiday for an employee under a compressed work schedule is hours of work in excess of the employee's compressed work schedule (e.g., 8-, 9-, or 10-hour "basic work requirement") on that day. (See 5 U.S.C. 6121(7).)

Holiday hours, hours of paid leave, use of accrued compensatory time off or credit hours, and hours of excused absence with pay are credited as hours of work towards the overtime pay standards. For example, these hours are credited when determining whether an employee has worked in excess of 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week under a standard or flexible work schedule. (See 5 CFR 550.112(c) and 5 CFR 551.401(b).)

Employees are not excused from overtime work on a holiday because of the holiday.

Overtime Pay On a Holiday

Employees are entitled to overtime pay, or compensatory time off, when applicable, if the agency requires overtime work on a holiday.

Overtime work must generally be ordered or approved. However, employees who are covered by the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (FLSA), also are entitled to overtime pay if overtime work is "suffered or permitted" by a supervisor. One exception is that no "suffered and permitted" hours of work can be credited to employees under flexible work schedules.

Overtime work does not include credit hours worked voluntarily (earned) under a flexible work schedule. (See 5 U.S.C. 6121(6).)

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Work on Holidays

Night Work

Employees are entitled to night pay for regularly scheduled work at night, including actual work performed at night during holiday hours or overtime hours. Night pay is paid in addition to holiday premium pay or overtime pay. (See 5 CFR 550.122(c).)

Employees also are entitled to night pay when they are excused from regularly scheduled night work during holiday hours. A General Schedule employee who is excused from night work during holiday hours receives his or her rate of basic pay plus night pay. (See 5 CFR 550.122(a).) Night shift differential is part of basic pay for Federal Wage System employees. (See 5 CFR 532.505(b).)

Sunday Work

An employee is entitled to holiday premium pay and Sunday premium pay if he or she is required to work during holiday hours on Sunday and Sunday work is part of the employee's regularly scheduled basic workweek (or basic work requirement). If an employee does not work during the holiday hours on Sunday, the employee receives basic pay for the holiday hours, but is not entitled to Sunday premium pay. This is because Sunday premium pay cannot be paid unless an employee actually performs work on Sunday. (See section 624 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999; 5 U.S.C. 5546(a) and 6128(c); and 5 CFR 550.172.)

References

  • 5 U.S.C. 6103, 6104, and 6124
  • E.O. 11582 of February 11, 1971
  • 5 CFR 550.103 (definition of holiday work), 550.131 and 132
  • 5 CFR 610.201 and 202, and 610.405 through 407
  • Comptroller General opinions:
    • 25 Comp. Gen. 452 (1945); 32 Comp. Gen. 378 (1953);
    • 51 Comp. Gen. 586 (1972); B-192104, September 1, 1978; and 63 Comp. Gen. 306 (1984)
    • B-187520, February 22, 1977; B-186687, January 13, 1977; and 56 Comp. Gen. 393 (1977)

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