There are a total of eleven federal holidays across the calendar year in the US. These are days that are recognized by the US Government with most non-essential government departments being closed to allow workers to celebrate.
While private companies aren’t strictly required to observe these holidays, most will be closed on these days.
So what are the federal holidays for 2022?
January 1st: New Year’s Day
This day is held to welcome the New Year and has been celebrated every year since 1885.
January 17th: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
On this day, every year since 1983, Americans celebrate the civil rights champion, Martin Luther King, Jr. Although his birthday is the 15th of January, which this year fell on a Saturday, the Martin Luther King federal holiday took place on the next working day.
February 21st: President’s Day
This federal holiday is otherwise known as George Washington’s birthday and has been celebrated every third Monday of February since 1879.
May 30th: Memorial Day
Originally known as Decoration Day, this day allows Americans to observe the memory of all US Armed Forces who have died whilst serving their country. It has been celebrated every last Monday of Mary since 1967.
June 20th: Juneteenth
Juneteenth marks the time the last enslaved African Americans in the USA found out they became free. In April 1865, the Confederate army surrendered, which in effect, ended the Civil War.
The news took time to reach each enslaved person, and it took until June 19th before Union soldiers brought the news to the slaves in Galveston, Texas – over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln.
Juneteenth has only been celebrated as a federal holiday since 2021.
July 4th: Independence Day
Independence Day marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence which founded the United States as a sovereign nation. It has been celebrated every June 4th since 1870.
September 5th: Labor Day
Labor day is a celebration of the American Labor force and is now also dedicated to the socio-economic prosperity of American workers. It has been celebrated every first Monday of September as a federal holiday since 1894.
October 10th: Columbus Day
This day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas and has been celebrated as a federal holiday every second Monday of October since 1937.
November 11th: Veteran’s Day
On Veteran’s Day, Americans commemorate and remember all the US military veterans both past and present. It has been marked as a federal holiday every November 11th since 1926.
November 24th: Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving was traditionally marked as a day when Americans give thanks for the harvest of the previous year and was originally focused on the traditional harvest feast early American settlers would enjoy. Today, it’s the day when American families and friends get together, break bread, and give thanks.
It’s been celebrated every fourth Thursday of November since 1941.
December 25th: Christmas Day
Christmas Day is a Christian festival that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s celebrated every December 25th and has been a federal holiday since 1885.
These eleven federal holidays of 2022 are days when the majority of Americans would expect not to have to go to work.
That being said, if you’re a private business, you’re not legally required to give your staff the day off. Whatever your approach to federal holidays, it’s worth being clear about them, along with holiday entitlements, in employee contracts, and HR policies.