A Guide to Holidays and Holiday Pay in the USA | 2022

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May 12, 2021

From time-off for workers to holiday pay and employee benefits, federal holidays in 2022 can affect your business in many ways. Also, the effects of federal holidays may differ from that of state or regional holidays. As a business owner in the USA, you must understand the possible impacts these holidays can have on your business so you can plan how to better manage them.

During holidays in the USA, most employees are entitled to take a break from work. And according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay employees only for the time they have worked, unless otherwise written into their contract agreement.

Some employers may think not giving holiday pay helps their balance sheet. On the other hand, business activities may be affected when workers are on holiday. As such, a good understanding of how holidays work is essential to designing a PTO (Paid Time Off) policy for your small business. Let's dig in to understand American holidays, and holiday pay in 2022.

What is a federal holiday in America in 2022?

In the USA, a federal holiday is a date that is recognized and assigned by the federal government as a holiday. On such holidays, non-essential federal institutions and offices are closed. Trading in the stock market is also usually suspended.

Though similar, a federal holiday is not to be mistaken for a national holiday. A national holiday is observed by all employees in a nation, including state and private companies unless otherwise exempted. Unlike national holidays, federal holidays require only federal employees to stay off-work. It is not mandatory for state and private employees to observe federal holidays although they may decide to participate as a general convention of courtesy.

USA federal holidays are established by Congress, and Congress is permitted by the constitution to designate holidays only for federal institutions. As such, the United States does not observe any national holidays.

Employees in federal institutions and organizations are entitled to holiday pay during a federal holiday. But whether or not you pay your employees as a small business owner is dependent on the holiday pay policy you operate. Unlike federal institutions, private employers are not required to pay their employees on holidays. 

However, you may decide to give your employees holiday pay or pay them based on the work they do on holidays. Also, companies can implement their unique internal holiday policies to create better working conditions for their employees.

What is a federal holiday in the states, 2022?

What are the 10 federal holidays in the USA in 2022?

The United States observes 10 legally recognized federal holidays annually. These holidays are not mandatory for state and private institutions although they may decide to join. As listed by the OPM, the 10 U.S federal holidays in 2021 and their respective dates are:

  1. New Year Day - Friday, January 1
  2. Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Monday, January 18
  3. George Washington's Birthday - Monday, February 15
  4. Memorial Day - Monday, May 31
  5. Independence Day - Monday, July 5
  6. Labor Day - Monday, September 6
  7. Columbus Day - Monday, October 11
  8. Veterans Day - Thursday, November 11
  9. Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, November 25
  10. Christmas Day - Saturday, December 25

The USA also celebrates Inauguration Day on 20th January every four years. If the 20th of January falls on a Sunday, the Inauguration Day for that year is celebrated the following Monday.

Should any federal holiday fall on a Saturday, employees are allowed to observe it the preceding Friday. Federal holidays that fall on Sundays are observed the following Monday for pay and leave purposes.

In the case of a federal holiday that falls on a day when an employee is not scheduled to work, the employee can take the holiday on the scheduled workday immediately before the actual holiday date.

What is a state holiday in the USA in 2022?

A State holiday is a holiday that is recognized and designated for organizations in the public and government sector of that state. Private organizations in a state may observe state holidays although it may not be mandatory for them to do so.

The designations of holidays may differ from one state to another. A state may have some holidays peculiar only to that state. For example, the State of Arizona recognizes the second Sunday in May as a holiday for Mothers' Day. In the State of Florida, the second Monday in October is recognized as Farmers Day.

The requirements for state holidays may also vary across states. For instance, most states in the U.S. do not require private companies to pay their employees on holidays—the exceptions are Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

As such, most state laws permit private employers to implement their policies regarding holidays and holiday pay. However, your business is bound by the policies if you created anyone. To find out the holiday requirements for a state, you can contact the State Labor Office in that state. 

What is a regional holiday in the USA in 2022?

While U.S. federal holidays apply to federal institutions, regional holidays are observed in regions within the country. Different regions observe different holidays that are peculiar only to them.

Some examples of regional holidays in the USA include:

  • Pioneer Day - July 24 - Utah 
  • Gaspee Days - Rhode Island
  • Margaretta Day - June 16 - Maine
  • San Jacinto Day -April 21 - Texas
  • Mildred Fish - Harnack - September 16 - Wisconsin

What is a government holiday in the USA in 2022?

A government holiday is a calendar date recognized and allocated as a holiday by the government. Each level of government in the U.S.—federal, state, and local government—may have different designations for holidays.

Federal holidays apply to employees in institutions under the federal government, state holidays apply to state government workers, and so on.  This implies that

employees under the federal level are not expected to participate in state or local government holidays.

How can I automate USA holiday pay calculations in 2022?

Can you imagine how much time you would save if you could automate your holiday pay calculations? Well you can.  

Push Operations has created smart software that integrates with your staffing back end, to automatically calculate stat holiday pay while scheduling, and paying staff. Payroll is done, and so are holiday pay calculations at the click of a button.

For further information on automating statutory holiday pay calculations download our free guide! Or, connect with a helpful team member at Push today.

Work in California? Check the free overtime calculator we created below!

holiday pay in the usa

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May 2021


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