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State Legal Holidays

This page provides an overview of Washington State legal holiday statutes, including the current state holiday schedule and a model policy addressing unpaid holiday requirements.


Overview

RCW 1.16.050 defines the Washington State legal holidays shown in the schedule below. 

RCW 1.16.050(5) provides that when a legal holiday, other than Sunday, falls upon a Sunday, the following Monday shall be the legal holiday. When a legal holiday falls upon a Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be the legal holiday.

See also, RCW 2.28.100 and RCW 2.28.110 for court business on legal holidays, and RCW 28A.150.050 for school holidays.

While not statutorially required when scheduling public meetings and events, it can be helpful to be aware of dates that are significant to people of various faiths or ethnicities even if the days are not celebrated as state legal holidays. This Calendar of Religious Holidays and Observances developed by the University of Washington might be of assistance.


Model Policy for Unpaid Holiday Requirements

The MRSC model policy listed below addresses the unpaid holiday requirement of RCW 1.16.050. It is designed as a comprehensive policy that Washington jurisdictions can adopt wholesale into their existing personnel policies, or use as a foundation for crafting a more individualized policy.


Floating Holiday

RCW 1.16.050(2) gives state employees one additional paid holiday per calendar year. This additional holiday, often referred to as a “floating” holiday, is taken on a date determined by the employee after consultation with his or her employer pursuant to an adopted policy.

However, the floating holiday is not required for local governments. While the text of RCW 1.16.050(2) also applies to most of the state's "political subdivisions" and seemingly makes the floating holiday a requirement for local governments, the Attorney General’s Office has interpreted RCW 1.16.050(6) as authorizing local governments to not provide the floating holiday to its employees (AGO 1978 No. 7).


State Legal Holiday Schedule

The following are Washington State's legal holidays. Many local governments follow the state holiday schedule, although they are not required to. Under RCW 1.16.050(6), the legislative body of each local government may choose to adopt more or fewer holidays through their ordinances, resolutions, personnel policies, or union contracts.

MRSC follows the state holiday schedule, and our office will be closed these days.

2018

Holiday State Statutory Designation of Holiday (RCW 1.16.050) Observed Holiday Date
Christmas Day December 25 December 25, 2018 (Tuesday)
Floating Holiday Selected in accordance with local ordinance or resolution and personnel policies

2019

Holiday State Statutory Designation of Holiday (RCW 1.16.050) Observed Holiday Date
New Year's Day First day of January January 1, 2019 (Tuesday)
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Third Monday in January January 21, 2019 (Monday)
Presidents' Day Third Monday in February February 18, 2019 (Monday)
Memorial Day Last Monday of May May 27, 2019 (Monday)
Independence Day July 4 July 4, 2019 (Thursday)
Labor Day First Monday in September September 2, 2019 (Monday)
Veterans' Day November 11 November 11, 2019 (Monday)
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November November 28, 2019 (Thursday)
Native American Heritage Day Friday immediately following fourth Thursday in November November 29, 2019 (Friday)
Christmas Day December 25 December 25, 2019 (Tuesday)
Floating Holiday Selected in accordance with local ordinance or resolution and personnel policies

Last Modified: December 03, 2018