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State Legal Holidays

This page provides an overview of Washington State legal holiday statutes, including the state holiday schedule for the current year, floating holidays, and a model policy addressing unpaid holidays for reasons of faith or conscience.

New legislation: Beginning in 2022, SHB 1016 makes Juneteenth (June 19) a new paid state holiday, commemorating the abolishment of slavery and the day that the knowledge of freedom reached the last remaining enslaved people in 1865. Because June 19 falls on a Sunday in 2022, the new state holiday will be observed for the first time on Monday, June 20, 2022.

Local governments are not required to follow the state legal holiday schedule, but many do. For jurisdictions considering adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday, below are a couple examples:

  • Bremerton Ordinance No. 5425 (2021) – Adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday beginning in 2022, consistent with SHB 1016
  • King County Ordinance No. 19209 (2020) – Adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all county employees eligible for comprehensive leave benefits; enacted prior to SHB 1016

We also have examples of Juneteenth proclamations in our Sample Document Library.


RCW 1.16.050 defines the Washington State legal holidays shown in the schedule below. Many local governments follow the state holiday schedule, although they are not required to. 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.

Practice Tip: 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. The Washington State Council of Presidents has developed a Holiday & Observance Calendar that 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.

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.

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


Holiday State Statutory Designation of Holiday (RCW 1.16.050) Observed Holiday Date
New Year's Day First day of January December 31, 2021 (Friday)
Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday Third Monday in January January 17, 2022 (Monday)
Presidents' Day Third Monday in February February 21, 2022 (Monday)
Memorial Day Last Monday of May May 30, 2022 (Monday)
Juneteenth June 19 June 20, 2022 (Monday)
Independence Day July 4 July 4, 2022 (Monday)
Labor Day First Monday in September September 5, 2022 (Monday)
Veterans' Day November 11 November 11, 2022 (Friday)
Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November November 24, 2022 (Thursday)
Native American Heritage Day Friday immediately following fourth Thursday in November November 25, 2022 (Friday)
Christmas Day December 25 December 26, 2022 (Monday)
Floating Holiday Selected in accordance with local ordinance or resolution and personnel policies

Last Modified: January 04, 2022