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D.C. Area Employees Won’t Get Extra January Holiday This Year

by Ian Smith |

Inauguration Day is a legal public holiday for federal workers in the Washington, DC area that comes around once every four years for inauguration of the newly elected president. Normally this means that federal employees in Washington, DC get three holidays in January after an election year: one for Inauguration Day, one for New Year’s and one for the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Inauguration Day is given to employees as a holiday if they work in these areas:

  • the District of Columbia
  • Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland
  • Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia
  • the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia

However, this year will be different. According to OPM, since Inauguration Day will fall on the same day as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, the holidays are getting rolled into one, leaving employees without the additional paid holiday.

A memo released today by OPM states:

As provided by law, Inauguration Day is a legal public holiday on January 20th of every fourth year in the Washington, DC, area, except when it falls on Sunday, in which case the next succeeding day selected for the public observance of the inauguration of the President is a legal public holiday.  In 2013, January 20th falls on Sunday, and the public observance of the President’s Inauguration will be held on Monday, January 21.  Since Inauguration Day falls on the same day as the holiday commemorating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., both holidays will be observed on the same day, Monday, January 21, 2013.

Employees who are regularly scheduled to work on Monday, January 21, will observe both holidays concurrently.  Employees who are not required to work on a holiday receive their rate of basic pay for the applicable number of holiday hours, and 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.  Employees who are not scheduled to work on January 21 will receive an “in lieu of” holiday for the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, but not for the Inauguration Day holiday.  By law, there is no entitlement to an “in lieu of” holiday for employees who are not scheduled to work on Inauguration Day.

The “in lieu of” holiday for the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., is designated in law as the employee’s basic workday immediately preceding the nonworkday.  The head of an agency may designate a different “in lieu of” holiday for full-time employees under compressed work schedules if he or she determines that a different “in lieu of” holiday is necessary to prevent an “adverse agency impact.”

© 2014 FedSmith Inc. All rights reserved. This copyrighted article may not be reproduced without express written consent of FedSmith Inc.

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Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the founders of FedSmith.com. He writes about current topics that impact federal employees.

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