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

By on January 4, 2013 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 12 Comments

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.”

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.


About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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  1. payingtoomcuh says:

    Hey, don’t blame the federal workers because they get this holiday.  The recommendations for holidays has to  be passed by Congress.  The person(s) you need to after are your representatives that recommended that MLK needed a holiday.
    As far as Inauguruation day goes, try getting to work.  We need to eliminate the whole affair, at a cost of $120 million is it really worth it?  I guess you can file this under “creating jobs”, but from what the news media reported, a lot of the extra help needed to handle security, all the people, etc. a lot of the extra help was from other states.  What happens to them when their support personnel are here?  Are they having to pay overtime to compensate for the loss of personnel?
    The bill creating the holiday for Martin Luther King was signed in 1983 by President Reagan. Is the holiday or the inaugruation of Obama specifically the issue here?

  2. Handjlandhraf says:

    I bet the senators get a raise! Give me a break. We give billions of dollars overseas that we don’t have and it is always the federal workers that get the raw end of the deal!

  3. Westisthebest says:

    There is no intelligent life East of the Mississippi.

  4. Super_Babysitter says:

    My heart bleeds for them……………..

  5. TaxPayer says:

    Why do we have a parade.  Just get to work.

    • NoDonkey says:

      Exactly, we had the parade in 2009 and since then, I haven’t seen any work but he got re-elected anyway so there’s that. 

  6. Deborah091GVJS737 says:

    Not sure how other folks feel. Seems like OPM pretty much boasting about cheating federal employees and the memory of Dr. King’s great work out of the full amount of honor and reverence it rightly deserves. Rather than take the low road, OPM should be granting two consecutive holidays to appropriately and adequately honor Dr. King’s rich legacy and memory.

    • Erikaannimeyer says:

      huh? and tell me again why federal employees in DC shouldget a paid holiday on Inauguration Day whe the rest of the country works and watches the inauguration on the 5 o’clock news? BTW, not everybody gets a day off for MLK birthday either

  7. SterlingMorrison says:

    They will make up for it by giving them a snow day when DC gets an inch of snow. 

    • grannybunny says:

      Not to mention the “holiday” they were given a couple of years ago:  a day off to enjoy the cherry blossoms in bloom at the Tidal Basin!  🙂

  8. wombat1951 says:


  9. Retiring next year says:

    Oh wah. We never get that as a holiday. I see the parking benefit is going up to $240 a month. Also for DC people, who have a perfectly good metro system. I pay for my parking every month and don’t get reimbursed for it.