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Is Columbus Day a federal holiday? (Translation: Do you get the day off?)

We break down one of the most confusing holidays in the U.S.
Is Columbus Day a Federal Holiday
Photo: Getty Images

We know that when you ask — is Columbus Day a federal holiday? — what you’re actually wondering is whether you get the day off of work. We know, we know. You work hard, transitioning into fall is rough and, well, you just need a break.

Here’s the deal with the somewhat confusing holiday — and how it changes, or doesn’t change, your work schedule.

So, is Columbus Day a federal holiday?

Columbus Day is a public holiday in many parts of the country. Yes, it’s still a federal government holiday, which means some government offices are closed. Federal workers get the day off, so that means banks and bond market will be closed, though the stock market will be open. If you need to get to the bank, plan it for the weekend or first thing on Tuesday morning.

Since it’s a federal holiday, does that mean you’ll get the day off of work? Not so fast. Are you a federal worker? If not, it’s complicated. Columbus Day is only legally required to be observed in some states. In fact, it’s one of the most inconsistently celebrated holidays in America.

Only 23 states gave their employees Columbus Day as a paid holiday in 2015, according to the Council of States Governments’ Book of the States. This does not include the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which also give the day as a paid holiday. That means you’ll need to check to see if your local schools or post offices are closed for the day.

For everyone who isn’t a federal or state employee, that means it’s up to your employer. Don’t blame us, we’re just the messenger here. But! If your employer doesn’t give you a paid holiday but you happen to live in a state that gives state workers the day off — read: teachers — and school is out, maybe use that as a really good excuse to take the day off of work and stay home with the kids.

 
 
 
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