Organizational Wellness

Celebrate Employee Wellbeing: An HR Leader’s Guide to Federal Holidays in 2024

Dec 14, 2023
Last Updated Dec 14, 2023

You have probably experienced the unmistakable buzz of an office before a long weekend. The desks are tidied up and colleagues chat about their plans for the holiday as the collective anticipation transforms an ordinary workplace into a hub of excitement. 

Federal holidays play a significant role in shaping the rhythm of work life in the United States. These are days marked by the closure of federal government offices and schools, as well as various businesses. More than a break from the daily grind, federal holidays carry historical or cultural significance. 

Along with the cultural implications, federal holidays are an important part of navigating the delicate balance between employee wellbeing, productivity, and labor laws. This is especially important for companies looking to create a workplace culture that respects both professional and personal aspects of their employees’ lives. Planning ahead for the paid federal holidays in 2024 when looking at your employee benefits can help your organization maintain the balance between productivity and relaxation. 

101 Unique Employee Benefit Ideas.png

When Are the Federal Holidays in 2024?

There are 11 federal holidays that most companies observe, including: 

  • New Year’s Day – Monday, January 1, 2024
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Monday, January 15, 2024
  • President’s Day – Monday, February 19, 2024
  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 27, 2024
  • Juneteenth – Wednesday, June 19, 2024
  • Independence Day – Thursday, July 4, 2024
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 2, 2024
  • Columbus Day/Indigenous People’s Day – Monday, October 14, 2024
  • Veterans Day – Monday, November 11, 2024
  • Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 28, 2024
  • Christmas Day – Wednesday, December 25, 2024

Generally, federal holidays will be observed on the Friday before if they fall on a Saturday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, it is often celebrated on the following Monday for leave purposes.

Federal Holidays in the Private Sector

Outside of government offices, the observance of federal holidays is left up to individual employers. This means that your organization has the flexibility to decide whether or not you will grant time off for these holidays. Companies in the private sector can tailor their approach based on industry requirements and the preferences of their workforce. While this flexibility can be beneficial, it also makes planning and communication even more important. The goal is to strike a balance between employee expectations and business demands. 

To ensure a well-coordinated response to federal holidays, your business can establish clear policies about paid and unpaid time off. It is important to communicate these policies to employees well in advance so that they know what to expect around the holidays. It is also helpful to create contingency plans to cover essential staffing needs if you do offer time off. 

Paid federal holidays can have tangible benefits for both employees and employers alike. For example, compensating employees for these days can contribute to higher levels of job satisfaction and company loyalty. Paid time off ranks among the top 10 most important benefits for workers considering a job change, so a clear policy around federal holidays can help attract top talent. By prioritizing paid time off, businesses can experience reduced burnout and enhanced retention rates.

Commonly Observed Federal Holidays in the Workplace

New Year’s Day

This holiday is a global celebration marking the commencement of the Gregorian calendar year. It symbolizes new beginnings, offering people a collective moment to reflect on the past and embrace a fresh start. In workplaces, it often serves as a time for goal setting and renewed enthusiasm for the year ahead.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Celebrated on the third Monday in January, this day honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., a pivotal figure in the American civil rights movement. It serves as a commemoration of his tireless advocacy for racial equality and justice, as well as a call to action for individuals to contribute to positive social change. Many organizations use this day to engage in community service projects or educational initiatives that promote equality and inclusivity.

President’s Day

Observed on the third Monday in February, this holiday honors the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It serves as a time to reflect on the contributions of past U.S. presidents and the nation's history. Retailers often offer special sales, and workplaces may engage in patriotic activities or educational initiatives to highlight the significance of the presidency in shaping the country.

Memorial Day 

This federal holiday falls on the last Monday in May. Memorial Day is a solemn occasion dedicated to honoring the men and women who sacrificed their lives in service to the United States. It is a day of remembrance and gratitude for the bravery of military personnel. Many communities hold ceremonies at cemeteries and memorials, and workplaces often participate by observing a moment of silence or supporting veterans' initiatives.

Juneteenth

Juneteenth, celebrated on June 19th, commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. Often, employees are encouraged to use this day off to engage in activities that promote an understanding of African-American history and culture. Observing Juneteenth signals a commitment to acknowledging and addressing historical injustices and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations.

Independence Day

July 4th commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, marking the birth of the United States. Celebrated with fireworks and parades, as well as other patriotic displays, this holiday fosters a sense of national pride and unity. In the workplace, it often translates into festive activities like picnics or team-building events.

Labor Day

This federal holiday takes place on the first Monday in September. It is a tribute to the contributions of workers and the achievements of the labor movement. Often regarded as the symbolic end of summer, it provides an opportunity for relaxation and recreation. Workplaces may celebrate with barbecues or acknowledge the dedication and hard work of their employees.

Veterans Day

Observed on November 11th, this federal holiday honors military veterans. Most companies encourage employees to honor and thank veterans for their service. Workplaces may organize events, such as ceremonies or outreach programs, to express gratitude and support for veterans. There are also often community initiatives to assist and uplift veterans, fostering a sense of patriotism and unity among employees.

Thanksgiving

Celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is rooted in the early interactions between Native Americans and Pilgrims, symbolizing gratitude and unity. At work, it's a time to express appreciation for colleagues and reflect on shared accomplishments. Many organizations participate in philanthropic activities that contribute to local communities and embody the spirit of giving.

Christmas Day

Christmas is a widely observed cultural and religious holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Beyond its religious significance, it's a time for generosity and festive traditions. It often brings about holiday parties and a spirit of goodwill that fosters positive relationships among colleagues.

Non-Federal and Religious Holidays

There are plenty of non-federal holidays that encompass a range of cultural and regional observances, such as:

  • Easter
  • Hanukkah
  • Diwali
  • Chinese New Year
  •  Holi
  • Kwanzaa
  • Earth Day

These holidays may or may not require work depending on employer policies. However, recognizing religious and cultural diversity through these holidays can boost employee satisfaction. Even if your organization does not offer paid time off for every federal and non-federal holiday, you can foster inclusivity with flexible scheduling and remote work options. Open communication and proactive policies contribute to a workplace culture that supports employees in celebrating their unique traditions.

Holiday Employee Engagement Ideas

You can infuse your workplace with excitement through creative activities like a virtual "Deck the Halls" competition. For this engagement activity, encourage teams to decorate their workspaces or create virtual backgrounds. 

Another option is to initiate a holiday-themed trivia contest that blends fun and knowledge. You could also implement a "Gratitude Advent Calendar," where team members share a positive work experience each day. 

To celebrate diverse perspectives, your company can encourage employees to share their holiday traditions through a virtual showcase. These initiatives can help enhance team spirit by fostering collaboration and shared experiences.

Paid Federal Holidays and Employee Wellbeing

Paid federal holidays in 2024 offer employees valuable time for rest and personal pursuits. Recognizing the significance of these breaks can go a long way in contributing to employee satisfaction and overall wellbeing. 

Gympass takes this commitment a step further by providing comprehensive wellbeing solutions. Integrating Gympass into holiday planning allows employees to access a diverse range of fitness activities, fostering physical and mental health during time off. Gympass's programs cater to varying interests, ensuring a personalized approach to wellness.

From virtual fitness classes to mindfulness sessions, Gympass enhances the employee experience, promoting a holistic approach to wellbeing. For more insights on optimizing employee benefits for wellness, talk to a wellbeing specialist who can provide tailored guidance for a healthier and more engaged workforce. 

Talk to a Gympass Wellbeing Specialist_US2.png

References


Share


Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


Subscribe

Our weekly newsletter is your source of education and inspiration to help you create a corporate wellness program that actually matters.

By subscribing you agree Gympass may use the information to contact you regarding relevant products and services. Questions? See our Privacy Policy.