With May here, it means we’ve almost reached long-awaited summer time.
In addition to warmer weather, picnics, and longer days, the month of May also brings with it a federal holiday.
On Monday, May 27, Americans will celebrate Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in military service for the country.
The holiday, which marks the unofficial start to summer, is typically honoured with American flags and visits to grave sites, as well as barbecues, parades, and time spent outside.
Federal holidays, often observed with paid-time off from work, were created by Congress in 1885 when it was decided that federal employees should have certain days off from work.
As time went by, Congress realised how nice it was to have paid-time off – and added historical days of significance to the list of federal holidays, bringing the total number to 10.
And, to ensure that Americans get the chance to celebrate the holidays no matter what day they fall on, there are guidelines for observing.
Federal holidays that fall on a Saturday are observed by federal employees on the previous Friday, whereas holidays that fall on Sunday are observed the following Monday.
On these days, non-essential federal government offices are closed and banks, post offices and schools may also be closed.
For employees in the private sector, federal holidays may or may not mean a day off – as they cannot legally be required to observe the holiday. Fortunately, most employers will still give employees the day off – or pay extra to employees working on the day.
These are the days to mark on your calendar for the coming year – and the best days to book a long weekend.
2019 Federal holidays:
New Year’s Day: Monday, January 1
Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.: Monday, January 21
Birthday of George Washington (President’s Day): Monday, February 18
Memorial Day: Monday, May 27
Independence Day: Thursday, July 4
Labor Day: Monday, September 2
Columbus Day: Monday, October 14
Veterans Day: Monday, November 11
Thanksgiving Day: Thursday, November 28
Christmas Day: Wednesday, December 25
Other important holidays to note that you don’t get off for:
Groundhog Day: Saturday, February 2
Valentine’s Day: Thursday, February 14
Saint Patrick’s Day: Sunday, March 17
Tax Day: Monday, April 15
Good Friday: Friday, April 19
Easter: Sunday, April 21
Cinco de Mayo: Sunday, May 5
Mother’s Day: Sunday, May 12
Father’s Day: Sunday, June 16
Halloween: Thursday, October 31
Black Friday: Friday, November 29