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Legal Holidays: What You Need to Know

Posted 8:19 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023

LH Info

The Universities of Wisconsin grants nine days of paid legal holidays per year to eligible employees. Full-time employees earn eight hours of leave for each legal holiday. Part-time employees earn a prorated amount based on hours worked during the pay period that includes the legal holiday.

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Third Monday of January)
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving (Fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas Eve (December 24)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • New Year’s Eve (December 31)

When a legal holiday falls on a Saturday, the employee is granted eight hours of floating legal holiday (prorated, if part-time).

When a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, the legal holiday is observed and the Universities of Wisconsin is closed on the Monday following the legal holiday.

Due to varying business needs, some employees may be required to work on a legal holiday. Employees who are required to work on a legal holiday, or if the legal holiday is on an employee’s regularly schedule day off, they will be granted floating legal holiday.

Floating legal holidays can be used like any other paid leave, and must be used by the end of the year in which it was earned (calendar year for University Staff employees, fiscal year for Faculty, Academic Staff or Limited appointees).

University Staff use of Floating Holiday Time

Floating holiday time can be used any time during the calendar year in which it is earned. January 1 floating holiday cannot be used until the year it is earned. Legal and floating holiday hours should be used in the calendar year in which they are granted. There are no provisions that allow University Staff employees to carryover floating holiday time into the next calendar year. Thus, individuals should use their floating holiday time before using vacation time.

Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees use of Floating Holiday Time

Floating holiday time can be used any time during the fiscal year in which it is earned. This means that a 'January 1' floating holiday can be used anytime in the fiscal year it is earned. Unused floating holiday time is lost after June 30. Thus, individuals should use their floating holiday time before using vacation time.

Eligibility:

  • Be eligible for sick leave; and
  • Be actively employed on the legal holiday; and
  • One of the following:
    • Be paid for the work day immediately before the legal holiday; or
    • Be paid for the first work day immediately following the legal holiday; or
    • Work on the legal holiday; or
    • Be on an approved military leave of absence.
2023 Legal HolidaysWhen Observed
New Year's Day, January 1Monday, January 2 (Observed)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Third Monday in JanuaryMonday, January 16
Memorial Day, Last Monday in MayMonday, May 29
Independence Day, July 4Tuesday, July 4
Labor Day, First Monday in SeptemberMonday, September 4
Thanksgiving, Fourth Thursday in NovemberThursday, November 23
Christmas Eve, December 24Sunday, December 24 (Floating Holiday)
Christmas, December 25Monday, December 25
New Year's Eve, December 31Sunday, December 31 (Floating Holiday)


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2024 Legal HolidaysWhen Observed
New Year's Day, January 1Monday, January 1
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Third Monday in JanuaryMonday, January 15
Memorial Day, Last Monday in MayMonday, May 27
Independence Day, July 4Thursday, July 4
Labor Day, First Monday in SeptemberMonday, September 2
Thanksgiving, Fourth Thursday in NovemberThursday, November 28
Christmas Eve, December 24Tuesday, December 24
Christmas, December 25Wednesday, December 25
New Year's Eve, December 31Tuesday, December 31

Note: 2024 is a leap year, with the addition of Thursday, February 29.


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