2020 federal holidays in the times of Coronavirus

The 2020 federal holidays are certainly a bit different this year. For example, on April 3, 2020, U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, formally introduced the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Emergency Situations (HEROES) Act of 2020 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

If passed, the bill would create a four-month federal tax holiday for medical professionals and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, including firefighters, EMTs, doctors, other emergency and health workers, law enforcement and corrections officers, nurse practitioners, corrections officers, paramedics, pharmacists, nurses, senior care facility staff, physician assistants, and hospital staff.

“Medical professionals and first responders across America are serving on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus,” Huizenga said in a statement. “The HEROES Act provides a way for the federal government to say thank you for the courage, dedication, and care given by these individuals in the face of the unprecedented threat posed by the coronavirus.”

The HEROES Act is intentionally modeled after the way military members serving in combat zones don’t have to pay federal taxes on their incomes. The Secretary of the Treasury would also be able to extend the tax holiday for a period of up to three more months.

“Perhaps now more than any time in our lifetimes, we are in need of the high-quality care that is being provided by doctors and medical professionals across the nation. Equally, we have again called on our first responders, whose ranks have been depleted in communities such as Detroit in my home state of Michigan because of positive tests for the coronavirus. Yet despite the challenges we are currently facing, the thin blue line and the thin red line continue to answer the call and rush into harm’s way when we need them most,” according to an Op-ed on Huizenga’s website.

Understanding your benefits

Ok, but what about those of us who do not work as first responders? What are our benefits for the 2020 federal holidays?

Currently, the federal government gives employees ten paid holidays each year. In the private sector, this means employees may get these holidays with or without pay, or with holiday pay if the employee is working on a holiday. However, the employer is not actually required to do any of this and it is up to the company’s policy about holidays.

Understanding the benefits of a new position (or an old position) can be such a labyrinth. That’s why it’s so important to understand paid time off, the hours allotted to an employee including sick days, vacation days, and personal days. These hours are meant for employees to be able to use when they need to.

Paid time off is interesting because as much as American workers keep saying they want more paid time off, 61% of them left unused PTO days in 2018, which is equivalent to almost a billion days, according to TSheets annual survey of U.S. employees.In 2019, 76% of civilian workers had paid vacation leave and sick leave, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What’s even more perplexing is that while everyone wants an unlimited PTO policy, employees with that policy end up taking two fewer days per year than those who have regular PTO plans. The 2020 federal holidays should be no different. To beat this senseless trend, it’s very wise to use all your PTO, especially because of burnout.

What if you do work on a holiday?

Private companies aren’t required to close for holidays or pay either overtime or holiday pay to employees working holidays.

This is because of the Fair Labor Standards Act, or the Wage and Hour Bill, which passed in 1938. The FLSA states that payment for time not worked, such as vacations or holidays, does not require payment. One thing that affects whether you get paid or not for holidays is your work status i.e. are you a full-time employee or part-time employee? Full-time employees frequently have a lot more benefits, and this is one of them. How senior you are in your position also has a big influence on
this.

The best way to find out which 2020 federal holidays are paid or unpaid at your company is to check in with your Human Resources department. At most companies, it should be clearly outlined in your official employee handbook.

2020 federal holidays calendar

Wednesday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
● Monday, January 20 – Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
● Monday, February 17 – Washington’s Birthday
● Monday, May 25 – Memorial Day
● Friday, July 3 – Independence Day
● Monday, September 7 – Labor Day
● Monday, October 12 – Columbus Day
● Wednesday, November 11 – Veterans Day
● Thursday, November 26 – Thanksgiving Day
● Friday, December 25 – Christmas Day