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Public Holidays

Massachusetts Public Holidays 2017

This page contains a calendar of all 2017 Massachusetts public holidays. Please scroll down to view.

Like most states, Massachusetts celebrates certain public holidays where businesses and offices close, giving employees the time off. However, there is some confusion as to whether an employee must be paid for a holiday or if they are able to collect overtime if they must come to work on a holiday.

Massachusetts celebrates holidays that are recognized by the federal government including Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day and Independence Day. On federally recognized holidays, federal and state offices are closed. Employees at those agencies are paid for those holidays. If the holiday falls on a Saturday, it is celebrated on the preceding Friday and if it falls on a Sunday, it is celebrated on the following Monday.

Massachusetts Blue Laws

Massachusetts has several Blue Laws that must be followed related to holiday and Sunday pay. It is believed the term Blue Laws comes from a 17th century term in which the word “blue” was used to describe rigid moral codes in a disparaging way. The laws restrict or ban some activities on Sundays and certain holidays, initially due to religious objection. Retailers who have more than seven employees, including the owner, must compensate any employee who works on Sunday at time-and-one-half their hourly rate. Employers also may not require an employee to work on Sunday nor can refusal to work on Sunday be grounds for dismissal or any other penalty. Most non-retail businesses are not permitted to be open on Sunday unless they can demonstrate serious suffering, loss, damage or public inconvenience. If they are granted permission to open on Sunday, the business must obtain a permit from their local police agency.

The majority of businesses in Massachusetts may not operate on holidays. Restaurants, pharmacies and hotels are some of the industries that are exempt from this rule. Retail establishments may pay regular hourly rates on Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Evacuation Day, Patriots’ Day and Bunker Hill Day. Retail establishments must pay time-and-one-half on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day after 12 noon and Veteran’s Day after 1 PM. Retail establishments must obtain a permit from the local police department and must pay time-and-one-half on Columbus Day before noon, Veteran’s Day after 1 PM, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Non-retail establishments do not have to pay time-and-one-half on holidays, but may be required to obtain a police permit.

Massachusetts Holidays

The state celebrates some holidays that are considered state holidays. Patriots’ Day is celebrated the third Monday in April, a holiday only celebrated by Massachusetts and Maine. The holiday is to recognize the patriots who fought for the country’s independence. Suffolk County celebrates Evacuation Day on March 17, commemorating the day when the British troops evacuated Boston during the Revolutionary War. Suffolk County also celebrates Bunker Hill Day on June 17 which commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Massachusetts is one of only a few states that does provide overtime pay for holidays and has laws in place that allow employees time from work on certain holidays and Sundays. State law also states that if there is a collective bargaining agreement in place that provides for premium pay on Sunday or holidays, all employees, even if they do not belong to the union, must be given premium pay for holiday work.

Public Holidays 2017

This list has now been updated to reflect the official dates released by the Massachusetts State Government.

1 JanSunNew Year's Day
2 JanMonNew Year's Day Holiday
16 JanMonMartin Luther King Jr. Birthday
20 FebMonPresident's Day
17 AprMonPatriots' Day
29 MayMonMemorial Day
4 JulTueIndependence Day
4 SepMonLabor Day
9 OctMonColumbus Day
11 NovSatVeterans' Day
23 NovThuThanksgiving Day
25 DecMonChristmas Day