Guide to Holiday Related Laws in California

Maybe the best perk of holidays in California is the (usually) easing of parking enforcement. But you should also know about other holiday related issues like consumer rights, free speech, tax deductions, days off work, and airline passenger rights.

1. Employees

Does my employer have to give me time off or pay me more for holidays?

If you are not a government employee, then no your boss generally is NOT required to treat holidays as any different from non holidays. See laws for Employees.

If you are a “non-essential” federal government employee, then you get federal holidays off of work, and get paid for it.15 USC 6103 California state and local government employees get a slightly different paid holiday schedule (see below).

2. Official Holidays

What are the official holidays in California?

“Official holidays” or “legal holidays” generally refers to the holidays designated for government workers to have the day off. They generally do not involve any requirements for private sector companies.

There are slightly different official holiday calendars for the federal government versus the California state government. Also, each city and county has its own holidays. See holiday calendars for the Los Angeles area.

Official Federal Holidays

As mentioned above, on officially designated federal holidays, non-essential federal government employees generally get the day off work, and most federal institutions, agencies and offices are closed.25 USC 6103 These are also called “banking holidays” because “federally chartered” banks (most large national banks such as Bank of America) are also required to observe these holidays.

New Year’s Day, January 1.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday, the third Monday in January.

Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.

Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.

Independence Day, July 4.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September.

Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.

Veterans Day, November 11.

Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.

Christmas Day, December 25

Official California state holidays

The official holidays in California are similar to the federal ones, except without Columbus Day, and adding Cesar Chavez Day (March 31) and the day after Thanksgiving (fourth Friday in November), and also renaming Washington’s Birthday to “President’s Day.”3Government Code Section 19853

3. Fireworks

Are fireworks allowed in California?City celebrating 4th of July with fireworks

Many cities in California ban all fireworks unless you have a special permit. These include Santa Monica, Pasadena, Malibu, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Culver City, Burbank, Glendale, and others. But some cities in California do allow individuals to buy and use certain types of fireworks, called “safe and sane” fireworks. But only licensed retailers may sell them, and only from June 28 – July 6 each year.4California Health & Safety Code 12599

“Dangerous fireworks,” including large items such as rockets and sparklers longer than 10 inches or larger than 1/4 inch in diameter, are always illegal unless you have a special license.5California Health & Safety Code 12677

See more at the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

4. Parking on Holidays

Are parking laws enforced on holidays? 

In most cities, parking laws are relaxed on certain holidays. See more details for the city of Los Angeles and nearby cities at our Guide to Holiday Parking Laws page.

5. Holiday displays

Are religious and other groups allowed to set up their preferred holiday displays in government buildings?

If a government building allows for any religious or holiday related displays, such as a Christmas Tree or menorah, it must allow any and all displays from other groups as well, under the U.S. Constitution 1st amendment “free speech.” See our Guide to Free Speech for more.

6. Other

If you’re flyin’ or buyin’ (gifts), other holiday related laws include rights for Airline Passengers, AirBnB laws, and Consumer Rights.


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