President’s Day or Washington’s Birthday?

Actually, it’s neither. The holiday, created by the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, and celebrated on the third Monday in February, is officially named Washington’s Birthday. George Washington’s birthday, however, is February 22, and it is impossible for the date of the third Monday to be any later than February 21, meaning Washington’s Birthday will never actually fall on his birthday. In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the holiday “President’s Day,” in order to honor all the past presidents of the United States, but his proclamation did not carry the same weight as an Executive Order so the name was never officially changed, although it is popularly used.


Thousands of executives with financial reporting responsibilities use the Comperio on-line library to access the type of information and interpretive guidance PricewaterhouseCoopers' own professional audit staff use around the world. Key content areas include guidance from the FASB, EITF, PCAOB, SEC, and others as well as PwC's interpretive guidance. Get more information and sign up for a complimentary 30-day trial.

Whether it is called President’s Day or Washington’s Birthday it is a federal holiday, meaning most federal employees get a three-day weekend and most offices of the federal government are closed. This includes the Post Office and the Internal Revenue Service. There are only 10 federal holidays set by law. They are: New Year’s Day (January 1), Martin Luther King’s Birthday (third Monday in January), Washington’s Birthday (third Monday in February), Memorial Day (last Monday in May), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (first Monday in September), Columbus Day (second Monday in October), Veteran’s Day (November 11), Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November) and Christmas Day (December 25).

Section 6103(a) of Title 5 of the United States Code specifies holidays for federal employees but does not apply to state or local government employees or to private employers. Many businesses, as well as state and local governments, were closed on the third Monday in February until the late 1980’s. Throughout the 1990’s and to the present day, the number of employers outside the federal government observing the President’s Day holiday with a three-day weekend has steadily declined. This decline is attributed, in part, to an increase in the number of state and local governments and private employers celebrating Martin Luther King’s Birthday.

A review of the news over the weekend indicates that many offices of state and local governments will also be closed Monday. So will the New York Stock Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, NASDAQ, and the Chicago Board of Trade.

You may like these other stories...

By Jason Bramwell Government leaders of eight of the world's largest economies pledged on June 18 to take a tougher stance on fighting tax evasion. The Group of Eight (G8) leaders, who met in Northern Ireland,...
By Jason BramwellAttorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on May 15 before the House Judiciary Committee, one day after he announced the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation of the IRS for...
By Jason BramwellPresident Barack Obama says he will not tolerate political bias at the IRS and promised to get to the bottom of the agency's admitted targeting of conservative groups, according to a May 13 article in...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
Aug 20
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.
Aug 21
Meet budgets and client expectations using project management skills geared toward the unique challenges faced by CPAs. Kristen Rampe will share how knowing the keys to structuring and executing a successful project can make the difference between success and repeated failures.