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Utah Legal Holidays Laws

Utah, like other states, has certain days of the year that are holidays, during which state offices and public schools are closed. Utah also designates every Sunday to be a state holiday. To avoid the embarrassment of showing up at a government office on a day you didn’t know or forgot was a holiday, you should review the list below.

Pioneer Day

Utah has a unique holiday Pioneer Day that new residents may be unaware of. On July 24th of each year Utah celebrates the day Brigham Young and other Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) members arrived in Utah’s Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The Mormon pioneers were escaping religious persecution in other states when they founded Salt Lake City. They were the first non-Native American people to live in and develop this area.

Personal Preference Day

Utah employees can also look forward to a “Personal Preference Day.” This is one day a year the employee can take off, as designated by their employer’s policy. This could be selected by the employee for a birthday or for a religious holiday, such as Yom Kippur or Eid al-Adha, that isn’t in the holiday schedule below. Some organizations select a specific day as the Personal Preference Day, such as Cache County that selects the day after Thanksgiving or “Black Friday” to be that day for all employees.

The following table lists the legal holidays in Utah. The governor has the power to declare an additional legal holiday, limit these holidays to certain types of activities or businesses, and to extend holidays, but no longer than 60 days.

Code Section Utah Code Section 63G-1-301: Legal Holidays, Personal Preference Day, and Governor Authorization to Declare Additional Days
State Holidays The state of Utah celebrates the following days as legal holidays:
  • New Year's Day – January 1st
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – the third Monday of January
  • Washington and Lincoln Day – the third Monday of February
  • Memorial Day – the last Monday of May
  • Independence Day – July 4th
  • Pioneer Day – July 24th
  • Labor Day – the first Monday in September
  • Columbus Day – the second Monday of October
  • Veterans Day – November 11th
  • Thanksgiving – the fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day – December 25th

When a legal holiday falls on a Sunday, it will be celebrated on the following Monday and if it falls on a Saturday, it’ll be celebrated the Friday before. This way, Utah residents will always get a three day holiday weekend.

Holiday Pay

Even if it’s a major holiday, like Thanksgiving or Labor Day, some jobs must continue. However, your employer doesn’t have to pay you extra for working a holiday, unless your employment agreement says otherwise.

If you’ve got questions about these holidays or the failure of your employer to provide you a Personal Preference Day or holiday pay per your job contract, then you may want to speak to an experienced Utah employment lawyer.

Note: State laws are updated constantly, please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these laws.

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