Is Inauguration Day a National Holiday? Everything You Need to Know as Biden Takes Office

Inauguration Day is not a national holiday but it is a designated holiday for federal employees in Washington, D.C. and parts of its surrounding areas.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) states: "Federal employees in the Washington, D.C., area are entitled to a holiday on the day a President is inaugurated (January 20 following a Presidential election)."

Employees are entitled to time off on Inauguration Day if they are employed in the following areas, the OPM advises:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland
  • Arlington and Fairfax counties in Virginia
  • The cities of Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia

"When Inauguration Day is moved to January 21 because January 20 falls on Sunday, Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area who would otherwise work on Monday, January 21, are entitled to a holiday on that day," the OPM notes.

Full-time employees not required to work on a holiday receive their basic pay rate for their applicable number of holiday hours.

Workers on a standard work schedule (40 hours/five days a week) are "generally excused from 8 hours of non-overtime work, which are considered part of the 40-hour basic workweek," the OPM notes.

Those under flexible work schedules are "credited with 8 hours towards their 80-hour basic work requirement for the pay period.

"Employees under flexible work schedules are credited with 8 holiday hours even if they would otherwise work more hours on that day," according to the OPM.

Inauguration Day details

The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden takes place this Wednesday, January 20, outside the U.S. Capitol building. The ceremony typically begins around 11 a.m. local time.

"President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris will be sworn in on the West front of the U.S. Capitol building. After they take their oaths of office, President-elect Biden will deliver an inaugural address laying out his vision to defeat the pandemic, build back better, and unify and heal the nation," according to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) website.

The inauguration and traditional parade following the ceremony will have limited attendance amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak as well as heightened security concerns since the recent Capitol riots.

The public has been urged to avoid traveling to Washington, D.C. for the event, which normally draws hundreds of thousands of spectators.

The inaugural ceremony will be streamed at BidenInaugural.org/watch and is expected to be broadcast live on all major networks and platforms.

The ceremony will be followed by the Celebrating America television program, hosted by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, which will be broadcast from 8:30 p.m. local time, according to the PIC website.

The program will feature remarks from Biden and Harris, as well as words and performances from celebrities including Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Kerry Washington.

Other events Biden and Harris will take part in on January 20 include military ceremonies such as the Pass in Review ritual on the East front of the Capitol, while Biden will receive "a Presidential Escort from 15th Street to the White House with every branch of the military represented in the escort," according to the PIC.

See the PIC website for full details on all inaugural events.

U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C. Inauguration rehearsal 2021
Stand-ins for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris wave during the dress rehearsal for the inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on January 18. Inauguration Day, which takes place on January 20, is a designated holiday for federal employees in Washington, D.C. and some parts of its surrounding areas. Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images