Uniform Monday Holiday Act

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U.S. stamp commemorating the quadricentennial of the landing of Christopher Columbus.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act (Pub.L. 90–363) is an Act of Congress that amended the federal holiday provisions of the United States Code to establish the observance of certain holidays on Mondays. The Act was signed into law on June 28, 1968, and took effect on January 1, 1971.[1]


The Act moved Washington's Birthday (February 22), Memorial Day (May 30), and Veterans Day (November 11) from fixed dates to designated Mondays, and established as a federal holiday Columbus Day—which had previously been celebrated in some states on October 12—to a designated Monday. The Act was designed to increase the number of three-day weekends for federal employees, a favorite goal of the travel industry.[2] Veterans Day was removed from this list of "always-on-Monday" holidays when it was moved back to its traditional date of November 11, by act of Congress in 1975,[3] effective 1978.

The Act did not officially establish "Presidents Day", nor did it combine the observance of Lincoln's Birthday with Washington's Birthday.[4] The perception stems from the fact that the act placed federal observance of Washington's "birthday" in the week of February 15 to 21 and, since that week always falls between Lincoln's birthday (February 12) and Washington's (February 22), but never includes either date, popular references have given rise to the title, which recognizes both Presidents.[1][2] As of 1998, a dozen U.S. states officially refer to the holiday as "Presidents' Day."[4]

The Monday holiday dates this act established are:

  • Washington's Birthday: third Monday in February (formerly February 22)
  • Memorial Day: last Monday in May (formerly May 30)
  • Labor Day: first Monday in September
  • Columbus Day: second Monday in October (formerly observed in some states on October 12)
  • Veterans Day: fourth Monday in October (formerly November 11; subsequently returned to November 11 effective 1978[5])

Other holidays[edit]

Though the holiday was not in existence at the time, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday (established 1983) is celebrated on the third Monday in January, which falls on January 15–21, instead of King's actual birth date, January 15, for the same reasons, as well as to provide additional distance between it and the Christmas/New Years holidays.[citation needed]

The law relocated the date of Columbus Day to the same date as Thanksgiving in Canada. Several Canadian provinces would later establish Family Day which coincides with Washington's Birthday.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Uniform Monday Holiday Act". National Archives and Records Administration. January 15, 1968.
  2. ^ a b "Presidents Day". Urban Legends Reference Pages. Snopes.com. February 17, 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-89/pdf/STATUTE-89-Pg479.pdf
  4. ^ a b Hoyle, John Christian (February 13, 1998). "Presidents' Day: Long-Standing Misnomer". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  5. ^ "United States Law Section 6103" – via Justia.

External links[edit]