Thursday, August 28, 2014

Research Q of the Week: Do's and Don'ts of Labor Day for City Government

Question: What are the do’s and don’ts of Labor Day for cities?

Answer: As a kid, Labor Day meant that summer was over and school was about to start. As an adult, I appreciate Labor Day as a day of rest. For the most part, that is true for cities too.

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. This holiday was created by the labor movement and has since been dedicated to the social and economic achievement of American workers.

Labor Day was first recognized by cities in 1885. Over time, states also recognized this holiday, and it became an official national holiday in 1894.

On the local level, here are a couple of things to keep in mind about Labor Day:
  • Don’t conduct any city business, except to deal with emergencies. Cities should not be holding any meetings on Labor Day. Cities also should not be conducting any city business on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day (per state law, Minnesota Statutes, section 645.44).
  • Don’t keep city hall open. Because cities can’t conduct any city business on Labor Day, city hall should be closed.
  • Do allow on-sale and off-sale liquor sales. People are often unsure about whether liquor sales are permitted on this day. While liquor sales on Labor Day may have been prohibited at one time, that restriction has since been eliminated.
  • Do visit the State Fair. Come see the League of Minnesota Cities staff in the Education Building in booth No. 53. In 2017 we're debuting a new interactive quiz to help visitors learn more about city careers. (For
    more information, see "Discover Your Superpower at the MN State Fair") 
I don’t know about you, but I just realized that on my day of rest I need to have roasted corn, pork chop on a stick, and ice cream from the Dairy Barn!

For those history buffs out there, you can find more information about the history of Labor Day on the Department of Labor’s website.

Written by Irene Kao, research attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: or (651) 281-1224.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information. 

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