How Many Work Days in a Year?

Saturday, January 11, 2020
Christopher Sirk

How Many Work Days in a Year?

There are 261 working days in the year 2021. 

When it comes to planning and goal setting for the year ahead, it’s easy to ideate. It’s much harder to follow through. As we all know.

Once you get busy, long-term goals often shrink in importance. In any given year, unexpected events appear and can lead us astray.

But goals are an important motivator. A wealth of research drives this point home. 

Goal setting and achievement allow us to develop skills and relationships. They impact our feeling of having an internal locus of control over the world. 

Fortunately, there are ways to beat malaise. To stay on target over the year.

Consider reading up on Edmund Locke and Gary Latham’s five principles for successful goal setting. Clarify a goal, making it challenging enough to be motivating, and commit to it. Get feedback and account for task complexity.

If you’re running a business, you might think about building a flexible quarterly action plan.

Clarify your areas of focus, define your goals. Indicate what steps you will take to get there.

In either case, step one is knowing how many work days you have... to work with. Armed with a concrete timeline, you can start building a plan.

So how many days will we work in 2021? Presenting “How Many Work Days in a Year,” 2021 edition.

How many working/business days in 2021?

If you want to know how many work days there are in 2021, you don’t necessarily need to be on a mission. Everyone has their own reasons, of course.

Perhaps you’re just trying to figure out when to go to Hawaii. Or you’re in human resources and are scheduling performance reviews. Maybe you’re just curious in general.

Whatever your reason, we’ve got your number.

In 2021, there are 261 working days.

2021 is not a leap year. so the total number of days in the year is 365. There are 52 weeks in the year.

The 2021 fiscal year began on October 1st, 2020 and ends on September 30th, 2021.

In the table below, you can see the monthly number of working days and working hours.


Number of Working Days and Hours in a Year

MonthNumber of Working DaysNumber of Working Hours
Jan. 1-3121168
Feb. 1-2819152
March 1-31 22176
April 1-3022176
May 1-3120160
June 1-3022176
July 1-3122176
August 1-3121168
September 1-3021168
October 1-3121168
November 1-3019152
December 1-3122176


Total 2021 Calendar Year Working Days:    261

As you can see, the range of working days per month moves between 19 and 22. 

4 days. That’s a considerable variation. The least amount of work days are found in February and November.

It’s also worth remembering there are shutdown periods for certain industries. Many companies grind to a halt in the no man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s. Or hours get reduced. 

List of Public Holidays in 2020 (U.S.A)

The United States has 10 federal holidays. 

  • New Year’s Day - January 1st

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day - January 20th

  • President’s Day - February 17th

  • Memorial Day - May 25th

  • Independence Day - July 4th

  • Labor Day - September 7th

  • Columbus Day - October 12th

  • Veterans Day - November 11th

  • Thanksgiving - November 26th

  • Christmas Day - December 25th

Note also what happens when a holiday falls on a weekend day, rather than on weekdays. 

If a federal holiday takes place on a Sunday, it should be carried forward. So you will get the following Monday off.

If a federal holiday takes place on a Saturday, it should be carried backwards. So you will get the Friday before that day off.

Federal employees will automatically get all 10 of these days off. And they will be paid holidays. 

In the private sector, things are more complicated. Only Massachusetts and Rhode Island have provisions that say employees must get these days off with pay. Or else get extra pay when they come in on these days.

This means it’s worth consulting with your company to find out their policy. Their custom dates may surprise you. Knowing now can save you headaches later when planning your vacation or long weekend trip. 

At the same time, most states do have laws on federal holidays for public sector employment. 

Public employers generally have to grant employees paid leave. On all or at least some public holidays. Or give them extra pay for coming in on these days.

Then there are religious holidays. This may of course impact your personal work scheduling.

Technically, private employers aren’t required to honor religious observances. But in practice they face liability for direct discrimination. 

This is because of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers with 15 or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for religious observances.

How many work hours in 2021?

Particularly if you work full-time, it’s helpful to know the annual number of work day hours. Here’s that big number for you…

The number of work hours in 2021 is 2,088.

(Calculated with a start date of January 1st and an end date of December 31st.)

That sounds like a lot. And there’s no way to sugar coat it, it kind of is.

Remember that there are 8760 hours in total in the year 2021. So if you’re full-time you will be working, or at least at work about 22.84% of the time. 

When you consider this figure, some Talking Heads-style questions may enter your mind. 

Are you doing what you wanted to do? Do you like your work? Do you see this as a sustainable schedule? 

That’s especially important when you add in the sleep metric. If you get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night in 2021, you’ll be sleeping 2920 hours or so. In other words, knock off another 33% of your time. 

That leaves you with roughly 45% of your time in 2021 not spent working or sleeping. Long story short, it’s really, really important to get satisfaction out of going to work. 

But let’s leave the existential element at that for now. On a more pragmatic note, you can easily plan ahead with calendars. 

Try a custom Excel calendar. Just do a quick Google search for 2021 Excel calendars. Or simply use Google Calendar with the correct time zone and ‘current country’ settings. Then fill in your company’s specific holidays as paid, not-paid, extra pay for holiday hours, and so on.

Here’s hoping with the above info, you can plan well for 2021. And it will be one more step in the right direction for setting and meeting your goals.