Things are a trifle confusing for Washington area federal and private workers trying to figure out what this months' two "holidays" - one unofficial the other unusual - mean to them.

The dates in question are Martin Luther King's birthday, Saturday, and Inauguration Day, Thursday, Jan. 20, which is a holiday only in the Washington area. Local employers are taking different attitudes toward the days.

Most of the 350,000 federal and D.C. government employers here will be off for Inauguration day. Federal employees outside the Washington area will not be off.

Federal and D.C. government employees will not get off Firiday for Martin Luther King's birthday. Bills have been introduced to make it a national holiday, but it isn't one yet. D.C. employees were told first they would get off but got a correction memo yesterday saying Friday is a workday as usual.

Most of metro Washington's 12,000 plus postal employees here will have to work on Inauguration Day even though their civil service counterpart (except for key personnel) will be off. Exceptions will be postal aides who normally work in buildings along the parade route or who are assigned to federal buildings that will be closed. Those relatively few postal employees will be off Inauguration Day.

Washington Gas Light Company, with about 2,700 workers here will give employees both days off - Friday, Jan. 14 and Thursday, Jan. 20. Essential personnel and emergency crews will, of course, work.

The Hecht Company hasn't fixed a policy for Martin Luther King's birthday. Downtown sales employees will get off Jan. 20, but nonsales personnel in the District will report for work as usual.

Government Employees Insurance Corporation, which has 3,200 workers here, will permit employees to either or both days off as "floater" holidays. Workers at Geico get four "floater" holidays a year that they can use for special holidays or for religious observances.

The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company will be closed Inauguration Day (except for key personnel) and will permit employees to use a "floater" holiday for Martin Lugher Kings' birthday, if they want. C&P is one of the largest nonfederal employers here with more than 15,000 workers.

Most federal and postal unions will give their employees Inauguration Day off but either have not set a policy for Martin Luther Kings' birthday, or will have business as usual since the D.C. government will be open.

The Washington Post Company, the Washington Star and other major news media and public relations firms, which employ 10,000 to 15,000 people here, will be open for business as usual both days.

Since Inauguration is a federal holiday here most banks will be closed Jan. 20. Most will probably be open this Friday since D.C. government has decided not to give employees the day off.