Do You Want Christmas Eve Off This Year?

Will federal employees receive an extra day off in 2012?

Christmas Eve, December 24th, falls on a Monday this year. A few readers have written us to ask if most federal employees will receive that day off as an extra paid holiday this year.

While there is no government-wide order from the White House (as of the time of this writing), there is also a possibility that federal employees will be given an extra day or half of one day off (with pay) in addition to the regular holiday which is on Tuesday, December 25th. Federal employees do, on occasion, receive an extra day off whether the administration currently in power is Democrats or Republicans. Presidents can (and often have) granted extra time off by issuing an executive order.

In the past, when Christmas falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, the president declares the Monday before or the Friday after a federal holiday for agency employees who are considered “non-essential”.  If Christmas falls on a Friday, Thursday is sometimes marked as an extra one-half day off of work with pay for most federal employees.

The reason for these decisions is that it is supposed to be cost effective. Many or most federal employees are already taking these days off so the few that report it actually costs more to operate the buildings than the amount of work that will be produced on those days.

President Obama provided a half-day off on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24, 2009. President George W. Bush provided a half-day holiday on Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2002, as well as several full days off the day before or after Christmas: Tuesday, December 24, 2001, Thursday, December 26, 2003, Tuesday, December 24, 2007, and Thursday, December 26, 2008.

If you would like to have an extra day off with pay this December 24th, you can bring it to the attention of the White House staff by signing a petition that has already been filed on this topic.  A petition has been submitted to the “We the People” petition system on the White House’s web site.

Just click here to go to the petition to sign it. You will have to register with the White House site using your name and any valid email address to sign the petition, but you do not have to give your agency name when creating an account.

25,000 signatures are needed to trigger an automatic review and response from the White House.

Update: As of 12/12 at 8:45 AM EST, about 19,200 individuals have signed the petition.

© 2016 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources.

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  1. Steve Hoover says:

    People in the private sector don’t usually get a free day off at any time (unless they are being fired), so why should federal workers be any different. Having worked in the private sector for 10 years before being lucky enough to get a job with the government (doing what I did while in the Army), I appreciate each holiday and would never ask for a FREE day (just because it falls the day after a holiday). Use your leave and be glad you have the ability to do it.

  2. MC_MSgt says:

    For many of us it’s pointless to show up at work on Christmas Eve anyway. Where I work we support Federal, State, and Local law enforcement. Gonna clue you all in to the fact that the activity from these groups begins declining right before Thanksgiving and completely crashes right before Christmas, not picking up again until January. 

    So the real choices here are to have employees sit at work doing nothing while everyone in America outside of retail workers are spending quality time with family, or give an entire segment of the population who are dealing with frozen wages a little morale boost. 

    Seems pretty clear cut to me. In most cases it isn’t costing the Fed anything to cut us loose, but the gain is immense. 

    On a side note, as a retired Marine I wholeheartedly agree that the Fed is wrought with lazy, unproductive employees. It’s basically a giant union. To me this isn’t really tied in with wanting the President to do something that has clear precedent. 

    Note: Posted this elsewhere but will repost here, since I’m a sharing type guy.

  3. Cindyl541 says:

    I’m embarrassed that my co-workers are looking at our own tax dollars as fodder for their pleasure! Take annual leave you jerks! If you signed that petition, you should be ashamed! People are going hungry, have no presents for their children at Christmas, and you want another day off! Shame on you all!

  4. Hispanic fed says:

    I was being considered with my fellow workers for the past years staying during the holidays while they have a good time flying back to their families to enjoy Christmas day and other holidays. Guess what, even though I Have enough annual I signed for Christmas Eve petition. Even if people like “Reality Check” think is poor planning; guess what, it is not, is being a good fellow employee. Happy holidays to everyone.

  5. Keith Lacek says:

    With budget cuts and no raise and the office people want another day off!! The early out on some holidays only benefit the office people and Admin.  the people that work in meat and poultry plants do not get this because majority of the companys work a normal shift.  So what good is wanting to beg for another day off.  I dont want my insurance to go up and I would like to get our cost of living instead.  Give me a break!!!!

  6. Taxpayer says:

    If you want XMAS eve off, I’m pretty sure that you can take a vacation day; some of you could be “sick” that day.

  7. asp1947 says:

    No, We thank for our jobs while other have no job. So use your annual leave as federal owes lot of money that need help to save it’s money as cut “spend”

  8. Clnorfolk says:

    I could not agree with you more, I am truly grateful to have a job and if I or we  want Christmas Eve off then we should use a day of leave.  Why should we be given an extra day off with pay??? Most of the private sector does not do it.  My wife who works in the private sector like so many of our family members do will be working, and not getting extra time off with pay.  By the way Merry Christmas to all my federal co-workers out there.

  9. MSGP (RET) says:

    We are still a Nation at war and all of our Military in Combat and around the world will not take any time off.   Would it be nice for my wife to have the day off to spend time with our children that will be home with us for the first time in years but no she should not receive an extra day off with pay.

  10. Susan says:

    This is why government employees have such a bed reputation for work ethic.  We accrue 4 hours annual leave and another 4 hours sick leave a pay period.  Use your accrued leave if you want the time off.

  11. Pamcats2 says:

    With the state of this Country and the Federal Government, I would suggest you just take annual leave if you want the day off.  It will only give the critics of federal employees something else to complain about.  Join the club!  I am retired as is my husband; he is retired as a federal employee and even though we have received COLAs, they barely keep our noses above water!  Let us all just be thankful for what we have.  At least you have a decent job. 

  12. Hispanic fed says:

    WE reaaallllyyyyy need time to spend with our families this holidays. We work hard and deserve that extra day off. Yes, I’m grateful that I have a job and it doesn’t mean that  love my job less to request an extra payday off.

    • Flyover Conservative says:

      Use your annual leave.  That’s what it’s for.  And if you don’t have any well boo hoo on you for poor planning. 

  13. Joy says:

    Yes, I would like Christmas Eve off…which is why I’m using my Annual Leave.  I’m very happy to have my job right now, I’ll be fine without any extras.

  14. Jonathan says:

    Hey, Paula – can it!  We want the day off!

  15. Victoria owens says:

    Yes it would nice to have off.

  16. Arcturus6 says:

    First of all, about the only credence Obama gives Christmas is taking a multi-million dollar vacation on Air Force 1 with his family compliments of the U.S. taxpayer.  If anyone expects this charlatan to extend extra time off for Christmas, then think again as I seriously doubt he even believes in Christmas.  I do like the Christmas season for its intended meaning, but   I frankly do not care one way or the other if I get Christmas Eve off or not.  A lot of individuals will be working on Christmas Eve and I can work my job as well. As Paula says, “Let’s just be thankful we have jobs!”

  17. Concerned TaxPayer says:

    Well, if we have Christmas Eve off, maybe they should consider the day after Christmas too because by golly we deserve it don’t we?  Let’s stay within the confines of getting out time off for approved Federal Holidays

  18. Sconnie says:

    I don’t know one gov. employee that makes over 100k per year!  Maybe in Washington where they are concentrated and the cost of living is high, but not in the rest of the US!

  19. Jamesalanwalter says:

    I had a job with Delta Airlines from 2000 – 2005. They promised me that they only laid off 1 time before & would never lay off again. Now I work for the government making $14 less an hour with less benefits & what was supposed to be a secure job. Now I am possibly going to be laid off again.

  20. Stacy Mccarthy says:

    I’m in support of this

  21. Lleon says:

    Don’t need it off.  We have Christmas off.  That’s enough.  Let’s not get greedy.

  22. Patsn2glass says:

     It only makes sense especially for travel time if needed or if christmas or christmas eve is connected to a holiday.