2012: OPM Issues Guidance on Christmas Eve Holiday

By on December 21, 2012 in News, Pay & Benefits

OPM Director John Berry issued a memo on the heels of the president’s executive order issued today giving federal employees an extra day off on December 24th. The memo discusses how the extra holiday will be treated for pay and leave purposes and is included in full below.


From: John Berry, Director

Subject: Excusing Federal Employees on Monday, December 24, 2012

The President has issued an Executive order excusing executive branch non-Postal Service employees from duty on Monday, December 24, 2012, except those who, in the judgment of the head of the agency, cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public need. (See Attachment 1.) For pay and leave purposes, December 24, 2012, will be treated as falling within the scope of statutes and Executive orders governing holidays for Federal employees.

Most employees who are excused from duty on December 24th will receive the basic pay they would have received if no Executive order had been issued. An employee who was previously scheduled to take annual leave on December 24th will not be charged annual leave (or any other form of paid leave, compensatory time off, or credit hours). (This policy does not apply to employees who receive annual premium pay for standby duty under 5 U.S.C. 5545(c)(1) or to firefighters who are covered by the special pay provisions of 5 U.S.C. 5545b.) An employee who is required to work nonovertime hours on December 24th is entitled to holiday premium pay under 5 U.S.C. 5546(b).

If an employee has scheduled “use or lose” annual leave for December 24, 2012, and is unable to reschedule that leave for use before the end of the leave year (i.e., for most employees, January 12, 2013), the leave will be forfeited. When “use or lose” leave is forfeited under these conditions, the law does not permit restoration of the leave. (See 5 U.S.C. 6304(d).)

The attached questions and answers provide pay and leave administration guidance. (See Attachment 2.) For additional information, see the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM’s) fact sheets on —

The President’s Executive order excuses Federal employees from duty during a pay period in which multiple holidays fall within the same pay period. For further information on the procedures for multiple holidays during a pay period, see the attached questions and answers and the fact sheet “Federal Holidays – Work Schedules and Pay” referenced above.

Employees of the U.S. Postal Service and contract employees should contact their supervisor (or contract officer) to obtain information on their pay and leave entitlements for December 24th.

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


About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

20 Replies

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  1. Havenohair says:

    I noticed that some of those who previously wrote didn’t mention Washington and those who are not taking a day off but a week for Christmas vacation. The House and Senate members are civil servants, but enjoy numerous days off during the year yet no one ever mentions them when addressing a “holiday off.” they are paid a salary but are not expected to work just like all of us thru out the year. Most government employees don’t have the privilege of taking days off when we only collect hours for working. Does their staff also enjoy the same benefits when the House and Senate are away? I’m sure the cost to the public is quite substantial and yet no one will address our illustrious leaders they pull the wool over each tax payer’s eyes.

  2. Rodman says:

    This is B.S. plain and simple. I read somewhere counting the post office employees that there are over 2,000,000 federal employees. Now, if it only takes 25,000 signatures to get a day off, and  if you divide the 2 million by 25,000, and get 25,000o different  people to sign each request , you could come up with an additional 80 days paid leave time per employee. Then, subtract this number along with  the 20 days the fed employees already  get, and also add in the 3-4 weeks vacation for each  federal employee and this employee could have half a years paid leave. Such a deal for the fed employee but boy do the taxpayers who foot the cost sure get screwed

    • Fdcalla8676 says:

      You are absoluty correct, but, hey, what the heck, we got PLENTY of money and if not, we’ll just print more.

    • True American says:

       The taxpayers are getting screwed by the pay and benefits that Congress gets not the average middle class worker. I can assure you I do more work in 8 hours than Congress has done in the last 5 years. How can we give congressmen like Issa who is worth over $450 million the most generous pay and benefits no other American will ever have the power to destroy the middle class worker. People like this have never been on the bottom and treat all of us like dogs. They should be on the same pay and system as a GS-5. New feds get 4hr bi-weekly leave, whoop dee do! My friend works for our City School district as a janitor and gets better pay and benefits. Families with children or illnesses  use a lot of leave and find themselves with none as ask for donated leave. This extra day gives them a chance to spend the holiday with there family just like you should. Be kind to all, have a safe holiday and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

      • guest says:

        and you will find employers who give less than 4 hr/PP.  maybe you can work for the school district?

    • guest says:

      highly unlikely the petition had anything to do with it, this was going to happen anyway

    • ask doctor for help says:

      you can ask your doctor for medicine that may help you feel better

    • Harbor says:

      as far as I know I’m a tax payer too. And for your info we the feds want to be like the private sector We want our right to strike.

    • Randy1972 says:

      did you also calculate the cost of this executive order?  As if we can just print more money.  2 million employees at an average pay of $300 a day = $600 million.  Pocket change to Obama the way he spends it.

  3. guest says:

    So you do or don’t get an “in lieu of holiday” if your AWS nonworkday falls on Monday? 

    • RetiredVA says:

       This is administrative leave, same as having off due to weather, such as snow.  So there is no “in lieu of”.

      • Joe says:

        Don’t believe so, the OPM guidance states that: December 24, 2012, will be treated as falling within the scope of
        statutes and Executive orders governing holidays for Federal employees.

        So, while some agencies may charge as “admin leave” (agencies account differently), the 24th executive order is handled in accordance with Holiday regulations that grant an in lieu of day.

      • Joe says:


        This is the memo with attachments. In lieu of days are covered in the second attachment.

    • answer to guest says:

      § 610.406 Holiday for employees on compressed work schedules.

      (a) If a full-time employee is relieved or prevented from working on a day
      designated as a holiday by Federal statute or Executive order, the employee is
      entitled to basic pay for the number of hours of the compressed work schedule on
      that day.

  4. Candygirl says:

    The Postal employees usually get screwed out of this extra day. 

    • $15300432 says:

      I wouldn’t say screwed I just got mey political mail for the Nov election

    • wombat1951 says:

      Gee….let’s make the Post Office even more uncompetitive by giving them all a PAID day off right before Christmas when millions of citizens expect their cards and packages to get to where they need to go for Christmas!!
      Now there’s a business model designed for failure!

      • Randy1972 says:

        I am still trying to find where the USPS is losing the most money.  I hear UPS workers make more money and get shares in the company.  Many UPS workers retire as millionaires.  There is a leak in our postal system, draining money.  It could be the carriers…..the time theft, by extending street time, in my station is about $80,000 a year.  Standing on the work floor waiting for their 10 hours because 1 carrier went 15 minutes over his 8????? WTF is that?  Anyone that offers to work overtime gets paid for it, even if they don’t work it????  If the average overtime hours for the quarter is 100, all volunteers with less than 100 hours get paid for the difference.   Time theft = $5BILLION a year…  Stupid time and pay rules agreed to by the USPS in the contract with unions = $4 BILLION per year… The costs for forwarding mail = $10 billion… so much of it being processed by human eyes because carriers don’t know the mark-up standards, carriers on different routes don’t know, or care, about forwards, so all undeliverable mail get sent to forwarding to be checked.  It cost $2.12 for 1 piece of mail that isn’t a good forward, to make the trip from postoffice to cfs, back to postoffice for review, back to cfs for rts.  In summary, it’s the carriers that are killing the post office.  They’re lazy and think that being career means they are entitled to something.  As the routes get shorter, decling volume and vacant houses, i hear…”I’ve done my time.  I deserve it.”  So after 8 years of employment with the USPS, i guess you get 8 hours pay for 7 hours work, and at 10 years it goes to 8 paid for 6 1/2 work, and so on.   IT”S THEFT AMERICA!!!!   WAKE UP AND SLAP YOUR MAILMAN MONDAY.