President Gives Fed Workers Holiday on December 24th

By on December 21, 2012 in Current Events, Pay & Benefits with 67 Comments

We have run a couple of articles on a petition filed on December 1st asking that federal employees be given an extra holiday this year since Christmas Eve falls on a Monday. The petition contended that: “Giving federal employees an extra holiday on December 24th, 2012 would be a good gesture to improve morale of the federal workforce.” The petition cited the fact that federal employee pay and benefits have been under attack in recent years and that similar orders have been issued in years past—including one from President Obama in 2009.

As of this morning, the petition had received over 28,200 signatures. There is supposed to be an automatic review of the petition by the White House staff and a response to the petition when at least 25,000 people sign it. In response to those readers who sent in a query asking for the status of a possible executive order granting an extra holiday next week, here is the good news: President Obama issued an executive order a short time ago granting an extra paid holiday on Christmas Eve.

The executive order reads, in part: “All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2012, the day before Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.”

We do not know, of course, if the petition had any impact on the issuance of the executive order.

A counter-petition, filed after the initial petition and asking that federal employees not be given the day off was not as popular. It had about 362 signatures as of this morning.

Back in 2009, President Obama issued an executive order giving employees half a day off of work. The executive order was issued on December 11th and, of course, was applicable to the December 24th workday.  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.

For those who may be interested, the remainder of the executive order reads:

Sec. 2. The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2012, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.
Sec. 3. Monday, December 24, 2012, shall be considered as falling within the scope of Executive Order 11582 of February 11, 1971, and of 5 U.S.C. 5546 and 6103(b) and other similar statutes insofar as they relate to the pay and leave of employees of the United States.
Sec. 4. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall take such actions as may be necessary to implement this order.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(b) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

To all of our readers, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas!


© 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. Carl Jones says:

    Congress and Associates already make too much money and benefit packages and rather than a raise, they should have their salaries reduced to a more acceptable price.  When they start doing their functions as a legislative body, then will they be considered for an increase for salaries and not until.  Meantime, cut their income to what the average American gets.

  2. Federal Worker says:

    The executive order reads, in part: “All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2012, the day before Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.  (See section 2)

    Sec. 2. The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2012, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.

    It appears your agency decided that your position was one of public need.  The President gave the authorization.  The agency decided who would benefit from the order.  Sorry you had to work.  Hopefully it didn’t completely ruin your day.

  3. Carole says:

    I work for the Postal Service.   On Christmas Eve I was out delivering mail until 5pm.  I thought I was a federal employee.  Why didn’t  we get a day off, President Obama?

  4. Federal Worker says:

    Wow!  It is a sad day when your employer can not provide you with acts of appreciation for your service.  I’m so sorry that there are individuals who truly believe that a few federal employees set the standard for all.  There are good and bad in every aspect of life. That is regardless of race, social, economic, and religious standings.  Most employers provide benefits to their employees.  You work for a retailer, you get a discount.  If you work for the airlines, you get to fly free or at a reduced fair.  Federal workers are no different.  We have families, and are concerned about meeting the needs of our families just like non federal workers.  Should a federal workers be punished for being a federal worker?  Your disapproval of government leadership and their decisions about how to run the country should not include the entire federal work force.  We have to abide by the same rules, regulations and guidelines as the rest of the country. If we had the kind of power that some of the comments are inferring, we would not have been subjected to a pay freeze since 2010.  We are concerned about the fiscal cliff and the direction of this country just like everyone else.  I appreciate my job and the agency that I work for and it’s not because I’m making a six figure salary.  I believe anyone who is previledged to have a paycheck should feel the same way.  We all could use more money because it takes more to live and that affects everyone regardless of where you work.  If you are not happy with your present circumstances, do not blame the federal workforce.  Spend that  precious time and engergy looking for ways to better your personal circumstance.  Broaden your perspective it will make it easier for you to deal with circumstances you don’t really have control over.  Until this happens, we will always have this kind of discord.

  5. Cartero says:

    They would have been paid anyway for working. Most of them would have left at noon with a full day of pay or have called in sick. Either way they were gonna get paid

  6. Donna Clay says:

    Well to all that dislike Federal workers to begin with, I haven’t had a pay increase in 3 years I am the lowest paid RN in all of government because I work for Indian Health Service AND we had to work till noon on the 24th so we did not get the day off.

  7. Ybcuz says:

    “good gesture to improve morale of the federal workforce” The good gesture is that you got a job at all – a job with higher pay and benefits that private workers. I just worked for a company for 4 years without any benefits and being on call throughout the year. I made full time after 4 years and literally a week later everyone was locked out of the plant  – union didn’t help at all. Sounds to me like spoiled federal employees want more icing on their cake.

  8. Thanks! says:

    THANKS – Mr. President!

  9. Eagle1 says:

    Thank you Mr. Prez!  How about the $10,000.00 in salary per year that I’ve lost the last 4 years!   Oh that’s right, that funds your 4 million dollar Hawaiian vacation during the Christmas holidays! 

  10. HRguru says:

    What is one day’s worth of federal salaries?  Let’s see, 2 million employees x 65,000 (let’s say)/252 days=about $515million.  

  11. Cardinl1driver says:

    So much for the Federal budget, pay for no work…quaint idea?

  12. De2004 says:

    Whats another paid holiday when your over 16 trillion in the hole and no one cares.

  13. Abby says:

    Yay!  Thank you Mr. President!!!!!

  14. Sindysays10006 says:

    Is this for Federal worker in the D.C. area? We heard that there was only going to be 3 hours administrative leave. 

    • FedSmith says:

      The executive order, as noted in the article reads: “All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2012, the day before Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.”

      I surmise that the three hours of administrative leave will be changed to the entire day off except for people who are required to come to work because of the nature of the work itself.

      You should check out the other article that we just posted on the OPM guidance regarding how the executive order will be implemented.

  15. NoDonkey says:

    I don’t know what to make of this.  I’ll guess I’ll understand it by the time I have to submit my timecard next week. 

  16. Donna Wright says:

    The only people that really benefit from this is those DC workers or District offices.  When you work in the field you will either be off and have to use Annual Leave or have to work, possibly full shifts.  Seems if your an essential employee…your second class.   The petition had nothing to do with getting this……..they have given this the last few holidays.  If the government would only pay Congress and Senate for actual time spent in session………and stop paying them when they no longer were in office……a lot of money could be saved………..just saying. 

    • Getreal says:

       I staff a 24×7 office so I’ll be working Monday no matter what.  (‘m working Christmas day as well.)  The additional holiday for Monday means more money in my pocket, plus no supervisors and day-workers hanging around.  A definite win-win for me!

      • jhenjoh says:

        Sorry Pal, it isn’t a “Holiday” regardless of what they are saying. It is an Administrative day. No holiday OT. You get paid the same, show or no show. Get a life!

        • guest says:

          i believe the guidance from OPM states those working get holiday pay so Getreal is correct, more money

        • Getreal says:

           I’ll remember that you say its an Administrative day off as I code my time sheet the same as I have for every Administrative day off for the last 22 years.

        • HR Spec says:

          It is a holiday and those having to work WILL get holiday pay. Those whose Regular Days Off (RDO) are Monday and Tuesday will have holiday in lieu of for Monday and Tuesday.

    • Retired says:

      Oh poor baby.  Think of those t would love to have just your one-day of pay that your not going to be working for. Don’t thank bo thank the taxpayer! 

      • redauburn says:

        Federal workers are tax payers too!  People forget that.  How many people pay their own salary?  Other companies are closed Monday too and have big Holiday parties with give aways like 60″ TV’s.  My son just started at one of those companies so they are out there if you are not too lazy to look for a job because you are too busy putting the federal worker (taxpayer) down. 

    • guest says:

      so you’re not clear on what “executive branch” means??

    • guest says:

      and a bit more could have been saved by not making monday a holiday…just saying.  you do not have to use AL, where do you get that?

  17. pastaK says:

    Thank You President Obama. Happy Holidays to all! Hoping 2013 is a better year than last.

  18. doc2hill says:

    Ok thanks guys.

  19. Maury says:

    Thank you Baracklaus!

  20. Another Federal Employee says:

    Some Agencies had been excused the last 3 hours of Monday.  We need to verify the accuracy of this order.

  21. Love It says:

    Thank you Mr. President!!!

  22. Yeah says:

    Make no mistake, we will definitely pay for this at the end of the week. 

  23. PublicCitiZen says:

    Well heck, if the petition thing worked for this, maybe we can start one for congress to pull their heads out of their a**es. 😉

    • $15300432 says:

      maybe we can get him to respond and show us his college records and Indonesian passports

      • Sagitt says:

        What does a college records and a passport have to do with the price of beans?   How about posting your driver’s license and your shoe size since the subject is about the President granting a holiday to federal employee?   You make no sense. 

  24. doc2hill says:

    What happens if we already off and Christmas Eve gives us an additional hours of use or lose

    • Guest says:

      You take a different day off

    • Soonershooter says:

      I think it’s OPM form 630A??  Donate to those who can use it?

      • Guest says:

        Please donate to me…. I abused all my sick leave this past year and am running a bit short. I claimed a fake injury on the job, which really happened at home, but in reality didnt happen at all.  I dont have enough leave (Sick or Annual ) to help myself due to my continuous use of my entitled leave taking habits where I call in sick each and every Monday of the week due to my drinking habit on the previous weekend nights and I am too hungover to get up and go to work.

        If 400 people could give up 8 hours leave, that could entitle me (Yes, I believe I am entitled) to receive an additional 400 days off with pay for not doing squat (that which I did while I was supposedly at work). Please be a sweaty and add my name as your personal recipient of donated leave. I will be forever in your debt.

        This will help me tremndously and my Doc says no problem with giving me a fake excuse since he is my brother-inlaw.

    • Richard Jefferson says:

       If you have use or lose leave and are unable to use it before the end of PP 27, you lose it. Executive Order for Administrative Leave bumps scheduled annual leave.

      And to make it worse, you can not request it to be reinstated. But still, one day, think of it as giving a little more back.

    • Pat says:

      Remember Leave Year Ends January 12.  You’ll have to use it of lose it.

  25. Pris0ner says:

     Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2012

  26. Johnnyd60 says:

    Whoopee, probably not the post office!!!!!!!!

  27. grannybunny says:

    Woohoo!  🙂