Will December 26 be another holiday? Here are a few comments

Will the Friday after Christmas be a holiday this year? In some offices, hope springs eternal.

We get email from our readers and we encourage readers to write. With a small staff, we can’t answer all of the mail. Here is a general response to one line of questions though.

We like getting the mail. It lets us know what readers are thinking, what they like about our website and what they don’t like. It keeps us in touch with our audience.

It’s nice to be considered an expert on federal employee issues–even if we sometimes don’t know any more than anyone else on a particular issue.

Here’s an example. Christmas falls on a Thursday this year. When Christmas falls on a Thursday or a Tuesday, we are sure to start getting email asking if federal employees will get an extra day off–in this case the Friday after Christmas.

Maybe it’s because of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. Or perhaps its because OPM is working to set up new personnel systems for the Departments of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. But one thing we know for sure: Neither President Bush nor the Office of Personnel Management have written to let us know whether December 26 will be an extra paid holiday this year.

Various reasons are given in the mail we receive as to why federal employees should get the day off though. Some are creative; some are just wishful thinking.

One reader commented that since employees in the District of Columbia area got extra time off earlier this year because of the opening celebration for the National Football League, employees outside the area should get the time off after Christmas. That is my personal favorite reason but I am not sure OPM director James will find it especially persuasive.

Another reason given is that employees have been working hard because of the war on terror and it would be a good thing to recognize this hard work by declaring December 26 to be a federal holiday.

Another reader thought employees should get the day off because his raise was going to be delayed beyond January 1st and it was only fair to make up for the delay by giving an extra day off as compensation.

And, not surprisingly, someone wanted to be sure she used all of the leave she has coming (so-called “use or lose” leave) and can’t be sure how to schedule it because no one has said if December 26 will be a holiday or not. (My advice: schedule the extra day off and, if the president does give you December 26 as an extra holiday, be thankful and don’t spend any more time worrying about it.)

Anyone who regularly reads reader comments in our FedSmith.com articles section will recognize this comment that comes up in one form or another with just about any article we publish: “We should get the extra day off because federal employees make less and have fewer benefits than workers in the private sector.”

We don’t know if any of these reasons will be persuasive for the officials in charge. If OPM or any other senior official happens to let us know, we will be sure to pass it along.

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. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47