Is Today a Federal Holiday? Short Workday for Many Feds

Wednesday, November 24th isn’t really a federal holiday. But, says OPM, agencies can dismiss employees early while “renewing our commitment on Thanksgiving.”

Thursday, November 26 is a federal holiday while Americans observe Thanksgiving.

That isn’t news to most people who have been planning their Thanksgiving turkey dinners. But, as an extra added bonus, many or at least some federal employees will not be working very long on Wednesday, November 25th, either.

The Office of Personnel Management has sent out a memo entitled “Renewing Our Commitment on Thanksgiving” and noting that President Obama has declared a Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, November 26th. The President encourages “all the people of the United States to come together with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.”

Not to take anything away from President Obama but it wasn’t really his idea.

Congress passed a resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November and President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863 when he wrote:

“I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

As part of “renewing our commitment,” OPM is telling agencies:

Early dismissal is appropriate only for employees who work on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, and only to the extent that employees can be spared and such time off does not interfere with agency operations.  Friday, November 27, 2009, is a normal workday.

So, without much doubt, many readers will be leaving work early on Wednesday, November 25th.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

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