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.
The petition is no longer online, but we have provided an update as to how it performed.