2012: OPM Issues Guidance on Christmas Eve Holiday

OPM Director John Berry has issued guidance for pay and leave purposes on the extra holiday on December 24th granted to federal employees by the president.

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.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.