President Gives Fed Workers Holiday on December 24th

The president has issued an executive order granting Monday, December 24th as a paid day off.

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!

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