White House Responds to Petition for Christmas Eve Holiday

Did the petition requesting that December 24th be a paid holiday for federal employees have an impact on the president’s decision to issue the executive order? The official White House response has been issued to the petition which gathered more than 28,000 signatures.

As we have previously noted, a petition was filed with the White House on December 1st requesting that President Obama issue an executive order giving federal workers a holiday on December 24th.

As we noted earlier, it was not possible to determine if the petition had any impact on the decision.

However, the White House has now officially responded to the petition which received 28,257 signatures, presumably from federal employees who were in favor of having the extra day off of work. And, it appears, the petition was read and was possibly a factor in the decision to issue the Order which did not come out until the afternoon of December 21st.

The response states:

OFFICIAL OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT RESPONSE TO give federal employees a day off on Monday, December 24, 2012 (Christmas Eve).

Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Monday, December 24, 2012
By John Berry

Thank you for using We the People. Since you expressed interest in this issue, I want to make sure you are aware that earlier today, President Obama issued an executive order that all executive branch departments and agencies of the federal government will be closed on Monday, December 24, 2012 and their employees excused from duty.

The response includes the full text of executive order giving federal employees the day off on December 24th with a link to the OPM website is signed by OPM Director John Berry.

Presumably, the response was held back for a short time until the Order was posted on the White House website and after the OPM memo was issued to agencies. You will have to decide for yourself if this means the petition played a decisive role in the decision.

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