Many readers were hoping to have an extra paid holiday this year on December 24th. As we noted in an earlier article (When Christmas is On Wednesday: Historical Data Not Promising for Feds Getting Extra Holiday), getting an extra day off when Christmas Eve falls on a Wednesday is not very common.
Based on past precedent, it is much more likely that a president will give employees an extra day off when it results in a four day weekend.
So, it is not a surprise that there is no word from the White House about the government closing down and giving an extra holiday on Christmas Eve. There is, of course, no obligation to issue an executive order stating “I have decided not to grant federal employees an extra holiday on December 24th of this year.”
Those who were hoping or planning for an extra day off on December 24th should just plan on coming to work that day or taking a day of annual leave instead.
A number of readers commented that they thought giving federal employees an extra holiday was the best decision that the president could make. Often cited reasons included the extended pay freeze, the government shutdown, furloughs that have occurred, and attacks on federal employee benefits.
As noted in USA Today: “Presidents Truman in 1946 and Eisenhower in 1957 granted half-days off on Christmas Eve when the holiday fell on Wednesday during their tenures in office. But six times between 1960 and 2000 no president, Democrat or Republican, formally excused workers from work on Dec. 24 before a Wednesday holiday.”
In 2012, President Obama gave federal workers an extra day off on Christmas Eve. That decision came after a petition that received about 28,000 signatures on the White House’s website asked the president for the extra vacation. A similar petition this year had less than 5000 signatures so, perhaps, most federal employees will not be surprised at having to work or take leave on December 24th.
Many agencies are likely to give some time off on Christmas Eve in the afternoon, at least for those employees who are at work, but the decision to grant administrative time off always varies between different agencies.
In any event, we wish all of our readers a Merry Christmas!