Federal employees have filed a petition with the White House on the “We the People” petition website asking for the day after Christmas off.
Christmas falls on a Thursday this year, so rather than return to work for one day just prior to the weekend, the reasoning is that many people will probably take Friday off anyway, so with an extra day off there can be a 4 day weekend.
The petition reads:
Federal Employees have dealt with pay freezes and furloughs over the past few years. Giving federal employees an extra holiday on Dec. 26th, 2014 would be a good gesture to improve morale of the federal workforce. Some bases are forcing their employees to take leave or LWOP because of base shut-downs on this day. This is also consistent with past practice. President Obama provided a full-day Monday Dec. 24, 2012 and a half-day off on Thursday, Dec. 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. We urge President Obama to issue an executive order.
The historical data are more promising for getting an extra day off when Christmas is on a Thursday as we noted in this article: When Christmas is On Wednesday: Historical Data Not Promising for Feds Getting Extra Holiday. The article also notes, however, that the extra day off at Christmas is not insignificant from a cost standpoint; the estimated cost for shutting down the government for the extra day is $100 million, so it’s not a decision to be done flippantly.
This is not the first time federal workers have used the petition website to seek extra time off at Christmas. We covered a petition from two years ago that requested making Christmas Eve an extra holiday when Christmas was on a Tuesday. That petition did ultimately get the minimum required signatures, and the White House ended up giving federal employees the extra day off, so the petition was apparently successful.
One caveat that is different this time around: in 2012 when the previous petition was circulating, the minimum number of required signatures to get a response from the government was 25,000. Today, it is 100,000, so this petition will need 4 times as much support as was required in 2012. When the White House announced this change to the petition website, it attributed the decision to the massive growth in use and popularity of the petition website.
Will this petition have the same outcome? We will keep you updated with the latest news on the possibility of the extra paid holiday.