Chance of an Extra Holiday at Christmas for Federal Employees?

Are federal employees likely to receive an extra day off on Christmas Eve which falls on a Monday in 2018?

This year, Christmas Day will be on Tuesday, December 25th. That means that Christmas Eve will be on a Monday. What are the chances of federal employees getting extra time off on December 24th?

We have no special insight on any thoughts President Trump or his staff may have on this issue. What we can do (and have done) is to check and see what has happened in previous years when Christmas falls on a Tuesday.

An Extra Holiday When Christmas Eve Falls on a Monday

In 2012, President Obama suddenly announced an extra federal holiday (a Monday) for the federal workforce. His announcement was made on December 21st. In that year, Christmas was on a Tuesday. Perhaps it was a coincidence. The extra holiday was announced after a petition on the White House website asked the president for an extra day of vacation exceeded the minimum number of signatures requiring a response.

President George W. Bush also gave federal employees an extra day off in 2001 and in 2007 when Christmas Eve fell on a Monday. In 1990, President H.W. Bush also gave federal employees a Monday off when Christmas Eve fell on a Monday.

President Nixon (1973) and Carter (1979) also issued an Executive Order giving federal employees an extra day off when Christmas Eve fell on a Monday.

President Kennedy issued a similar Executive Order in 1962.


Based on past actions of presidents over several decades, there is a good chance federal employees may receive an extra day off in 2018. It has happened seven times previously.

Perhaps President Trump will conclude federal employees have worked hard and an extra day off is justified. Perhaps the government would save enough money on not heating government offices for one day in the midst of what could be a four-day weekend so that leaving the buildings closed makes financial sense.

Or, perhaps, President Trump does not like being sued (successfully so far although the case is still on appeal) by federal employee unions over Executive Orders he has issued impacting the federal workforce. Perhaps he does not like seeing how federal employee unions actively support and endorse so many Democrats running for an elected office.

Or, if a shutdown is going on at that time, it could get more interesting. Would federal employees who are still going to work get an extra holiday (December 24th) with pay? Would employees being furloughed receive pay after the shutdown is over just as if they had been working? Those issues may give the federal government’s pay experts and lawyers some extra work.

Government Shutdown?

A complicating factor in 2018 is that there could be a government shutdown impacting some federal employees in early December.

While an agreement has been reached on funding for a number of agencies, there could be a shutdown as early as December 7th for a number of federal employees. The funding needed for a border wall is about $5 billion and that is perhaps the largest area of disagreement as Democrats do not support funding of a border wall despite the mass migration caravans. About 300,000 federal employees could be furloughed if an agreement is not reached on a spending package.

While it is unlikely there will be a shutdown that would last through Christmas, it is not impossible as funding has already been approved for a number of agencies so there would not be a complete shutdown in any event.

The actions that Congress will take with regard to funding the federal government are likely to be resolved before Christmas. As events occur regarding the funding of all remaining agencies and the granting of an extra holiday for Christmas Eve, we will provide the information to our readers.

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