If history is a guide, federal employees may be in line for an extra half-day off around Christmas this year.
Christmas will fall on a Friday, and the last three times that has happened, presidents have granted most of the federal workforce except essential workers an extra half-day of break on Christmas Eve. President Obama granted the half day in 2015 and 2009, when Christmas fell on a Friday, and President Clinton did the same in 1998.
President Trump has not generally advocated for giving federal employees additional benefits, but he has been relatively generous in granting extra time off for Christmas Eve, which is not an official federal holiday. Last year he surprised the federal workforce by granting Dec. 24 off even though Christmas fell in the middle of the week, on a Wednesday. Trump also gave Christmas Eve off in 2018, to allow the federal workforce a four-day weekend.
Executive orders granting the additional vacation time often come in mid-December.
Christmas Eve 2019: Trump gives federal workers the day off 🎅
The President issued an executive order Tuesday ordering that all executive departments and federal agencies close on Tuesday, December 24 in honor of Christmas Eve.
The holidays for federal employees include Christmas Day, but not Christmas Eve.
Certain employees, or “emergency employees,” will have to work that day “for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.”
News of an extra day off comes after Congress recently approved 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all federal employees for the first time in American history. The legislation heads to Trump’s desk for his signature.
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