Most federal employees will get a full day off with pay on Dec. 24 under an order from President Trump that follows a tradition of presidents excusing employees from work on that day when the Christmas Day federal holiday falls on a Friday. Merry Christmas to federal employees from President Donald Trump.
“All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Thursday, December 24, 2020, the day before Christmas Day,” the order states.
Like similar past orders, the directive gives agencies discretion to require that certain offices remain open and that certain employees must work as regularly scheduled “for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.” The past practice has been that those employees generally will be entitled to a pay add-on called holiday pay, which doubles their salary for the day.
That consideration and other details, such as how the order affects those not regularly scheduled to work on that day, typically are addressed in follow-up guidance from the Office of Personnel Management.
This is not the first time President Trump has decided t issue an executive order giving federal employees the day off from work, as he has previously done son in 2018 and 2019.
It has been a common practice of presidents going back decades to grant paid time off — “excused absence,” in government personnel lingo — around the Christmas Day holiday in most years.
The pattern has been to grant a full day off to make four-day weekends when the 25th falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday; a half-day when it falls on a Wednesday, a Friday or a Saturday; and no time off when it falls on a Sunday or a Monday, when the federal holiday is observed on Monday.
With Christmas Eve off, federal workers will have a four-day weekend to celebrate the holiday.