By Mike Causey – November 20, 2015
Christmas is just a little over a month away. Dec. 25 falls on a Friday this year. Feds who still believe in Santa are wondering if they will get time off — a half day, the whole day? — on Thursday.
Here’s the rule-of-thumb concerning bonus Christmas holidays:
THERE IS NO RULE OF THUMB CONCERNING EXTRA TIME OFF BEFORE, OR AFTER CHRISTMAS!!!
The bonus holiday-or-not decision rests with the President. Each has done it differently over the years. Especially in times when the federal government is held in low esteem, which seems to be most of the time. It’s an especially tough call when Christmas falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
When Dec. 25 is Tuesday or Thursday, feds frequently — but not automatically and not always — get the Monday before or the Friday after off. But that isn’t chiseled in stone on Mount Rushmore.
In 2001 and again in 2007, President George W. Bush gave feds Monday (Christmas Eve) off because Dec. 25 was on a Tuesday. In 2009, President Barack Obama let workers off four hours early on Christmas Eve when Christmas fell on Thursday. But those who wanted Friday (the day after Christmas) off had to take annual leave.
Presidents of all political persuasions generally give feds a bonus holiday (the day before or the day after) when Christmas falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
But a Friday Christmas seems to present special do-I-don’t-I problems for POTUS, who always has a full plate of, mostly, unappetizing options.
Anyone looking to give the economy a much-needed boost would probably recommend a day off on Thursday the 24th. Feds represent a considerable portion of the buyers’ market in many communities. Setting them free for an extra, last minute shopping spree would be a blessing to merchants, restaurants and parking lot owners. In many places around the country, federal workers — as a proportion of the working population — are as important as they are in Washington, D.C. In some, like Florence, Colorado; Carbondale, Illinois; or Ogden, Utah, even more so.
For a look at the ghost of Christmas Eves past, click here. And notice how little has changed because Syria, Iran, China and Vice President Joe Biden were the subjects de jour even back then.
If past is prologue, it will be another couple of weeks until we know. Meantime, place your bets!
Related (from 2014): OPM Memo – Excusing Federal Employees from Duty on Friday, December 26, 2014
“Employees of the U.S. Postal Service and contract employees should contact their supervisor (or contract officer) to obtain information on their pay and leave entitlements…”