President Bush today gave federal workers the day off on Christmas Eve. By executive order
, Bush said that federal managers should grant the day off on Christmas Eve to workers who don't have to perform essential duties. "Federal workers have shown remarkable strength and courage throughout the current national emergency in performing their jobs with the utmost professionalism and resolve," Office of Personnel Management Director Kay Coles James said in a memorandum to agency heads. "In signing the executive order, the President has recognized the continuing commitment of federal employees to serve America and has demonstrated his belief that our valued holiday traditions should be carried on in spite of the events on and following Sept. 11." In giving federal workers the day off, Bush follows in a long tradition of giving extra days off when Christmas falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday. Employees can reschedule any annual leave they have scheduled for Dec. 24. No employees will be charged annual leave for that day. If employees scheduled use-or-lose leave for Dec. 24 and they can't reschedule it, they'll have to forfeit it. For most employees, use-or-lose leave must be used by Jan. 12, 2002. There are special rules for employees on compressed or flexible schedules. Click on the link in the right-hand column to see how those employees were affected in 1997 when President Clinton designated Dec. 26 an extra day off. Federal employees who have to work on Dec. 24 will get holiday premium pay. Holiday premium pay is an extra 100 percent of an employee's regular rate of basic pay.