Bush gives federal employees extra day off

President Bush on Friday ordered executive branch agencies to close on Friday, Dec. 26, giving most federal employees a four-day weekend over the Christmas holiday.

Agency heads still have the authority to order some essential employees to their posts on the day after Christmas, according to Bush's executive order.

Traditionally, presidents have granted an extra day or half-day of vacation when Christmas falls on Tuesday or Thursday. In 2007, when the holiday fell on a Tuesday, the president awarded employees with a full day off on Dec. 24.

Now, what about an extra day off for the Friday after New Year's Day, which is on Thursday this year? Don't hold your breath. The last time feds received an extra vacation day during the New Year's holiday was in 1973, when President Nixon gave employees a full day off on Dec. 31. Christmas and New Year's Day both fell on a Tuesday that year.

The next time federal employees are likely to get an extra day off around Christmas is in 2012, when the holiday falls on a Tuesday.

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