It’s that time of year again: The time when federal employees beg the president to give them Christmas Eve off from work.
Two petitions published in late November on the White House’s We the People website ask President Obama for a paid holiday on Dec. 24. Christmas Day falls on Friday this year, so feds are hoping Obama will grant them an extra day off on Thursday for a four-day weekend.
“Federal employees work extremely hard year after year to carry out our mission statement as public servants,” stated the Nov. 21 petition, which so far has nearly 2,500 signatures. “Although we are a family at work, giving federal employees Christmas Eve off to spend with their families at home would not only be a wonderful gift from our president but would also boost morale in the workplace and within ourselves. We feel unappreciated with pay freezes and constant threats of government shutdowns. Being with our relatives is so important during this time and would mean everything.”
We the People petitions require 100,000 signatures within 30 days of creation to receive a formal response from the White House.
A Nov. 24 petition asks Obama to sign an executive order making Dec. 24 a paid federal holiday. So far, that petition has just under 1,000 signatures.
The odds are decent the president will grant federal employees’ Christmas wish based on his past decisions. In 2014, Obama issued a Dec. 5 executive order giving federal workers an extra holiday on Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. Obama gave federal employees a half day off on Christmas Eve in 2009, when Christmas fell on a Friday, but did not give any time off in 2010 or 2011. The president did not offer feds any extra time off around the holidays in 2013, when Christmas fell on a Wednesday. But he did give them Christmas Eve off to create a four-day weekend in 2012, when Christmas was on a Tuesday.
In mid-November, feds asked Obama to close the federal government on Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving this year. That did not happen.
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