Will Feds Get Christmas Eve Off?

The holiday falls on a Wednesday this year, decreasing the likelihood of extra vacation.

When federal employees learn whether Congress will cut their take-home pay through pension contribution hikes in the coming days, the workforce will quickly turn its attention to another December deadline.

Many federal employees will soon start wondering whether President Obama will give them an extra vacation day on Christmas Eve.

Obama granted feds Dec. 24 off last year, when Christmas fell on a Tuesday. That set up a four-day weekend for the federal workforce. Generally, when Christmas is on a Tuesday the president grants employees leave on Christmas Eve. When it falls on a Thursday, presidents typically grant an extra vacation day on Friday, Dec. 26.

This year, however, Christmas is on a Wednesday, and Christmas Eve falls on Tuesday. Historically, this has been bad news for federal workers. While feds got half days off on Dec. 24 in 1946 and 1957, they were forced to work their regular schedules -- both on Dec. 24 and Dec. 26 -- when Christmas fell on a Wednesday in 1963, 1968, 1974, 1985, 1991 and 1996. Most recently, however, President Bush gave the federal workforce a half day off on Christmas Eve in 2002, also a Tuesday.

So far this year, the White House has been mum on the issue. Last year, the president didn’t announce the extra time off until Dec. 21. That move came after a petition on the White House’s website -- which crossed the signature threshold to require a response from the administration -- asked the president for the extra vacation.

In addition to 2012, Obama gave federal employees a half day off in 2009, when Christmas fell on a Friday, but did not give any time off in 2010 or 2011.  

(Image via Sinelyov/