Will Federal Workers Get the Gift of Extra Time Off at Christmas?
The answer depends on what day of the week that holiday falls on.
Every November, federal workers trying to plan out their Christmas in advance usually wonder if they will get any extra time off for Christmas, but the answer depends on what day of the week Christmas falls on.
Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, there will likely be no extra paid time off for Christmas Eve this season unless President Biden issues an executive order. Christmas Eve is not considered a federal holiday. Instead, workers will get the Monday after Christmas day off as an “in lieu of” holiday.
“If a holiday falls on a Saturday, for most federal employees, the preceding Friday will be treated as a holiday for pay and leave purposes,” said the Office of Personnel Management on its website. “If a holiday falls on a Sunday, for most federal employees, the following Monday will be treated as a holiday for pay and leave.”
In lieu of holidays are usually observed on a day preceding a holiday, but since Christmas is on a Sunday – a non-workday for most federal employees – the in lieu of holiday will occur on Monday, Dec. 26.
Still, there is a chance that the president may grant an extra day off or a shorter day for federal workers on Friday, Dec. 23, although recent history says that is unlikely. The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday, in 2016, federal workers did not get any extra time off. Half days have sometimes been issued when Christmas day falls on a Friday or Wednesday.
Presidents have been more generous with giving leave around Christmas in recent years, but precedent is against extra time off when Christmas falls on a weekend.