Federal agencies will be closed Dec. 24 and employees will have the day off with pay, under an order President Donald Trump issued Tuesday that amounts to the latest in a series of holiday presents to the federal workforce.
Presidents commonly give federal employees additional time off around the Christmas Day holiday, though a full day off most typically is granted to create a long weekend when that day lands on a Tuesday or a Thursday. Trump did that last year when Christmas Day was on a Tuesday; when it falls on other days, the most common practice has been to give a half-day off, or none.
The order follows his administration’s recent acceptance of provisions in two budget bills sponsored by House Democrats to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave and to pay a 3.1 average federal raise in January.
The order applies to some 2.1 million executive branch employees, although under the agencies “may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2019, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.”
That mirrors the policy of similar previous orders, as does language in the order referring to the impact on pay and leave.
That traditionally has meant, for example, that employees who had been scheduled to take vacation time on that day will not be charged a day of leave, and that employees not regularly scheduled to work that day will be entitled to an “in lieu of” day off.
Also traditionally, employees who are ordered to remain at work are entitled to holiday pay, which is an add-on equal to their regular salary rate.
Detailed policies on those and other matters are contained in annual guidance that follows the executive order. That guidance had not been issued as of Tuesday evening.