Happy Holiday: Obama grants federal workers early day on Christmas Eve

Thousands of federal workers, though, signed a petition asking for a full day off Dec. 24.
By Doug G. Ware  |  Dec. 11, 2015 at 8:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama gave federal employees an early holiday gift Friday -- an executive order granting them a short day of work on Christmas Eve.

The order said, "all executive branch departments and agencies of the federal government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty for the last half of the scheduled workday" on Dec. 24.

Obama's order allows most federal agencies to grant employees an early day -- but some executive branch departments can require a full work day from select employees "for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need."

"The benefits of the executive order include recognizing the dedication of federal employees serving the public, improving workforce morale, and valuing a family-friendly work environment," Office of Budget Management Director Shaun Donovan said Friday in a fiscal review of the order. "Implementing this executive order is anticipated to increase costs to the Federal Government compared to Fiscal Year 2015, and have no impact on revenues to the Federal Government."

Federal workers had previously started an online petition asking for a full day off on Christmas Eve. More than 25,000 people had signed the petition as of Friday.

Exactly how much time off federal employees receive during the holidays varies every year, depending on each president.

Obama granted workers a full day off on Dec. 26 last year and former President George W. Bush allowed government employees four days off during the week of Christmas.

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