Federal employees still wondering if government will close Christmas Eve

Both Congress and the White House are known for several months of vacation each year, but will federal employees go home on Christmas Eve? Photo: Barack Obama on the Hawaii Beach / AP (2009)

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2013 — Federal employees are wondering whether the President will close the government on Christmas Eve. The order to close the government for Christmas Eve 2012 came on December 21, 2012.

According to Government Executive, “Obama gave federal employees a half day on Christmas Eve in 2009, when it fell on a Thursday and Christmas on a Friday. He did not order any extra holiday time in 2010 or 2011.”

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In 2011, Christmas Eve was a Saturday, however in 2010 it was a Friday. President Bush ordered government closures for Christmas Eve in 2001 and 2007. In 2006, President Bush ordered closures on December 26, the day after Christmas, to allow federal employees to enjoy a four and half day weekend. (The same year, he gave employees a half day off for Christmas Eve).

Government Executive says “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.”

As of the publication of this article, the White House has not given any indication about Christmas Eve closures.

USA Today believes the government shutdown will have an impact on this year’s decision, saying “Whether President Obama will grant more than two million federal workers extra time off next Tuesday is uncertain, especially because many federal workers weren’t at their desks for 16 days in October because of the government shutdown.”

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Federal employees have begun a White House petition to get the day off. The petition still needs more than 97,000 signatures to make it to the President’s desk.

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Rahat Husain

Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues.


In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.


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