As commonly happens at this time of year, federal employees are wondering whether they will get time off without charge to leave around the holidays. However, chances appear to be lower this year because Christmas Day falls on a Sunday and the following day will be the holiday day off. A grant of a full day most commonly is done to create a four-day weekend when Christmas Day fell on, and the holiday was observed on, a Tuesday or a Thursday. In recent times, presidents also have given employees a half-day off when Christmas Day fell on, and the holiday was observed on, a Wednesday or a Friday. In any case, granting excused absence is totally up to a President’s discretion. Employees wanting to be sure to have additional time off around the holiday might want to go ahead and request annual leave, assuming it is not already too late to do so. Any excused absence granted would substitute for previously scheduled annual leave time, under past practice. Any announcement of a government-wide grant of time off typically comes around mid-December, and typically gives agencies discretion to decide that certain employees must remain on the job for security or other reasons, with overtime or comp time entitlement. Even if there is no general government-wide order, individual offices might give employees time off under informal practices.
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