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As commonly happens at this time of year, some federal employees have started asking whether they will get extra time off without charge to leave around the holidays. While there is no answer yet—such an announcement typically doesn’t come until around mid-December — the precedent is against it.

With Christmas Day falling on a Saturday this year, the federal holiday will be observed on Friday the 24th. The last two times the calendar fell that way, in 2004 and 2010, Presidents Bush and Obama, respectively, granted employees no additional time off on Thursday the 23rd.


Additional full days off most commonly are granted to create four-day weekends when the 25th falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday. When the 25th falls on a Sunday or a Monday, and the holiday is observed on Monday in both cases, there typically is no grant of additional time off. When the 25th falls on a Friday or a Wednesday and the holiday is observed on that day, policies have varied, with half-days off granted for the previous day in some years and full days off in other years.

In any case, a grant of time off is at a President’s discretion and past practice is not binding.

Also, even in years when extra time off was granted around Christmas, there was no such time off a week later for the New Year’s holiday.

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