President Trump has granted a full day paid time off to federal employees on December 24, the second year in a row he has closed federal agencies on that day.
It is up to a President’s sole discretion whether to grant any time off around the Christmas Day holiday and if so, how much. Last year Trump created a four-day weekend when that day fell on a Tuesday—that also has been a regular practice for Fridays following a Christmas Day on a Thursday.
The order came on the late side, although such orders have come as late as December 21 and last year’s order was issued on December 19.
Like similar past orders, the latest one gives agencies authority to “determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty” for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.
OPM hasn’t yet issued guidance on the order, but those policies are virtually the same each time. Under past practices:
* Employees required to remain at work receive holiday pay for that day, doubling their salaries.
* Those who had been scheduled to work that day but who are excused receive the pay they normally would have received for working, with no charge to any form of leave.
* Those who had been scheduled to be on annual leave or other paid leave that day—which likely is a large number—will not be charged for the leave. Those in a “use or lose” situation with their annual leave would need to reschedule the day and take it before the end of the current leave year—January 4, in most cases—or else lose it.
* Those whose work schedules didn’t include that day receive an “in lieu of” day off, which typically is the last scheduled workday before the excused absence day.
The OPM guidance also addresses several less common situations, such as employees on travel, or using a comp day under an alternative work schedule.
See also, Holiday premium pay for federal workers at ask.FEDweek.com