Feds Get Day After Christmas Off!

Photo by PoPville flickr user Phil

Happy news for Federal workers (and me since I follow the their schedule 🙂 )

From The White House:

“Executive Order — Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Friday, December 26, 2014

By the authority vested in me as President of the United States of America, by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Friday, December 26, 2014, the day after Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.

Sec. 2. The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 26, 2014, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.”

33 Comment

    • Not so fast – it was an “executive order,” which means House Republicans will surely denounce this “Boxing Day Amnesty” and haul in Santa Clause for a hearing.

  • And contractors (like me) have to use paid time off (and I have very little saved up) this day. I’d rather work the half day I had planned. Now I’m going to have to work eight extra hours before that day to make it up.

    • Emmaleigh504

      +1 And as I keep reminded my coworkers, we’ve got 2 pretty ancient ex presidents (Carter and Bush Sr) and another with semi crappy health (Clinton’s heart), they could drop dead at any moment and we would have to use PTO when the gov closes for whatever they do for dead ex presidents.

      • Closing for the death of an ex president would be pretty unusual. Was it done when Reagan died? My private sector office wasn’t closed, but maybe the feds were, because of the procession on PA Ave? I am almost positive it wasn’t done for Ford. Maybe it depends on the level of ceremony which is taking place in DC.

        • Yes, the Federal govt closed for Reagan’s funeral, and one other since I’ve been in DC, I think, though I can’t recall who…? I don’t work for the govt, but my office, like many, follows their closure schedule, so we got the day off. Same for inaugurations.

        • Emmaleigh504

          The government closed for both Reagan and Ford.

          • Ford’s state funeral was January 2, 2007, which was a Tuesday. Since New Year’s Day was Monday, this meant that the three-day weekend turned into a four-day weekend.

          • we’re also closed on inauguration

          • Emmaleigh504

            Yep, and generally when Xmas has 1 day between the weekend the feds close. I try to be prepared for these things, which is why I remind people on my team about those old ex-presidents.
            I do like getting the time off, but I hate having to use precious PTO. I’m lucky b/c now if the gov closes for inclement weather my contract can work from home, so bring on the snowmaggedon! I won’t lose a week of pay this time! (just kidding! please no snow!)

  • Allison

    Yay! This gets rid of a lot of the negotiation about who has to stay in town for Christmas to provide “coverage.” We were getting to the point of drawing straws…

  • I’m cool with it, even though as a contractor I will have to take PTO or just not get paid. I do think it enforces the stereotype that federal workers are not had workers and many of their jobs can be cut though.

    • Fed here – I think after basically 5 years of flat salaries, furloughs for many of us, gov shut downs and constant uncertainty….a day off isn’t why you think most are useless. It’s your own experience. And many feds will still have to work that day.

      And I’d guess MOST were planning on taking the day off anyway – I was coming in because I’m out of leave (thanks, baby havin’!). I think if the gov is closed, contractors should still be able to work.

      • epric002

        to clarify, when you say “i think contractors should still be able to work” do you mean that they OUGHT to work that day, or that it is likely they are permitted to work that day? or something else entirely?

        • I think it was pretty clear that he meant they should be able to work if they wanted to instead of being forced to take paid or unpaid leave.

          • yes – I think forcing someone to take leave (which, as a fed in a military office, I’ve been required to do even though I know it’s not kosher) is not right. Many people rely on the leave (or pay). My husband was a contractor during snowpocolypse and lost more than a week’s worth of pay. If you are unable to work, you shouldn’t be penalized. If they allow contractors to work, it gives them the option to avoid using leave/missing a day of pay.

      • Allison

        In B’s defense I’m not sure they were saying that they felt feds were useless, just that it contributes to the stereotype. But like JinDC said, December 26th isn’t going to take a person who didn’t already think feds were useless and turn them into a person who does. People who generally dislike feds will continue to do so whether or not we get December 26th off.

    • As a former contractor, I’d have to say it’s a mix of stereotype and reality. I worked with a lot of very hard-working federal employees, and a lot of very lazy, useless federal employees. Though I guess if the latter were doing their jobs, there’d be no work for us contractors!

      • And there are a lot of lazy, useless contractors. But I bet that they’ve had the opportunity to get a raise sometime in the last five years.

      • saf

        As in every job I have ever had in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Some good, some bad, some just there.

    • justinbc

      If people are going to think that anyway, why not get some benefit out of it?

  • Most Feds I know are off all month because of use-or-lose leave anyway, but it’s good for those required to work to maintain coverage. It’s hard to visit family for Christmas when you have to report to work the next morning.

    • I question how many Feds you know and their ages if most are off all month for use or lose. The leave is definitely generous for those who have been here a long time, but you get 4 hours per pay period for the first three years (13 days vacation) and 6 hours per pay period from 3-15 years (20 days). I’m in the 6 hrs camp and, while it is generous, I still have to hoard to cover part of maternity leave, which is entirely unpaid.

      • Good point– I mostly know older male Feds.

      • Why aren’t you using accumulated sick time for maternity leave? You get nearly 3 weeks of sick a year (13 days), and can be accumulated in an unlimited fashion.

        My husband is a 14, has been with uncle sam since grad school (7 years) and is 32. We joke all the time about what a gravy train it is, and while he may be able to make 15-20% more out of government service, the benefits are unmatched.

        He accumulates 4 weeks of vacation a year, and already has the 6 weeks you are allowed to accumulate and carry over every year. Between the AWS, the number of Federal Holidays etc, I don’t think he has been to the office for 5 days straight in a couple of years, then has to burn 2, sometimes 3 weeks right at the end of the year. This Friday (12th) will be his last day of work until after the 1st of the year.

        He isn’t sick often and only takes a couple days a year, so he has accumulated ~75 days ( or nearly 4 months) of sick leave.

        Yes, the pay has been “frozen”, but thats only the COL pay. You can still get raises and promotions per normal. He has moved up 2 GS levels in the past 5 years.

        • If your office/supervisor actually follows OPM regulations, you are only allowed to use 6 or 8 weeks of sick leave following the birth of a child. You can add a day or two in there for days you had pediatrician appts or OB follow ups, but those are the actual regs. Which is why you need to use your annual leave.

          Additionally, if you’re a fed in a grade, sure you can get step increases, but if you’re at the top of your grade, that’s it (or they are very slow)

          Lastly, not every office has AWS. I know my office doesn’t allow AWS.

          • Jindc,

            It isn’t as black and white as that. Two women in my husbands office had kids last year. One took 8 weeks of sick, then another couple weeks of personal leave, then worked out a telework arrangement for a month. The other simply took a month from personal leave, after consuming the 8 weeks of sick leave. I know a couple of people who work in other agencies, and they seem just as flexible. If you aren’t chronically ill and using 3 weeks of sick leave per year, and plan head 8 or 9 months (i.e. the time you know you are pregnant), then I don’t really see the issue. To have to take an entirely unpaid maternity leave of ~3 months meant you had zero sick time or vacation accrued, which is kinda hard to do when you accrue so much of it.

        • and a step increase isn’t a promotion. Moving from 9 to 11 to 13 is. Not everyone has a career ladder position (my husband does, but I currently don’t, for example).

        • I’m a fed. Have been one for almost 10 years. I’m happy to share my story of leave. I started earning 4 sick, 4 annual. Never get sick, really. Never went on a vacation because I knew I’d need maternity leave at some point, most likely (and if not, then I’d take an amazing vacation!).
          The OPM regulations allow for 6 weeks of sick leave for a vaginal birth, 8 weeks sick for a c section. I was allowed to take 8 weeks of sick, and then the rest was annual leave and leave without pay except for a day here and there when there was a doctor’s appointment. I returned to work after finally finding child care (2 weeks after I thought I would return), but once we discovered the nanny was not properly caring for our child, I had to take MORE time off (another 2 months, mix of paid and leave without pay). Mixing annual and LWOP, as a mother, is what I’ve discovered most do to ensure they get SOME money coming in while also being able to extend their leave.

          My office at my department within DOD has no AWS and no telework. Some offices here have AWS but no one on my entire staff is allowed to telework (unless you count all the time you spend on your blackberry once you leave).

          I know it isn’t black and white, but I’m telling you, as an actual fed (who is also married to one who IS allowed to telework but NOT AWS, but is a considered essential), there are different policies in different offices. I was only allowed 8 weeks of sick – I know people who have used 20 weeks of sick. It just depends on the manager and the policies of the office. So if you work in a place like mine, where you have to use annual leave, many of us aren’t throwing away leave at the end of the year.

          And FYI, it took me 7 years of never really using sick or annual leave to be able to cover all of my maternity leave using both leave AND leave-without-pay. I’m glad I researched enough to know that childcare in DC sucks so I had a contingency plan! If you stay home while your husband works, then that part of it isn’t an issue.

        • This clearly varies agency to agency. I work for one agency at another agency (I won’t bore you with the details), and at neither one have I heard of a grade increase that wasn’t a re-compete, and I can probably count the number of step increases on one hand.

          • *at neither one DURING THE LAST FEW YEARS have I heard of… [This wasn’t the case when I started here 11 years ago.]

    • exactly – I’m in the 6hr per period range and have no use or lose because of the lack of paid family leave. I left myself enough days to cover for an emergency. I have one coworker with use or lose – I think if a number of people in one office have enough UoL to be off most of a month, it’s poor leadership. Managers need to encourage leave distributed throughout the year if possible to avoid an empty office in december, when there is still work.

  • I Dont Get It

    We were just told that my employer, which follows the Feds for closures, isn’t gving us this one. Cheap bastards!

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