Trump Order Gives Federal Employees a Day Off for Christmas Eve

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
December 18, 2019Updated: December 18, 2019

President Donald Trump issued an executive order this week giving federal employees a day off on Christmas Eve, or Dec. 24.

“All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, the day before Christmas Day,” Trump wrote.

“The heads of executive 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 24, 2019, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need.”

Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday so without the order, federal employees would have been expected to report for work.

American presidents sometimes give federal employees half a day or a day off for Christmas Eve but the last time Christmas fell on a Wednesday, President Barack Obama did not.

The Obama administration decided to make federal employees report for a full day of work in 2013.

The decision is “consistent with historical precedent when Christmas has fallen on a Wednesday,” an official at the Office of Personnel Management told Government Executive at the time. “The government has remained open on Christmas Eve for six of the last nine times since 1946 that Christmas Day has fallen on a Wednesday.”

Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump take part in the annual lighting of the National Christmas tree on The Ellipse in Washington on Dec. 5, 2019. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

In one exception, President George W. Bush gave federal employees a half fay off on Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2002.

In 2012, Obama gave federal employees a day off or Christmas Eve and gave federal employees a half-day off on Christmas Eve in 2009.

Trump’s order included a directive to the director of the Office of Personnel Management to “take such actions as may be necessary to implement this order.”

Trump’s order came on the same day that the Senate passed a national defense bill that includes 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees. It also includes a 3.1 percent pay raise.

Trump has praised the bill and said he would sign it.

Trump was spending Wednesday working, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said. He posted a number of tweets, commenting on the impeachment push against him.

The House was holding a debate on two articles of impeachment against Trump before it breaks for the Christmas holiday. House Democrats accused Trump of abusing his office and obstructing Congress.

Though the House requires only a simple majority to pass the articles, removing Trump from office would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which is held by the GOP. A Senate impeachment trial would start in January, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.