Feds to get half-day off before Christmas

Federal employees will get a half-day off on Thursday, Dec. 24.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Dec. 11 permitting federal employees to take off the last half of the scheduled workday on Christmas Eve.

“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 remain on duty for the full scheduled workday on December 24, 2015, for reasons of national security, defense, or other public need,” the executive order said.

The Office of Personnel Management issued a memo at the same time as Obama’s order.

Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert wrote employees scheduled to work will receive their basic pay. But if you requested time off they will not be charged for that day, unless it’s use-or-lose.

“If an employee has scheduled ‘use or lose’ annual leave for the last half of the scheduled workday on December 24, 2015, and is unable to reschedule that leave for use before the end of the leave year (i.e., January 9, 2016), the leave will be forfeited,” the memo stated. ” When “use or lose” leave is forfeited under these conditions, the law (5 U.S.C. 6304(d)) does not permit restoration of the leave.”

Cobert also recommended that employees of the U.S. Postal Service and contract employees contact their supervisor or contract officer to obtain information on their pay and leave entitlements for Dec. 24.

A “We the People” petition posted on WhiteHouse.gov called for a full federal holiday Dec. 24. It had 6,550 signatures as of Friday afternoon, well short of the 100,000 signatures needed for the White House to respond.

Last year, President Obama announced non-postal federal employees could have Dec. 26, 2014 — the Friday after Christmas — off.