Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Independence Day Weekend: Will Federal Employees Get An Extra Day Off?

On July 4, the United States celebrates 247 years of independence. It is one of the most anticipated holidays of the year for Americans across the country. Families take vacations and head to local beaches. Citizens show their patriotism as they adorn themselves in red, white and blue. Most public offices are closed in observance of this national holiday.

The History of July 4

Photo Credit: Designecologist

On Tuesday, federal employees will have the day off to commemorate the historic signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Continental Congress approved this monumental document. A gathering of British intellectuals, farmers and statesmen representing the original thirteen colonies. However, due to the ongoing war during the initial public reading of the declaration, it wasn’t until 1781 that Massachusetts became the first state to recognize July 4 as a holiday officially.

It took two decades for the White House to host its inaugural Independence Day celebration. In 1870, the holiday was recognized at the federal level. Ensuring that public employees could enjoy a well-deserved day off. By 1938, federal workers took off with pay.

The Holiday Falls on Tuesday

This year July 4 falls on a Tuesday. Some civil servants are awaiting news of whether the White House or their respective agencies will bestow an extended holiday by granting them Monday off. In previous instances when federal holidays disrupted the workweek, employees often resorted to using personal or vacation days to create a long weekend.

There also have been instances, such as in 2019 when Christmas Day coincided with a Wednesday. Then, former president Donald Trump granted an additional “holiday” to give employees Tuesday, Dec. 24. While Christmas Eve is not a federal holiday, past administrations allowed federal employees to enjoy the day off.

Who Decides If Employees Will Get An Extra Day Off?

In certain cases, like Ronald Reagan’s decision in 1984, supervisors had the discretion to close three hours early on Dec. 24. The Code of Federal Regulations stipulates that federal holidays are limited to the 11 established ones. Any additional days designated by federal law, executive order or presidential proclamation. However, individual agencies may have their own internal policies that allow for extra leave as a form of recognition or reward.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, granted his employees an additional day off in appreciation of their dedicated work around Labor Day. As for whether federal employees will have next Monday off in anticipation of Independence Day, it is too early to determine. Until agencies or the president provide further guidance, those not already using leave should anticipate a normal work day.


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