This whole discussion kicked off when the nation’s federal workers petitioned the President to get the day after Thanksgiving off with pay. That effort fell through, but never ones to be easily deterred, they followed it up with a request for Christmas Eve off as an extra paid holiday. The online poll never really needed to be run on this one because the President has relented to the cries of his unions, at least in part, announcing a half day off with pay on Thursday the 24th. (Government Executive)
President Obama on Friday granted federal employees a half-day off on Christmas Eve.
“All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty for the last half of the scheduled workday on Thursday, December 24, 2015, the day before Christmas Day,…” Obama said in an executive order.
The decision is in keeping with recent precedent on time off around the holiday.
Isn’t that nice. One of the most common examples cited to me in support of this idea on social media (mostly from government employees as far as I can tell) is that many private sector employers allow their workers to go home early on Christmas Eve or at least provide very flexible leave and vacation policies. Both true! But even if we leave aside for a moment the extremely generous number of holidays, vacation days and sick days that federal workers already get, allow me to remind the government employee unions of something. When a private company decides to let everyone go home at lunch time or a couple hours early on Christmas Eve, the loss in productivity and revenue is born by the company. If a manager does that and the owners and/or shareholders feel that it was excessive, that manager will pay the price. If they feel it’s just a nice thing to do and will boost employee morale and productivity, that’s an investment they chose to make and a price they agreed to pay. Similarly, when there are “flexible leave policies” in place around the holidays, the workers are almost always using their own vacation time.
When Barack Obama does it for the federal workers, he’s not playing at the casino with his own money. That decision will be paid for by all of the taxpayers, the vast majority of whom work in the private industry and receive no such largess, though they’re being made to pay for this plan with nobody asking their leave for covering the bill. These are entirely different situations.
So, enjoy your half day off, federal workers, and Merry Christmas to all of you. Don’t mind us. We’ll just pay for it just as we do with everything else, which shouldn’t be any problem at all considering how well things are going for the private sector in the Obama economy.
Ho, ho, ho.