Next week is Thanksgiving, so many of you are probably already making plans for feasts or travel to be with family members and loved ones. Since Thanksgiving always falls on Thursday, it’s common practice for many workers to try to work that into a four day weekend, assuming their bosses are willing and able to accommodate the request. According to this report from Government Executive Magazine, federal employees have something similar in mind and they’ve launched an online petition to get the President to authorize an extra paid holiday on that Friday.
It has become commonplace for federal employees to ask the White House for an extra day off around Christmas. And often, that wish is granted.
Now, some feds are feeling a bit greedy it seems, sending President Obama a new holiday request: closing the federal government on the day after Thanksgiving. A petition on the White House’s “We the People” website asked for a paid day off this Nov. 27.
“Federal employees have suffered years of little to no cost-of-living increases in their pay along with the strain of threatened shutdowns and the loss of pay during those times,” the petition reads. “Morale is at an all time low and a paid day off to spend with their families would go a long way towards making employees feel appreciated.”
You don’t say? Allow me to put my Grinch hat on for a moment here and consider this request on behalf of the rest of the country who don’t live off the taxpayers’ largess. First of all, morale may be at “an all time low” among government employees, but let me assure you that it hasn’t been much better out in the real world. You may have had a couple of years with too low of a cost of living increase (oh boo hoo) but for far too many of the rest of us there haven’t been raises of any sort during the majority of the “Obama recovery.” And you live under the fear of threatened shutdowns? Do you mean the shutdowns which last little or no time at all, after which you immediately get all of your income restored as back pay? Are those the shutdowns you mean? I have some news for you, sunshine. In the private sector there are armies of your fellow citizens who are unceremoniously shown the door and they’re stuck with unemployment checks (if they’re lucky) until they can find a new job.
And let’s not forget that the jobs you are being briefly “shut down” from going to are the ones which, on average, already pay 78% more than your private sector counterparts doing the same work. These are the same jobs, I’m led to understand, from which it’s virtually impossible to fire you even if you get caught spending your days downloading porn to your work computer or having sex with underage girls. Allow me to pause and play a brief tune for you on the world’s smallest violin.
Now, about those paid holidays. You say you need another one, eh? Let’s stop and see what paid days off you’re already getting.
Huh. Imagine that. Allow me to ask the rest of my private sector friends in the audience how they’re doing on this front. How many of you get MLK Day and Washington’s birthday off with pay? How about Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day? No? You say your boss doesn’t give you those off? Welcome to the real world, federal workers.
Plenty of us take the day after Thanksgiving off or a few extra days around Christmas. Do you know how we manage it? Assuming we’re lucky enough to have a full time job with some nominal benefits, we use our vacation time to make up the lost pay for those extra days around the holidays. And for many of us, there isn’t all that much vacation to go around. Newer employees at many companies only get one week of vacation per year when they’re first starting out. How are you government workers doing on that front?
VACATION/SICK DAYS: For your first 3 years of service you earn vacation at 4 hours per pay period (26 pay periods per year) for a total of 13 days. After 3 years of service you earn 6 hours per pay period and adjusted to total 20 days per year. After 15 years service you earn 8 hours per pay period or 26 days a year. For part-time employees, leave earned is prorated. You may accumulate 30 days and carry it over from year to year. However, any time earned over the 30 days you must use or lose. Sick leave is accrued at 4 hours per pay period (13 days per year) and does not change with length of service. Leave Bank and Leave Transfer programs provide the voluntary option of donating annual leave and, in turn, applying to use leave from the bank in medical or family emergencies. The Family and Medial Leave Act makes it easier for you to use sick leave to care for family members up to a 13-day maximum per year.
So now you’d like the taxpayers to pony up the cash for all 2,721,000 of you to take an extra paid day off on the day after Thanksgiving so you won’t have to dip into your more than half a month of vacation (for those who just started)? Yeah… you’re going to get a lot of sympathy on this one. But don’t worry… I’m sure Barack Obama will come through for you. He loves giving away “free” stuff to union members.