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Presidents rarely offer feds day off for New Year's Eve

Sunday - 12/23/2012, 7:23am  ET

Max Smith, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Many federal workers want to know: now that President Obama has issued an executive order giving most executive branch employees off Monday for Christmas Eve, will he also grant them the day off on New Year's Eve?

There's no word from the White House yet, but it's not very often that federal workers get an extra day off before or after New Year's Day. The exception is when Jan. 1 falls on a weekend, and the federal holiday is observed on Friday or Monday.

A WTOP review of executive orders finds a president has only issued one to give federal employees a full day off on New Year's Eve on a Monday since World War II. President Richard Nixon signed order 11750 on Dec. 13, 1973 providing for the closing of government departments and agencies on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve that month.

In 1984, 1990 and 2001 federal employees had to work Monday, Dec. 31, or take leave.

President Eisenhower excused federal employees from duty for a half day on Thursday, Dec. 31, 1953, and Tuesday, Dec. 31, 1957 with executive orders signed Dec. 14, 1953 and Dec. 10, 1957.

The last time federal workers had the day off before or after the federal observance of New Year's Day was Jan. 2, 2007. That was the day of President Gerald Ford's funeral service at the National Cathedral.

Presidents have issued executive orders giving federal employees an extra full or half day before or after Christmas more regularly.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)