WASHINGTON, D.C. (USA TODAY)- President Donald Trump is giving the gift of time-off to federal employees, announcing Tuesday he will excuse government workers from duty on Christmas Eve.
Trump signed an executive order declaring that “all executive departments and agencies of the federal government shall be closed” on Monday, continuing a loosely followed tradition when Christmas falls on a Tuesday.
Trump signed the order amid uncertainty this year about whether the government will be open in coming days or subject to a partial shutdown. Lawmakers and the White House are wrangling over a government funding bill that must be approved by Friday to avoid a shutdown.
Christmas is a holiday for the federal government but presidents have approached Christmas Eve inconsistently when it falls mid-week. President Barack Obama allowed employees to go home early on Christmas Eve in 2015 and gave the workers the day off on Dec. 26 the year before, a Friday.
During his presidency, George W. Bush also regularly allowed federal employees to take off Christmas Eve. Christmas fell on a Monday last year, so employees did not receive additional time.
Trump’s order, like others before it, exempt employees responsible for “national security, defense, or other public need.”