Obama’s gift to fed­eral work­ers: four-day week­end for hol­i­day

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Byjim Puz­zanghera Los An­ge­les Times

WASHINGTON — ’Twas the day be­fore Christ­mas and all across the fed­eral government, work­ers were en­joy­ing an ex­tra day off af­ter Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der clos­ing of­fices Mon­day and ex­cus­ing all but postal ser­vice em­ploy­ees from duty.

The es­ti­mated cost for shut­ting down the government for a day is $100 mil­lion.

Obama signed the or­der on Fri­day clos­ing all fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive de­part­ments and agen­cies on Christ­mas Eve and mak­ing the day a hol­i­day for their work­ers.

The de­ci­sion to grant fed­eral em­ploy­ees a four-day week­end came af­ter 28,257 peo­ple signed an on­line pe­ti­tion on the White House “We the Peo­ple” web­site re­quest­ing it.

“Fed­eral em­ploy­ees have had a pay freeze for the past sev­eral years and the pay and ben­e­fits for the fed­eral work­force have been un­der se­ri­ous at­tack dur­ing the na­tional elec­tions held this year,” the pe­ti­tion said. “Giv­ing fed­eral em­ploy­ees an ex­tra hol­i­day on De­cem­ber 24th, 2012 would be a good ges­ture to im­prove mo­rale of the fed­eral work­force,” the pe­ti­tion said.

In 2010, Obama an­nounced a blan­ket twoyear pay freeze for all civil­ian fed­eral work­ers, cit­ing the government’s bud­get deficit.

It was set to ex­pire Dec. 31.

But on Fri­day the pres­i­dent for­mally ex­tended it through March 27.

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