Petition for four-day Christmas weekend fails to get 100,000 signatures

With about 92,500 signatures, a petition to give federal employees a four-day weekend around Christmas came up just short of getting a response from the White House.

The petition on the “We the People” section of WhiteHouse.gov called for President Barack Obama to make Dec. 26 a federal holiday this year. Christmas Day falls on a Thursday, so making the following day a holiday would give feds a long weekend.

For all petitions on “We the People,” the President promises to take action if the petition receives at least 100,000 signatures within 30 days. The petition for Dec. 26 off needed 100,000 signatures by Wednesday.

A federal employee from Oklahoma launched the petition in October. The employee said an extra day off would boost feds’ morale, especially given pay freezes and furloughs in recent years.

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The holiday could also have a positive effect on local businesses. Employees normally at work might instead spend the day shopping, eating at restaurants or traveling.

Although the petition failed to garner sufficient signatures, federal employees still have a shot at a four-day weekend. In 2012, when Christmas fell on a Tuesday, Obama declared Monday a holiday. President George W. Bush also gave feds Friday off when Christmas fell on a Thursday.

Executive orders declaring the holiday are usually issued in early December.

A number of commenters on Federal News Radio expressed their support for a four-day weekend.

“It would be a nice gesture, considering federal pay has been effectively frozen for the past four years,” Raydar wrote.

Another commenter agreed.

“At some point we have to stop thinking about what this theoretically costs and think about family values,” Dakota Rose Paris wrote. “Giving an extra day off to celebrate Christmas is a very small, yet nice gesture towards giving workers a real break.”

But some commenters were concerned about potential backlash from the public.

“If we do get something, you can bet Congress will be hammering us for it as soon as it is announced,” marxwj wrote.

Others said many employees likely have already requested leave for Dec. 26, so declaring a holiday is unnecessary.

“Those Feds whining about not having the day off after Christmas give other Feds a bad name. Just use your annual leave and stop complaining,” chicagoman wrote.

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