Federal employees only officially have Christmas Day off of work as a rule, but peculiarities of the calendar for certain years mean that feds may be able to swing an extra day off of work for the holidays.

In 2018 Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday, leaving potential for Monday’s Christmas Eve to be declared an additional day off for federal employees, rather than the government having to incur the operating expenses of a single day between the weekend and Christmas.

In the last 50 years, there have been seven Christmas Days that fall on a Tuesday, and five of those years saw federal employees granted a full day off the Monday before:

  • 2012 — President Barack Obama issued an executive order Dec. 21 of that year closing all executive agencies on Christmas Eve with the exception of those that dealt with national security, defense or other public need.
  • 2007 — President George W. Bush issued an executive order Dec. 11 of that year closing all executive agencies on Christmas Eve with the exception of those that dealt with national security, defense or other public need.
  • 2001 — President George W. Bush issued an executive order Dec. 10 of that year closing all executive agencies on Christmas Eve with the exception of those that dealt with national security, defense or other public need.
  • 1990 — President George H.W. Bush issued an executive order Dec. 17 of that year that called for a half-day for federal employees at executive agencies on Christmas Eve.
  • 1984 — President Ronald Regan did not grant a holiday for Christmas Eve that year but gave federal supervisors the flexibility to release employees three hours early that day, if they chose.
  • 1979 — President Jimmy Carter issued an executive order Dec. 11 of that year closing all executive agencies on Christmas Eve with the exception of those that dealt with national security, defense or other public need.
  • 1973 —  President Richard Nixon issued an executive order Dec. 11 of that year closing all executive agencies on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve with the exception of those that dealt with national security, defense or other public need.

Based on past track records, there is a strong chance that federal employees will hear about a Christmas Eve day off sometime between Dec. 10 and Dec. 21, but it is by no means a guarantee.

President Donald Trump and federal employee groups have clashed over the past year over employee flexibilities and pay, which may sour relations concerning an additional holiday.

If feds do receive a day off, they will likely have to hear of it by executive order no later than Dec. 21, to give agencies the time to prepare for closure on the following Monday. Official operating statuses for federal agencies are listed on the Office of Personnel Management website.