President Donald Trump issued an executive order Dec. 1, ordering that all federal agencies and offices not considered necessary for national security, defense or other public need would close Dec. 5, to honor the passage of George H.W. Bush.
President Bush died Nov. 30 at age 94 of vascular parkinsonism, and Dec. 5 was designated a national day of mourning.
According to Office of Personnel Management guidance issued Dec. 2, the closure will be treated as a government holiday, in terms of pay and leave procedures.
“Most employees who are excused from duty as a result of the president’s executive order will receive the basic pay they would have received if no executive order had been issued,” the guidance states. “An employee who was previously scheduled to take annual leave on Dec. 5, 2018, will not be charged annual leave (or any other form of paid leave, compensatory time off or credit hours) for that day.”
Employees required to work during the government closure will be given holiday premium pay, unless excluded from such pay by regulation.
Such closures are the general custom when a former president dies, as sitting presidents have issued executive orders closing federal agencies to honor all seven presidents that died within the last 50 years.
The closure usually coincides with a day when the former president is lying in state at the Capital Rotunda, which is open for the public to pay its respects, or with the funeral service held at the Washington National Cathedral.
The families of some former presidents, such as Richard Nixon and Harry Truman, have chosen not to have a state funeral at the capital, and have instead had the body of the former president lie in repose at that president’s official library.
Bush will lie in state at the Capital Rotunda from 7:30 p.m. Monday to 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, with a funeral service planned for Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral.
Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.