Giving extra? Thanks!
November 24, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Last year, the Secretary of the Army and many (most?) other federal bigwigs granted employees four hours of what amounted to admin leave on the day before Thanksgiving. My agency is remote from DC and thus word did not trickle down to us until mid-afternoon. Will there be a similar dismissal this year? Where would we look for it?

I'm also curious as to whether other departments or agencies are getting any time off today. I know the politics of giving anything to feds might not be favorable…

Ps - The announcement from last year did not appear on the Secretary's site.
posted by the christopher hundreds to Law & Government (19 answers total)
If you tried to reach anyone in the Federal Government in DC today you would know that everyone else is gone except for you, the TSA and the Postal Service. Seriously, I think this is an inside the beltway thing that slowly extends to the rest of the country.
posted by Xurando at 7:25 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would just call the Secretary of the Army's office and ask whoever answers the phone.
posted by something something at 7:25 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

In the federal offices where I've worked (both as a trust employee and a contractor) word does not come down until late morning/early afternoon. It is my understanding that early release is at the discretion of the unit director. Also for the last few years, rather than a general early release (i.e. office closes and everyone goes home at 2:00 p.m.), it has been that people can leave 2 hours earlier than their standard time. So if you normally stay until 6:00, you don't get to leave until 4:00 p.m. I'm working in a DC federal office right now and I haven't heard anything yet.
posted by kaybdc at 7:32 AM on November 24, 2010

This is a chain of command thing: you should hear it from the person in charge at your location. My government work experience is not vast, but unless you're in charge of your facility, I wouldn't be calling the Secretary of the Army's office on this.
posted by SMPA at 7:34 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

On preview: Xurando, there are a few of us working (at least in the cultural sector - some will even be working on Thanksgiving day as most of the museums on the Mall are open) and rest assured tax payers, those that aren't working today are using vacation time.
posted by kaybdc at 7:34 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

From the OPM Director's Thanksgiving Day Memo

As a mark of gratitude for the service provided by Federal employees, executive branch department and agency heads can use their existing authority to provide an early dismissal (excused absence, with out charge to leave or loss of pay) on the day before Thanksgiving.

Early dismissal is appropriate only for employees who work on Wednesday, November 25, 2009, and only to the extent that employees can be spared and such time off does not interfere with agency operations. Friday, November 27, 2009, is a normal workday.

For additional information, agency Chief Human Capital Officers and/or Human Resources Directors should contact their assigned OPM Human Capital Officer. Employees should contact their agency human resources offices for assistance. For additional information on Federal pay and leave programs and policies, including work scheduling policies, please visit

Call your HR office.

I wish OPM was more forthright about this - it's a pain in the ass if you're the private sector and have any filings with agencies that aren't online yet (Commerce, I'm looking at you).
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:37 AM on November 24, 2010

Not sure about the military specifically, but from what I've seen any early dismissal has to come from the top down. In most agencies, supervisors can let you go 59 minutes (yes, 59 minutes, not one hour) early.

It's kind of an inside baseball thing, sent via email or phone. I wouldn't expect anything public (like on the website). The waiting game is part of the fun! Speculation around here began last week...

(On preview...Longdays, I heard Commerce gets out 2 hours early.)
posted by JoanArkham at 7:39 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm pretty sure they're closing at 3:00 like they've done the past five years. It would be nice to know for sure though. Oh well. Happy Thanksgiving to Fed and non-Fed alike!
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:41 AM on November 24, 2010

I've heard GSA/DOI is going 3 hours early. I'm in a related mini-agency and we've been given the three hour early alert already.
posted by anti social order at 7:45 AM on November 24, 2010

Xurando: "If you tried to reach anyone in the Federal Government in DC today you would know that everyone else is gone except for you"

I'm here. So are most of my co-workers. There will be fewer people in Friday, but I'll be here, and so will a lot of my co-workers.

The Federal Government is a huge thing, with many different policies (we're judicial branch, so we march to the beat of our own gavel). What happens in one branch or agency may or may not happen in another.

FWIW, we didn't get early release last year, we've been notified there will be no early release or additional days off this year. YMPWV.
posted by QIbHom at 8:01 AM on November 24, 2010

The memo comes from your service secretary. Implementation is via the chain of command.
posted by squorch at 8:22 AM on November 24, 2010

Here's the official status:

With that in mind, individual commands have the authority to grant liberty starting at noon. It's not a blanket authorization for the entire govt.
posted by matty at 8:25 AM on November 24, 2010

Thanks for the replies so far. We have been granted 59 minutes locally (hooray). Of course I'm thankful for that (and, you know, my job) but I'm also concerned about the travel we're due to undertake and the weather threatening to make it tough to do this evening. I'm rather low on the totem pole and guess I will just wait to hear from my betters.

I received a memail informing that the SSA gets all day Friday as admin leave. Our location is shut down Friday but we're required to take leave or LWOP for those hours.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:46 AM on November 24, 2010

I am here (and on lunchbreak!). We got 59 minutes from our agency head.
posted by pointystick at 8:49 AM on November 24, 2010

59 minutes, Defense Logistics Agency, in Philly. Happy Thanksgiving fellow gov't types.
posted by fixedgear at 9:27 AM on November 24, 2010

We were told yesterday that we would be receiving 2 hours of admin leave. Nothing for Friday though.
posted by govtdrone at 9:40 AM on November 24, 2010

Friday is liberal leave at my agency. It pretty much means no one will be refused a day off. Years ago the base was closed and folks had to use leave or go LWOP, but the union stopped that.
posted by fixedgear at 10:27 AM on November 24, 2010

We got a memo last week. Seems to be an office-by-office thing.
posted by schmod at 11:12 AM on November 24, 2010

i work for the dOd. my site used to do 59 minutes (gov't only, no contractors, which is me). then the head honcho started getting pissy about it. she'd call an all-hands meeting around 2 pm & make everyone sign in. those who attended the meeting and whose names were on the sign-in sheet got the 59 minutes. another employee who did NOT attend the meeting (and thus, did not get the 59 minutes) complained. went above the site honcho's head to the agency's HQ. HQ said they do not authorize any early leave, slapped the site honcho's wee wee, and completely shut down the 59 minute rule.

: )

on the other hand, when i worked for minerals management, they gave 3 hours to both gov't and contractor personnel.

at either agency, we assumed it was going to happen, but nothing was official until it came from the top.
posted by msconduct at 2:32 PM on November 25, 2010

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