Washington, Dec.16 (ANI): The outgoing Bush administration has one final gift for federal employees - a paid holiday on December 26, which will cost the national treasury 450 million dollars in holiday pay and salary for lost productivity.
The National Taxpayers Union, a watchdog on working practices in government and allied fields, was quoted by Fox News as saying that President Bush issued an executive order on Friday, declaring the day after Christmas a holiday and excusing all, but essential executive branch employees from work, with pay.
The White House says it's the eighth time in a row that the day after Christmas has been granted as a holiday when it's fallen on a Friday. Bush issued a similar declaration in 2003.
In 2004, when the organization analyzed the cost for the holiday in remembrance of former President Ronald Reagan, the Office of Personnel Management said the overtime costs were 30.7 million dollars and salaries averaged just less than 400 million dollars per day, said Taxpayers Union spokesman Pete Sepp.
"Considering that federal pay, and payrolls, have grown since 2004, I imagine the number could be above 450 million dollars," Sepp added.
"The level of controversy depends upon public perceptions of fairness. If a majority of private businesses are letting their workers off for the 26th, there's not likely to be much complaining. On the other hand, if most folks in the private sector are being forced to schlep back into work, or they have to burn one of their own vacation days, they may feel more than a little resentful toward their government counterparts," he said.
OPM was not able to provide newer calculations, but the White House said the vacation is deserved.
Federal employees get 10 standard paid holidays a year in addition to vacation, personal and sick leave. Next year, federal workers will get an additional holiday for Inauguration Day.
The order does not apply to the U.S. Postal Service or to Congress, which makes its own decisions about holidays.
The Executive Branch employs about 1.8 million non-Postal Service workers. (ANI)