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Rick Scott’s gift to state workers: Off on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve

Yes Virginia, there is a Rick Scott.

The Governor announced Friday that state offices “will be closed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in recognition of state employees’ hard work throughout the year, including the response and recovery from Hurricane Michael.”

Office closures on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are in addition to regular office closures on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

“I’m proud to give state employees Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve off this year,” Scott said in a statement.

“Following the devastating impact of (Hurricane Michael), I witnessed Floridians coming together to help each other, and I saw thousands of state employees working around the clock to support families in the Panhandle,” he added. “These two additional holidays are well-deserved and a small way to show our appreciation for their efforts.”

Scott said that during his eight years as governor, “we have experienced an incredible economic turnaround in Florida and that turnaround would not be possible without the hard work of state employees.

“I hope that every Florida family has a wonderful holiday spent with friends and loved ones.”

Florida employees normally get nine holidays off throughout the year: New Year’s, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. , Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after, as well as Christmas.

Unmentioned in the announcement was how the extra days off will impact the state’s hourly employees, who generally go unpaid during office closures unlike salaried employees.

Still, the extra days off are a gesture of goodwill toward the rank-and-file, who were often at odds with Scott when he took office at the height of the Great Recession.

With the state coffers bare, Scott made a successful push to cut state employee salaries by 3 percent to offset the state’s contribution to their retirement accounts. After years without a raise, Scott signed a bill last year giving a $1,400 raise to state workers making  $40,000 or less and a $1,000 raise to those making more.

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