Gov. DeSantis gives state employees off Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve

People with gifts wearing facemasks on Christmas.
Florida has battled the COVID-19 pandemic for more than nine months.

State employees in Florida will have Dec. 24 and 31 off for a third year in a row.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the extra time off in a Friday morning press release, making the Governor two-for-two on granting state workers additional time with their family.

“2020 was a challenging year for all Floridians, particularly our state employees who worked around the clock responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” DeSantis said.

Last year, the Governor gave employees the two days off, crediting them with “historic achievements.” That announcement came as  state employee unions were at an impasse on the coming contracts, drawing criticism from one union spokesman who called the gesture “sort of shallow.”

But with the state hitting the 10 month mark of the pandemic response in the coming weeks, state employees are overdue for some much-needed time off.

“Closing state offices on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will provide these employees with much-needed additional time off to spend with their loved ones,” DeSantis said. “The First Lady and I extend our appreciation to state employees for their hard work and wish them and their families a happy holiday season.”

Florida employees are allotted nine paid holidays off throughout the year. Those include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after, as well as Christmas.

Giving state workers extra days off became somewhat of a tradition during former Gov. Rick Scott’s first years in office. But in 2019, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Florida spokesman Kelly Benjamin told Florida Politics the act was simply throwing a bone to state workers when they were passed up for a raise.

In 2018, Scott gifted workers off for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve in part for the response to and recovery from Hurricane Michael — and perhaps as a parting gift before assuming his new office in the U.S. Senate. The Category 5 hurricane struck the Panhandle in October of that year.

Between 2011 and 2015, Scott gave workers an extra weekday off around Christmas. And in 2008, former Gov. Charlie Crist gave workers both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve off with pay.

However, in 2016, the Scott administration forewent the extra holiday, but approved raises for state workers the following year. There was no 10th paid holiday again in 2017.

In past years with extra December time off, state workers who perform essential functions still had to work while state offices closed. State agencies determine which of its operations are crucial services.

Benjamin said state workers are pleased to be recognized with some time off.

“This should be a tradition, allowing state workers time to spend with their families during the holidays.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • DisplacedCTYankee

    December 18, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Granting state workers time off to watch their family members die from Covid-19 thanks to Gov DeMAGA’s inactions.

  • Frankie M.

    December 20, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    What a blessing for the community! Thank you Scrooge.

Comments are closed.


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