“DeSanta Claus” is stuffing an extra couple of days off in the stocking for every state employee this holiday season.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday state offices will be closed Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 in addition to the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve closures outlined in state law. It’s the third time in three years “DeSanta,” as his re-election campaign nicknamed him this holiday season, has granted state workers extra paid days off during the holidays.
State law doesn’t normally grant Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as paid days off. However, because Christmas and New Year’s land on Saturdays this season, state law shifts the observed holiday to the preceding Friday. The Governor’s gesture gives them the Thursday off as well, creating two four-day weekends.
“Our state employees worked hard throughout the year to ensure that Floridians were free to earn a living, to operate businesses and to choose educational options tailored for their children,” DeSantis said. “Closing state offices on December 23rd and December 30th will provide these employees with well-deserved time to spend the holiday season with their loved ones. The First Lady and I are thankful for the dedication of our state employees as we continue to put freedom first in Florida.”
Florida employees are allotted nine paid holidays throughout the year in state statute. Those are 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. However, in 2016, the Scott administration forewent the extra holiday, but approved raises for state workers the following year. There was also no 10th paid holiday in 2017.
DeSantis has maintained the tradition since he took office in 2019, granting state employees two additional days off each December. That year, he credit employees with “historic achievements.” Last year, he gave employees days off for their months of dedication battling COVID-19.
In 2018, Scott gifted workers days off on 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. Between 2011 and 2015, Scott gave workers an extra weekday off around Christmas. In 2008, former Gov. Charlie Crist gave workers both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve off with pay.
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 constitute essential services.