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Federal employees are getting an extra day off this year: President Bush issued an executive order Thursday announcing that all executive departments and agencies will be closed on Dec. 24.

The executive order did state, however, that, “The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 24, 2007, for reasons of national security or defense or other public need.”

Servicemembers and employees within U.S. Army Europe already had the Monday off as part of the Christmas four-day weekend, according to the USAREUR Web site.

Additionally, German employees have Dec. 26 off to celebrate St. Stephen’s Day.

Other days off throughout the holiday season include Dec. 31 for USAREUR employees on New Year’s weekend.

Also, German employees in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg do not work Jan. 6 in celebration of the religious holiday Epiphany, commonly called “Three Kings Day,” according to the U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg Works Council office.

Before Bush’s announcement, the Navy and Air Force officials in Europe were operating under a liberal leave policy for Dec. 24.

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