Federal Employees Taking the Day Off Costs $22.6 Billion Annually

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It sure does pay to be a federal employee. Literally.

Federal employees working for longer than three years, on average, are given 43 paid days off: 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days. Employees who have worked 15 or more years receive 26 vacation days a year.

Our auditors documented these benefits in our report, Mapping the Swamp – A Study of The Administrative State.


If federal employees all took their paid days off, taxpayers would pay out an estimated $22.6 billion annually, or about $524 million per day.

With 43 days off a year (after just three years of service) and a cost to taxpayers of $22.6 billion, “take the day off” can be an expensive gesture in Washington for the 2.1 million federal agency employees, 1.4 million members of the military, and 500,000 postal employees.

2021 Federal Holidays, according to OPM.gov:

  • Friday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Monday, January 18 – Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Wednesday, January 20 – Inauguration Day
  • Monday, February 15 – Washington’s Birthday
  • Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day
  • Monday, July 5 – Independence Day (observed)
  • Monday, September 6 – Labor Day
  • Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day
  • Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 25 – Thanksgiving Day
  • Friday, December 24 – Christmas Day (observed)

The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

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