Reduce the Number of Holidays for City Employees to 10

Savings: $4.9 million

Currently, most City employees receive 12 annual holidays and a personal day.  Additionally, the firefighters receive Flag Day as a holiday and police officers receive a Community/Police Partnership Day.  For public safety employees who are scheduled to work on City holidays, the City provides additional compensation.  Specifically, firefighters who work 24-hour shifts which happen to fall on a City holiday, receive double time, while those working 8-hour days receive time and a half pay.[1]  In addition, police officers who work 8-hour tours on holidays receive, in addition to their regular pay, 8 hours of compensatory time, and 4 hours of compensatory time or additional pay at the officer’s choosing.[2]  The 2011 Corporate fund budget for holiday premium pay was over $21 million.

Under this option, the City would reduce the number of paid holidays to 10 – the same number that federal government employees receive.[3]  Assuming that holiday premium pay would be reduced in proportion to the reduction in paid holidays, the City would save $4.9 million annually.  The table below details the savings by department.  This does not take into account the potential elimination of positions due to a reduction in the number of observed holidays.


2011 Appropriation for Holiday Premium Pay

Savings from Reduction to 10 Holidays







General Services






Note: This is only the Corporate funded appropriation and excludes the appropriation from the Midway and O’hare funds.

To implement this option would require a change in the City’s Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Proponents might argue that reducing the number of paid holidays is appropriate given the City’s financial situation.  The City’s 12 holidays for non-sworn personnel and 13 for sworn personnel are more than the 10 recognized federal holidays.


Opponents might argue that this is an effective reduction in salary for all City employees that is unfair to the current workforce.   Additionally, reducing City employee compensation could also reduce the quality of the City workforce.

Budget Details

Depts: General Services, 38; Police Department, 57;

Fire Department, 59

Bureau: NA
Fund: Corporate Fund, 0100 Approp Code: Sworn/Civilian Holiday Premium Pay, 0021
The appropriations are located on pages 95, 99, 145, and 185 of the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.


[1] City of Chicago. “Labor Contract between Chicago Fire Fighters Union, Local #2, International Association of Fire Fighters A.F.L.-C.I.O. – C.L.C. and the City of Chicago, Illinois. July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012.”  pgs. 21 and 22.

[2] City of Chicago. “Agreement between the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7. July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2012.” Section 20.13. pgs. 20 and 21.

[3] U.S Office of Personnel Management. “Operating Status & Schedules”.