Although the period between Christmas and New Year's is traditionally dead in government-dominated Washington, there has been a lot going on that people ought to be aware of. The problem is that anywhere from 20 per cent to 50 per cent of the work force has been out of town or off this week.

Judging by telephone calls to this newspaper, it's obvious that a lot of people missed a lot of what has been happening. Some of it is interesting, some downrright important.

Since life is beginning to get back to normal, here's a brief recap of the two weeks you may have missed. The items, in no particular order.

The Internal Revenue Service has issued new (temporary) guidelines for persons retired on disability, which spell out the requirements they must meet to retain the $100 a week maximum sick-pay exclusion from federal taxes. Details were published in the Federal Register that's available from the Archives or Government Printing Office bookstores.

Inauguration Day (Jan. 20) will be an offical holiday for most government civilian workers in the Washington area. It is not a holiday for federal employees outside the greater Washington area.

Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and New Year's Eve (Dec. 31), both Fridays, were also official holidays for pay and leave purposes.

President-elect Jimmy Carter has told Time magazine that he is considering a hiring freeze in government. He's tried to assure government workers that nobody will lose a job because of his reorganization plans, but says that a freeze is a distinct possibility.

When figuring your 1976 taxes, be prepared for a jolt in that you earned more (and therefore probably will have to pay more) than you expected. Because of a calender quirk, most federal employees (who are paid biweekly) had 27 pay periods in 1976 instead of the usual 26. That's enough to push many people into a higher tax bracket.

The American Federation of Government Employees says it is not organizing the military now. The big AFL-CIO union has appointed a committee to study the feasibility of signing up soldiers, sailors and other military personnel, but that report won't be due until February and it could be months - if then - before the union decides to expand beyond the civil service ranks.

Defense Department has been given the green light to proceed with experimental set-your-own hours programs. This should push other agencies into flexitime operations - more than a dozen here are already doing it. Meanwhile, Congress will consider legislation that would authorize a three-year experiment, in all agcnies, of schedule changes that would put many employees on a 10-hour day, four-day week. President-elect Cater says he's for it.

One of the top names being considered for the chairmanship of the Civil Service Commission is Carter transition aide Jule Sugarman. The 49-year-old government veteran (with State, HEW, OEO and CSC) hasn't sought the job, but he's been transition liason with CSC, and many people in government and the labor movement would like to seee him get the job.

Federal and military retirees will be getting a cost-of-lving raise effective March 1 that wll show up in checks mailed for April delivery. Final amount hasn't been set, but the increase will be at least 4.5 per cent, and more if December's Consumer Price Index is up.

A very sad note. Jerry Kluttz, for 29 years editor of this column, died of a heart attack in California on Dec. 22. Funeral services for him were held Dec. 27 in Arlington.

Part-time Clerical Help: Interstate Commerce Commission has openings for clerk-stenos, typists and dictating-machine transcribers, Grades 4 through 5. Call Ms. Starnes at 275-7415.