A U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol dome in Washington. (Reuters/Jim Bourg)

Most federal employees will receive an excused day off from work when the government closes on Wednesday for the national day of mourning for former president George H.W. Bush, the central federal personnel agency said Sunday.

“As the Nation mourns the loss of President George H. W. Bush, President Trump has taken official action to allow Federal employees to join their fellow citizens in remembering our forty-first President of the United States,” said guidance from the Office of Personnel Management. “The President has issued an Executive order to close Federal offices and excuse all Federal employees from duty for the scheduled workday on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, except those who, in the judgment of the head of the agency, cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public business.

"For pay and leave purposes, the day is to be treated as a holiday. “Most employees who are excused from duty as a result of the President’s Executive order will receive the basic pay they would have received if no Executive order had been issued. An employee who was previously scheduled to take annual leave on December 5, 2018, will not be charged annual leave (or any other form of paid leave, compensatory time off, or credit hours) for that day,” it said.

Those not regularly scheduled to work Wednesday generally will receive an “in-lieu of” day off, which will vary according to their work schedule.

The guidance does not specify which employees are to be kept on the job, leaving that up to individual agencies, which typically have such plans in place for closings because of snowstorms or other emergencies. Those who work generally receive holiday premium pay, equal to their regular salary, for those hours in addition to their regular pay.