Christmas lights and over 5,000 ornaments dangle from a 74 year-old, 73 foot Engelmann spruce Capitol Christmas Tree, displayed on the West Front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. on December 04, 2012. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

President Obama on Friday signed an executive order giving federal employees the day off on Christmas Eve, which falls on Monday.

Exceptions apply for employees asked by their departments and agencies to work for reasons of national security, defense or other public needs.

Most employees who are excused from duty Dec. 24 will receive the basic pay they would have received if no executive order had been issued. Workers who previously scheduled leave on Christmas Eve will not be charged that leave.

Federal workers had petitioned the president to give them the day off through the White House’s official online petition platform. More than 28,000 people had signed the petition as of Friday.

The Obama administration has promised to respond to all requests that receive at least 25,000 signatures.

Obama gave federal workers a half-day off work in 2009, when Christmas Eve fell on a Thursday.

The George W. Bush administration allowed a full day off for Christmas Eve in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2008, when the extra day off provided a four-day weekend. Bush also gave workers a half-day off in 2002, when the date fell on a Wednesday.