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Labor Day


It’s that time of year again. The time when children begin packing their bags for school, parents are making school lunches, vacations are ending, and the unofficial end of summer comes knocking, sometimes sooner than some would like.

Each year, on the first Monday of September, our nation comes together to recognize a Federal holiday dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, also known as Labor Day. This day has established a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the success, strength, and well-being of our country.  This year, Labor Day falls on September 4th.

It’s a day in which we have the chance to glance back on the history of our great nation, and realize that our tenacity, accomplishments, and growth are all traced back to you – the American worker. The idea of taking a day to celebrate labor is traced back to over 100 years ago.

The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882 in New York City. Two years later, in 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the official date for the holiday, and 10 years later, in 1894, it was made an official Federal holiday. We are so fortunate as citizens of the United States of America to have the ability to collaborate together through our work, and create new theories, ideas, and ways of thinking. Our entire foundation is built on the idea that every citizen can work towards accomplishing their own unique dream or goal, and therefore continue to strengthen the bonds of the American workforce.

On Monday, we celebrate all those who work towards a better life, and a better nation. Those who put in hours and hours of work every week to be the best version of themselves that they can be. If you think about it, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the drive of the average, everyday American-worker.

So, while you’re out enjoying the sunshine with your friends and family, or taking part in various Labor Day traditions, I invite you to take a moment to reflect on the contributions workers have made towards the establishment and continuous well-being of our country. In the end, it’s your work that leads us towards a brighter future.

Happy Labor Day!


As we begin this year’s Labor Day celebration, I want to take a minute to thank each and every member of our Federal family for your hard work and for the excellent service you provide the American people. One way for us to honor your efforts is to make sure you have the flexibilities you need to help balance your life at work and at home.

From the moment he took office, President Obama has promoted and supported the kind of flexible benefits that will help us recruit, empower and retain a world class Federal workforce. During the historic White House summit on Working Families on June 23, the President signed a memorandum outlining his vision for such a workplace culture.

OPM recently issued guidance to Federal agencies to make sure that we deliver on the President’s vision.

Workplace flexibilities go beyond the traditional annual leave, sick leave and family and medical leave. Working with their supervisors, Federal employees have the right to request alternative work schedules, job-sharing, telework, part-time work and leave transfer programs.

Our memorandum reminds agencies that they “must not create arbitrary and unnecessary barriers” that would keep employees from asking to take advantage of workplace flexibilities. And I will be asking agencies to report to me about what best practices they are using to create a culture and workplace environment that supports the use of these programs. I also want agencies to report any barriers that may unnecessarily restrict the use of these flexibilities so we can work together to remove obstacles.

The bottom line is, I don’t want Federal employees to worry about retaliation when they seek work schedule flexibilities. And we want to make sure agencies have the procedures and policies in place to create a culture that allows employees to feel comfortable making requests.

We talk a lot here about employee morale and how to best create a workplace where employees feel engaged and appreciated. What better way for us to show our appreciation for the incredible work our 2 million-strong, talented workforce does than to be sensitive to the tug employees often feel between their desire to do their jobs and the need to take care of a family situation or emergency.

What’s more, these flexibilities are not just good for employees. I know that if you believe, when a family emergency comes up, that your manager will bend over backwards to accommodate you, you will go the extra mile when a critical situation arises at work.

We are one Federal family. We need to look out for each other, help each other and trust each other to do the best for the American people we serve.

Enjoy your well-deserved Labor Day holiday!


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