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While the COVID-19 Grinch is doing his best to steal Christmas, along with the rest of 2020, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is giving an early gift to state employees: He gave them a day off on Christmas Eve.

Parson announced Monday that he has signed an executive order to close state offices of the executive branch Dec. 24.

"It has been a challenging year for the state of Missouri, but we are so thankful for our state team members. While we can never thank them enough for their hard work, this is one small way we can show our appreciation," Parson said in a news release.

He added: "This Christmas, may we all take time to rejoice with loved ones and reflect on the blessings we have in our lives. Teresa and I wish everyone peace, health and happiness throughout the coming year. From our family to yours, merry Christmas and happy New Year!"

Missouri governors have often given state employees the day off on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. But this is the first time we can recall a Missouri governor giving them Christmas Eve off.

We championed the work of state employees many times on this page, and we believe state workers deserve the perk, a government version of a Christmas bonus.

State workers have been grateful, in response, and others also have lauded Parson's decision. On the story about this on the News Tribune Facebook page, one person wrote: "Yeah! Enjoy state workers. You deserve it!"

A cynical mind might suspect that the perk may have been given in lieu of pay raises in 2021. We've consistently encouraged the state to raise its pay to be commensurate with other states.

But in the midst of a pandemic and budget that's even tighter than normal, we understand that might not be possible. Many workers this year are just thankful to be gainfully employed.

Whatever the future holds, we hope state workers appreciate the governor's gesture and enjoy this extra time with their families.

News Tribune

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