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Haridopolos gives Senate staff a week-long Christmas vacation

Maybe this will take the sting of a reduced paycheck and another year without raises.

Employees of the Senate may take an extra four days of paid leave the week after Christmas, per instructions from Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

"The upcoming Session will, again, be challenging as we struggle to find innovative ways to balance the budget and develop redistricting plans. The economic climate has yet to improve to the point of awarding across the board pay increases for all government employees," Haridopolos wrote in a Nov. 4 memo to Senate staffers. "Hopefully, that day will come soon."

In addition to Nov. 23, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Haridopolos approved Dec. 27 through Dec. 30 as "discretionary holidays" for Senate employees. Employees already have Dec. 26 as a paid holiday.

"It is my hope that by adding the remainder of that week, your celebration will be one that your family and friends will remember for years to come," he wrote.

The House will not be closed additional days, said House spokeswoman Katie Betta, though Speaker Dean Cannon has encouraged employees to utilize their comp time and annual leave "as their workload permits," which is at the discretion of staff directors.