The holidays of May

May is a great month. There were so many holidays! 🙂

As Belgium is a catholic country, all the holy days are respected. Adding to that, I work in a public institution, meaning that bridges are common. Counting with a couple of days off, I was not working 7 days this month. Sadly, the party is now over until August. Two hard months of (not hard) work expect me.

In Belgium, most workers will have 21 days of vacation + 10 official holidays. If one of these holidays fall on a weekend day, it is normal to have the day compensated some other time. When I speak to my colleagues in Brazil, they find it weird that I can take my vacation days in scattered dates as it is more common in my home country to have all the leave days at once.

I was reading some time ago that some brilliant social think tank proposed that the official holiday days in Belgium to be changed. Their ridiculous argument is that the country should not have days off based on Catholic religious holy days. Today, besides the offical civil days, workers will have days off in the Easter monday, Ascencion (15th August), Pentecost monday and All saint days (1st november).

The new holiday callendar would keep the civil holiday dates: 1st of January, 1st of May, 21st of July (Belgium day), 11th of November (Armistice) and 25th of December. The catholic dates would be changed.

In their proposal, three new dates would be established: 8th of March (Women´s day), 21st march (International day against racism) and 21st of May (International day in the name of culture diversity). Furthermore, two last two holiday days would be defined as floating dates depending in the religious, philosophical and cultural beliefs of the person.

Of course the idea makes absolutely no sense and it has no place in the real world.  Different dates from other places in the world will have strong economic impacts. For a start, companies will have difficulties organizing their staff force and, tourism will suffer with crazy holiday dates.

The problem is that these think tanks live in a dream world financed by public institutions. They don´t have to provide concrete results. Their members are usually people whom never, and never will, be part of a real working environment. It is very easy to have ideas without reflecting on its impacts.

By the way, when they propose to have a Woman´s day, isn´t that wrong if there isn´t a Man´s day? Or maybe I would have to use one of my floating dates …

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