Sunday, 17 April 2011

"They Have More Public Holidays than We Do". Is this a myth?

I was checking through that useless Information at the front of my old-fashioned Diary to see if a short-break holiday I have planned is likely to be inconvenienced by other people's public holidays. They have more than we do ...

Or do they? In European countries, if January First falls on a Sunday then there is no public holiday declared, since Sunday is not regarded as a working day, whereas here the public sector unions require that a holiday be declared on the Monday. The same system applies for other holidays including May Day (which falls on a Sunday in 2011 and leads to no European public holidays).

But in Europe, if a public holiday falls on a Saturday, it is declared as such since it is assumed that many people (even if not public servants) work on Saturdays.

The result? In 2011, the UK was supposed to have eight public holidays - increased to nine by fiat of Mr Cameron. In contrast, Germany has seven (including New Years' Day which fell on Saturday 1st January 2011), the Netherlands seven (and the same arrangement at New Year), Belgium eight (but again with a Saturday New Year), France eight (including a Saturday New New Year).

Italy matches us with nine. To find one which beats us, on ten, you have to look at that model of economic efficiency and dynamic public service, Greece.

But, of course, if you have been reading my other Posts on this subject, you will know that really I want to abolish public holidays altogether.

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