May 4 2020 is the unofficial Star Wars Day. What other days should be recognised as holidays but aren’t?
South Africa has twelve public holidays which seems to be more than many other countries. The holidays fall on specified dates which means that they can occur on any day of the week including weekend days. South Africa also has a traditional holiday shut down period of about three weeks over the Christmas period. Many business close between 16 December (a public holiday) and the end of the first week in January.
It is nice to have holidays but they can result in a loss of productivity especially when more than one holiday occur in the same week or when the public holiday occurs mid-week. When this happens, many people take a whole week’s leave and that does create strain when a lot of people are all away at the same time and there is work to be done. I work with a lot of advisors, lawyers and teams from London and the US, so I rarely get to take any extra time off over these periods. I frequently work on the public holidays and sometimes over the weekends too. Easter, particularly, seems to be a busy time in my life and I nearly always need to work at least one, but more often two, of the four-day holiday period. For the past four years, I have been working on international transactions over the Christmas shutdown period too so I have also worked during this traditional holiday time.
I don’t mind working over holiday periods, as I am glad to have work and be busy. There are lots of people who don’t have work especially in our weak economic environment. I thought when Covid-19 came along recently, I might not be busy. I was wrong and I am busier than ever. My firm was closed last week but I worked every day.
Back to the question, should there be more holidays? No, not in South Africa. This is a developing country and our economy is ailing. People here need to work hard to get our businesses up and running again, especially after this unfortunate lock down period. If public holidays are necessary, then they should be on a Monday only, like they are in the UK. At least then the entire week isn’t disrupted because one of the days is a holiday.
I do believe that people need breaks from work and I think that these breaks should be in the form of a continuous break of at least two, but preferably, three weeks. This allows people to have a proper change and unwind from all the accumulated stress of their daily work and lives. I also think that people should not be disturbed by their work places at all during their holiday times. If I work for even one or two hours on a holiday day, all the benefit of the relaxation is gone and I am all stressed and tense again. I haven’t had a holiday where I haven’t had to work for at least two or three days out of a fourteen day holiday period, in over ten years. Based on my own experiences, I don’t think this is good for a person’s general health. You get stale with your job and it starts to wear you down.
This is what I think but I am a chartered accountant with a strong interest in African and other developing economies. I would like to see more job creation and a better life for people in these countries and, I believe, that takes hard work and sacrifice with specified beneficial breaks for workers to recover and recharge.
What about you?
Do you think there should be more holidays? Click on the link below to find out, or even add a comment.
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