The Independent Financial Review’s editorial this week, has endorsed the suggestion from Jim Donovan, which I blogged about, to abolish public holidays and give people an extra 10 day annual leave, allowing them to decide for say five of the days when they will take them. The editorial says:
Now, here’s a thought.
Jim Donovan, a blogger, proposes we do away with public holidays altogether.
There are 10 statutory holidays, and these 10 days would be added to worker’s annual leave entitlement – 20 days, in most cases.
At present, when employees want to take annual leave, it must be agreed in advance with their employer.
The new legislation would specify a certain number of days – Donovan suggests five – which the employee can nominate in advance, and which the employer is required to grant.
To prevent gaming behaviour, those days once nominated would have to be taken off, unless the employer agreed otherwise.
One advantage, says Donovan, is the economy, businesses and consumers would gain several trading days a year.
Another is employees would gain more days they could take off when it suited them, rather than when the calendar mandates they must. So families could organise reunions at a time when peak fares and holiday traffic were no hindrance.
Of course, there are issues.
Donovan points out there would have to be exemptions for essential services, but says he’d keep the list short.
In an economy made up of small businesses, some would have problems covering for key staff taking certain days off as by right.
Some might not be able to open at all. But there would be fewer of these days than are lost at present through mandatory closing.
And some will argue, as they do now, the spiritual significance of Easter and Christmas would be diminished if those days were simply trading days like any other.
But the force of this argument is dissipating as the population becomes more multicultural, and secular.
Those who celebrate Christmas as a religious day, or as a secular holiday, could simply specify it as one of their mandatory days off.
What’s more, as blogger David Farrar points out, Donovan’s regime would be far more friendly to adherents of religions other than Christianity. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc, would be able to specify their own religious holidays as mandatory days off.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Council of Trade Unions reacts to the idea. It presumably will embrace with open arms a concept that would deliver greater output and more freedom.
Great to see a business newspaper pick up a proposal from a blog. And it is a good proposal. Hopefully with a change in Government one could get some policy work done on whether one could implement such a change, and how.Tags: IFR, Jim Donovan, public holidays