Monday, April 30, 2007

Mali Declares Surprise April 30 Public Holiday

Sources: Sociolingo, Mali Radio, and Mali public holidays. Reports from Mali indicate that a national public holiday was announced on the radio, late Sunday night, for Monday, April 30, 2007.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

India's Goa State Declares May 5 Public Holiday

Sources: Goa Herald and India public holidays. The government of the Indian State of Goa has declared Saturday, May 5, 2007, as a public holiday which shall be a paid holiday to the industrial workers as well as daily wage workers of both public and private sectors in the State of Goa.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Russia Declares Public Holiday On April 30

Sources: TASS and Russia public holidays. The Russian government moved the working day of April 30, to April 28. As a result, Monday, April 30 will be a day off in Russia, while Saturday, April 28, will be a regular working day.

Philippines Regional Public Holiday Declared For April 30

Sources: Balita and Philippines public holidays. By authority of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita signed Proclamation No. 1282 declaring Monday, April 30, 2007, as a special non-working holiday in Dagupan, in order to give the people of Dagupan a chance to celebrate their Bangus Festival.

Canada's Manitoba Province New Public Holiday On Third Monday In February

Sources: Press Communique of the Province of Manitoba and Canada public holidays. As we announced in our our post of April 8, Nancy Allan, the Minister for Labor and Immigration of the Canadian province of Manitoba, has introduced a bill in Parliament to create a new provincial public holiday in February.
  • The date of this new public holiday seems now fixed as the third Monday in February, which would bring it in line with the similar provincial public holidays of the neighboring provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  • According to the press communique, opening hours during this new public holiday would be based on those of regular Sundays.
  • The name of this new public holiday has not been set yet, so for the moment we will call it Family Day, as it is called in neighboring provinces (and since the law proposal stresses that spending more time with one's family is one of the reasons for this new public holiday).
One will also recall our news story of February 17, in which we reported on a British Columbia private member's bill to declare Flag Day, February 15, a federal holiday.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Weekly Review - April 27, 2007

This is the first of a series of weekly posts that will summarize the highlights of the past week, and point out important announcements that can be expected in the upcoming weeks.

In terms of the sheer number of rumours, counter-rumours, and announcements, the public holidays news of the past week were clearly dominated, in a two-way tie, by Brazil and the Philippines.

  • The Philippines achieved top ranking this week through a clever mix of its usual chaotic tradition of declaring public holidays at the last minute (May 14 mid-term elections holiday) and of having government officials feed contradictory rumours for as long as possible (April 30 bridge holiday), all the while keeping everyone as confused as possible, by having official announcements and laws painstakingly differentiate between "regular holidays", "special days", "non-working days" and "nationwide special days", without ever defining these terms. The masterstroke was that, in a Machiavellian prelude to the events of this week, the Philippines had announced in January 2007 that, henceforth, it would announce all one-off holidays once and for all at the beginning of the year, and make no further changes. Of course, no one believed it, making the final decision on the status of April 30 even more stunning to all concerned.

  • While the Philippines used sheer technique, with a few strategically released choice news morsels, Brazil used a strategy based on overwhelming numerical superiority, with multiple, contradictory announcements, everyday, and often on the same day, to occupy the center stage of public holidays news. The main story, all week, was the status to be given to May 11, 2007, the day when Pope Benedict XVI will come to Brazil to canonize Frei Galvão, the first Brazilian to ever achieve sainthood. Brazil began, quite cleverly, by making an unambiguous announcement on March 28 that May 11, 2007, would be a national public holiday, full stop. But then, a series of contradictory announcements, began to chip at the once clear-cut decision (see our recent summary). This saturation of the news was truly a team effort, with a cast composed of right-wing senators, leftist assemblymen, and even a bishop going against the position expected of him. Meanwhile, as a background drumbeat to carry the main story forward, we had the issue of what to do about Monday April 30. There, Brazil was immensely helped by its highly federal structure, which meant that it could occupy the forefront of the news, everyday, with a different state announcing a ponto facultativo for April 30. To break up the rhythm, many municipalities also took the time to announce a ponto facultativo for April 30, even in some cases when the state where they were located had already done the same.
Elsewhere in the world, the status of Monday, April 30, 2007, was also a topic of great interest, but the week passed without any last minute surprises.

  • In Latin America, most countries that observe Labour Day on May 1st, chose to keep that date as the date of observance. However, due to the uncertainty in the general population, many countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, ...) felt it necessary to officially re-iterate that Labour Day was to be held on May 1st. Some countries, will be celebrating Labour Day on April 30, such as the Dominican Republic, but this change had been announced in December of 2006, and in the case of Peru, where an additional public holiday was declared for April 30, the announcement dated from September 2006, hardly a surprise.

  • An interesting trend, particularly in Eastern Europe, is to declare Monday or Friday public holidays, whenever the Tuesday or Thursday is a public holiday, but to require workers to work a Saturday as compensation. As a result of that mechanism, April 30, 2007, will be a public holiday in Bulgaria, El Salvador, Hungary, Latvia and the Ukraine.

  • Only Romania declared April 30 as an additional public holiday while keeping May 1st as a holiday, and without asking its workers to work another day as compensation.
In other news, to compensate for the fact that both Ascension Day and May Day fall on the same day in 2008, Belgium decided to declare May 2, 2008, as a public holiday (after having first strongly hinted that it would declare Sunday, August 10, 2008, a public holiday, a real crowd-pleaser, as you can imagine).

Outlook For The Next Few Weeks

Sri Lanka is playing against Australia, in the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup on Saturday, April 28. If Australia wins, it is unlikely that it will declare a public holiday to mark the occasion. However, if Sri Lanka wins, we may very well see a public holiday being announced (it happened in 1996, the last time Sri Lanka won the ICC Cricket World Cup). As there are already 2 public holidays in Sri Lanka, next week, one could even imagine the government declaring a 3-day public holiday and hence giving the remainder of the week off.

France is holding the second round of its presidential elections, next weekend, on Sunday, May 6, 2007. For the moment the race is somewhat close, although the center-right candidate, Mr. Sarkozy, has a current lead over Mrs. Royal, the socialist candidate, supported as well by all the parties of the extreme left, and who started this week assiduously courting the center-left candidate who was eliminated in the first round elections last Sunday. One of the promises of France's socialists, for this election, was to re-instate Whit Monday as a public holiday. In principle, this would only affect 2008's Whit Monday, as this year it occurs on May 28, which is before the legislative elections of June 10 and 17 (a vote of parliament would be required to change the status of Whit Monday, and currently the parliamentary majority is center-right). One can, however, assume that if Mrs. Royal wins the presidential elections, one will see enough chaos on the streets on Whit Monday 2007, to make it a non-working day for all intents and purposes.

The United Kingdom should soon announce the date for the proposed one off public holiday to commemorate the 60th wedding anniversary of Queen Elisabeth II with Prince Philip. Currently, the date announced for this public holiday is Tuesday August 28, 2007, the day after the Summer Bank Holiday. The problem is that the Summer Bank Holiday is not a public holiday in Scotland, which would leave Scots with a standalone Tuesday public holiday.

Liberia: On Friday, April 27, 2007, the United Nations lifted the 2001 ban against Liberian exports of diamonds (BBC News). This is a strong vote of confidence in Liberia's President, Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf, who took office in January 2006, and was the first woman to be elected president of an African country. This is also a potential saving measure for Liberia's economy which suffers from 85% unemployment. It is conceivable that a one-time public holiday will be declared in the coming days or weeks to mark the occasion.

Brazil Reaches A Compromise on May 11 Canonization Of Frei Galvão

Sources: Repórter Diário and Brazil public holidays. After almost a month of proposals and counter-proposals, yesterday, the government and opposition reached an agreement declaring May 11, 2007, "Dia Nacional de Frei Galvão", and pointing out that it is neither a national holiday (feriado nacional), nor an optional holiday (ponto facultativo), nor even a religious observance day (dia-santo). That is to say, the day will have no impact of business life, and we have accordingly removed it from our list of Brazil holidays.

In a related story, the municipality of São Paulo did consider, for awhile, declaring a municipal holiday on May 11, if only to alleviate traffic congestion, but it had to abandon the idea as according to law 9.093/1995, only the Federal Government may declare civil holidays, and each city is limited to declaring 5 municipal public holidays, one on the anniversary of the foundation of the city, and 4 religious ones. But São Paulo has already declared 4 municipal holidays, through its municipal law 13.707 of 2004: January 25 (foundation anniversary), Good Friday, Corpus Christi, All Souls' Day (November 2), and the Day of Black Consciousness (Dia da Consciência Negra) on November 20.

Fragmented Week Ahead As Namibia Observes Two Public Holidays

Sources: The Namibian and Namibia public holidays. Next week, Namibia will be observing 2 public holidays, Workers' Day on Tuesday, May 1st, and Cassinga Day on Friday, May 4, and reports from Namibia indicate that many people are taking the entire week off, and that there are cases of companies actually closing down for the week.

April 29 Bridge Holiday In Spain's Capital Madrid

Sources: El Pais and Spain public holidays. Although Monday April 29 is not an official public holiday in Spain, many individuals will be taking that day as a bridge to the following day's May Day public holiday, in a practice locally called hacer puente (making a bridge), and many schools throughout Spain have officially given the day off to their students. The bridge holiday effect will be even greater in Spain's capital, Madrid, as the May 1st public holiday will immediately be followed by a public holiday specific to Madrid and its province, on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, making a 5-day holiday possible with only one unpaid day.

Mexico Confirms Labour Day On May 1st And No Bridge Holiday

Souces: El Financiero and Mexico public holidays. Mexico's Secretary of Labour announced that Tuesday, May 1, 2007, would be an official public holiday (día de descanso obligatorio) and dashed any hopes of a long weekend by specifying that Monday, April 29, 2007, would be a normal working day.

Analysis: This announcement was a much needed clarification, as many individuals and businesses are still confused as to the status of public holidays that occur mid-week, following the 2006 amendments to article 74 of the Federal Labour Law that made some public holidays move from a fixed date to a Monday, while others did not, while some of the changes were effective in 2006 and some only in 2007.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nicaragua Clarifies Date Of Upcoming Labour Day Public Holiday

Sources: El Nuevo Diario and Nicaragua public holidays. After 2 confusing and contradictory announcements, a press communique from the Ministry of Labour of Nicaragua, finally confirmed, late this afternoon, that Nicaragua would observe the Labour Day public holiday on Tuesday, May 1, 2007, as per article 66 of the Labour Code. Note that earlier this afternoon, some sources were placing the upcoming public holiday on Monday, then an hour later, it was corrected to Wednesday, before finally being corrected to Tuesday, May 1, 2007.

Many Brazilian States and Municipalities Declare Bridge Holiday for April 30

Sources: Brazil public holidays. Over the last few days, many Brazilian states (Recife, Mato Grosso do Sul, ...) and municipalities (Sinop, Campo Grande, ...) have declared Monday, April 30, 2007, as a bridge holiday (ponto facultativo), linking the weekend to the public holiday of May 1st. We would therefore advise business traveler to Brazil to verify ahead of time if next Monday is a working day where they are planning to go.

Togo Begins Rotation of Independence Day Main Celebration on April 27

Sources: Jeune Afrique and Togo public holidays. Togo officials have announced that tomorrow's Independence Day main official celebration would be held in Dapaong, in the savanna region, 600 km north of the capital, Lomé, and that this rotation of the annual location of the main celebration would continue in future years.

Analysis: This is a trend that seems to be developping in Africa, with other countries, such as Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, already rotating the location of their annual national holiday celebration.

Vietnam Business Slowdown Expected on Friday April 27

Sources: Thanh Nien and Vietnam public holidays. A combination of calendrical coincidences, and the weather, make it quite likely that business life will shift into low gear tomorrow, Friday, April 27, 2007. First, from April 26 to May 1, there are 6 days, 2 of which are weekend days, and 3 of which are public holidays (April 26, April 30 and May 1), which leaves only tomorrow, April 27 as a possible working day. However, the celebrations for the Hung Kings new public holiday on April 26 are set to last 2 days (although the official public holiday only lasts one day), and to top it all, weather forecasts for this potentially very long weekend all predict balmy weather.

Extra Week of Holidays in October for Colombia's Education Sector

Sources: Presidencia de la República and Colombia public holidays. Earlier this week, Colombian President, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, signed into law the decree 1373 of the Ministry of Education, making the week preceding the Día de la Raza national public holiday, a week off for teaching staff and students from kindergarten through high school (establecimientos de educación preescolar, básica y media). The communique stresses that this extra week does not change the 7 weeks of holidays that teaching civil servants already have as per decree 1850 of 2002.

Although the decree does not specify the dates of the week it refers to, as the Día de la Raza national public holiday falls on Monday, October 15, in 2007, it means that the 5 additional days off granted to the education sector will be from October 8-12, 2007, inclusively.

Ecuador Confirms Labour Day on May 1st

Sources: El Universo and Ecuador public holidays. The government of Ecuador confirmed that the upcoming Labour Day public holiday (Día del Trabajo) would be observed on Tuesday, May 1, 2007, and not be moved to the previous Monday as the common practice in South America would lead some to believe. This applies to both the private and public sectors, although the public sector announcement was made independently through the Secretaría Nacional de Remuneraciones del Sector Público (Senres). Note that Ecuador's 2007 Labour Day remaining fixed on May 1st, corresponds to the list of Ecuador public holidays that we published on August 5th of last year.

Nepal Begins Buddha Jayanti Celebration Week Leading to May 2 Public Holiday

Sources: The Rising Nepal and Nepal public holidays. This year, Nepal will celebrate the 2551st anniversary of the birth of Lord Gautam Buddha, with a week-long programme beginning Thursday, April 26, 2007, and culminating with the public holiday of Buddha Jayanti, on Wednesday, May 2, 2007.

Bolivia Confirms Labour Day on May 1st

Sources: Agencia Boliviana de Información, Xinhua News Agency and Bolivia public holidays. The Bolivian Ministry of Labour announced, yesterday, that Bolivia would not move the observance of Labour Day (Día del Trabajador) from May 1 to Monday, April 30, 2007. Note that this year's May 1st celebrations will also coincide with the first anniversary of the nationalization of petroleum resources by the Morales government.

This official government announcement confirms the listing of 2007 public holidays in Bolivia, that we published on August 5, 2006. Although, the moving of public holidays that fall on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays, to the nearest Monday is quite common in South America, in Bolivia, the general rule is that fixed date holidays remain on the date that they celebrate. In any event, even in countries that have specific rules for moving mid-week public holidays, there are exceptions for patriotic public holidays (Independence Day, in Paraguay) or public holidays that are deemed too solemn to move around (Truth and Justice Memorial Day, in Argentina).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Approval of Brazil's Upcoming May 11 Public Holiday Uncertain

Sources: Agência O Globo and Brazil public holidays. It is becoming less and less likely that the May 11, 2007, one-off public holiday voted by the Senate last month, will come to pass. Accordingly, we have changed its status in our database of Brazil's public holidays to "tentative".

Analysis: Recall that the bill declaring this public holiday was initiated in the Senate, last month, to coincide with the May 11, 2007, visit of Pope Benedict XVI in Brazil on the occasion of the canonization of Frei Galvão, the first Brazilian saint, ever (our post of March 28).

At the time, the final approval of this bill looked like a foregone conclusion. However, dissenting voices started to be heard almost immediately, leading some to propose reducing its importance from full national public holiday (feriado nacional) to optional day off (ponto facultativo), as detailed in our post of April 10.

Then, in a slightly weird episode (our post of April 12), the Council of Brazilian Bishops, came out with an almost anti-endorsement of the idea, insisting that the public holiday, if it came to pass should be considered as a lay, national holiday, that had nothing to do with the Church. To further confuse the issue, the Council floated the idea that perhaps the May 11 public holiday could be observed only in the São Paulo municipal area, to facilitate traffic.

If one also remembers that Brazil recently converted 3 public holidays' status from "ponto facultativo" to "feriado nacional" (our post of March 7), one can easily imagine how pro-business deputies on the right, and deputies attached to the separation of State and Church, on the left, joined forces to defeat this proposed bill.

Today, the reporter of the bill before parliament, came out squarely against it, and proposed instead a simple homage, stripped of any religious connotation (homenagem cultural e não religiosa), to the man as a citizen (homenagem ao "cidadão Frei Galvão"). Voting will occur in the next few days, and we will post an update as soon as we have anything definite. In the meanwhile, as mentioned above, we have changed its status in our database of Brazil's public holidays to "tentative".

Romania Declares Public Holiday on April 30

Sources: Mediafax and Romania public holidays. Earlier today, the government of Romania declared that Monday, April 30, 2007, would be a one-off public holiday (non-working day). Note that, according to the Romanian labour code, the next day, May 1st, is also a non-working day, as it is a national holiday.

Philippines Declares May 14 Public Holiday

Sources: Sun Star and Philippines public holidays. Following-up on our earlier post, we have just learned that, late this afternoon (Manila time), during his weekly press conference, Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, announced that Philippines President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had issued Proclamation 1279 which makes Monday, May 14, 2007, the day of the upcoming mid-term elections, a non-working holiday throughout the country “to give the people the fullest opportunity to exercise their right of suffrage”.

In the same announcement, the Executive Secretary reiterated that April 30 is a regular working day and that the May Day, or Labor Day, public holiday will be observed on Tuesday May 1, 2007 (see our post of yesterday).

Analysis: As per article 94-c of the Labour Code, the day of a general election is a public holiday in the Philippines. However, Executive Order 203 dated June 30, 1987, was later issued, aiming to list exhaustively all "regular holidays" and "special days" (both terms which, to this day, remain unclear in their definition), in effect superseding article 94-c of the Labour Code. But, in fact, Executive Order 203 was followed almost every year by a last-minute announcement that the upcoming election day would indeed be a public holiday. When we say "last-minute", we really mean it; in 2004, the general election "nationwide special public holiday" was declared through Proclamation 628, of May 6, 2004, only four days before the May 10, 2004, election date.

Lithuania Updates List of Public Holidays on the "Office of the President" Website

Sources: Private communications with the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania. There was a discrepancy between the list of Lithuanian public holidays on the official website of the Office of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, and the Lithuania public holidays published on the Q++ Studio web site. In particular, Mothers' Day, a full-fledged public holiday in Lithuania, was missing from the official Lithuanian website. This was corrected this morning, to match our listing of Lithuanian public holidays. Our thanks to Veronica, for bringing this discrepancy to our attention, and to Andrius, for promptly updating the official web site of the President of the Republic of Lithuania.

Philippines' May 14 Mid-Term Elections Public Holiday Not Confirmed Yet

(see follow-up post of later the same day) Sources: The Manila Standard Today and Philippines Public Holidays. The Philippines mid-term general elections will be held in less than a month, on May 14, 2007. Traditionally, the day of a general election is declared as a public holiday, but there is no official announcement, yet, one way or the other, as to whether that day will be a public holiday, this time around.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mali Declares April 25 Public Holiday

Sources: L'Essor, Sociolingo and Mali Public Holidays. Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 25, 2007, has been declared a civic day ("journée d'engagement civique") in Mali, corresponding to a public holiday, as the day will be paid, but not worked, nationally ("journée chômée et payée sur toute l'étendue du territoire national"), so that people can go and collect their voting cards for the upcoming presidential election on April 29, 2007.

Dominican Republic's May Day Public Holiday Confirmed for Monday April 30th

Sources: El Nacional and Dominican Republic Public Holidays. Media reports have confirmed that this year's May Day public holiday in the Dominican Republic, would be observed on Monday, April 30, 2007.

Analysis: This is as expected; the law 139-97 of June 19, 1997, clearly states that public holidays that are neither patriotic, nor religious, in character, shall be moved to the closest Monday if they occur on a weekday. This general principle, must be reconfirmed at the end of every year for the next, and it was (our post of December 6, 2006).

After Some Hesitation Philippines Keeps May Day Public Holiday on Tuesday May 1st

Sources: The Philippine Star, The Manila Times and Philippines Public Holidays. Late last week and yesterday, rumours started appearing that Monday, April 30, 2007, would be declared a "non-working day", instead of the May Day public holiday scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, 2007. Then, this afternoon (GMT), the Manila Times reported that Labor Secretary, Arturo Brion, came out squarely against the idea of declaring a non-working day at such a late date. Later, the Philippines Star reported that Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, confirmed that Malacañang (the Philippines equivalent of the US White House) was standing by the date of May 1st.

Analysis: Recall from our post of January 19 that for 2007, the government had promised the business community that it would specify any non-working days at the beginning of the year and not make any further changes. In that context, President Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1211 on January 10, 2007, listing 4 non-working days in 2007: April 7, June 11, November 2 and December 24. Conspicuously absent from that list was Monday, April 30, although at the time it had been mentioned as a possible non-working day.

May 2 Will be a Public Holiday in Belgium Next Year

Sources: RTL Infos, Kanaal Z and Belgium Public Holidays. After asking for the advice of the CNT (Conseil National du Travail), on how to handle the fact that, in 2008, the May Day public holiday and the Ascension public holiday, both public holidays in Belgium, will fall on the same date (our post of April 23), Minister of Labor, Peter Vanvelthoven, decided to ignore the CNT's advice of declaring a public holiday on Sunday, August 10, 2008, and instead chose to declare the day after the "double-holiday", Friday, May 2, 2008, as a one-off public holiday.

Many South Africans Likely to Be Off On April 30 to Enjoy a 5-Day Weekend

Sources: South Africa Public Holidays and private communications from contacts in South Africa. With the upcoming public holidays of Freedom Day, on Friday, April 27, 2007, and May Day, on Tuesday, May 1, 2007, many South African employees and government workers are expected to take the day off on Monday, April 30, 2007, to enjoy the last long weekend before austral winter (recall that seasons in South Africa are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Date of Thailand's 2007 Royal Ploughing Ceremony

Sources: Bangkok Post and Thailand Public Holidays. The date of this year's Royal Ploughing Ceremony will be Thursday, May 10, 2007. This civil servants' public holiday, which celebrates the beginning of the rice planting season shall, as usual, be held under Royal patronage in Bangkok.

Analysis: This is an ancient Brahman ceremony, usually held in the first half of May, whose is selected by Brahmin Priests according to their astrological calendars. Out of the 3800+ public holidays, in 240 countries, that our predictive rules database covers, this public holiday, and the Umhlanga, or Reed Dance, Ceremony of Swaziland, are the only 2 whose long-term prediction always causes us headaches. If anyone has any reliable tips or information about the manner in which the date of this public holiday is arrived at, please contact us.

Russia Declares National Day of Mourning for Former President Boris Yeltsin on April 25

Sources: RIA Novosti and Russia Public Holidays. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared Wednesday, April 25, 2007, a National Day of Mourning for former President Boris Yeltsin, who died today at age 76, and will be buried at the Novodevichye Cemetery, on April 25.

Analysis: So far, apart from President Putin moving his annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly from Wednesday to Thursday, no special observance has been announced that would interfere with the day proceeding as a regular working day.

Hong Kong Likely to Replace One Easter Public Holiday With Confucius' Birthday

Sources: Asia News and Hong Kong Public Holidays. The Chinese deputy director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, Qi Xiaofei, indicated yesterday, for the first time, that Beijing was in support of replacing one of Hong Kong's 3 Easter-related public holidays (Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Monday) with a public holiday to mark Confucius' birthday.

Analysis: As set out last year by Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the proposed change would hinge upon the acceptance by Christian religious groups, of the removal of one of the current Christian holidays. However, already contacted on the matter, both Catholic and Protestant groups have said that they were not opposed to it.

Since Easter 2007 has already passed, it is unlikely that a public holiday for Confucius' birthday would be celebrated in 2007, making it more likely that the holiday would first be observed as an official public holiday in Hong Kong, on Friday, September 26, 2008.

As to which Easter public holiday would be removed, there are no indications. As Holy Saturday is sandwiched between 2 other public holidays, it would not make much sense to cancel it. Therefore the choice is between Good Friday and Easter Monday. If we had to guess, we would venture that it would be Easter Monday that would be cancelled, bringing Hong Kong's Easter-related public holidays in line with those of Macau and, most importantly, with most of its financial and trading partners such as Singapore, and to a lesser extent, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Belgium Considers Declaring a One-Off Sunday Public Holiday in 2008

Sources: RTL Infos, RTBF, CNT and Belgium Public Holidays (see also our follow-up post of April 24). In a yet to be confirmed, measure, Belgium's Minister of Labor, Peter Vanvelthoven, following consultations with the CNT (Conseil National du Travail), is considering declaring a one-off public holiday in Belgium, on Sunday, August 10, 2008, to compensate for the fact that, in 2008, the May Day public holiday and the Ascension public holiday, both public holidays in Belgium, will fall on the same date, something that has not happened since 1913, and will not happen again until 2160.

Analysis: By law, Belgium's workers are entitled to 10 public holidays a year, which makes a search for a replacement public holiday in 2008, eminently reasonable. The choice of a Sunday as replacement date, however, does puzzle. Reading the original text of the "Avis du Conseil National du Travail", it would seem that the choice of a Sunday was made so that branches that benefit from special treatment concerning public holiday that fall on a weekend, could negotiate a special arrangement concerning this Sunday holiday, without running the risk that they would ask for 2 compensation holidays, based on the premise that otherwise their status on this matter would not be special anymore, compared to ordinary workers who, in Belgium, have to forfeit any public holiday that falls on a weekend.

Apparently the announcement of this recommendation has angered other members of Parliament, some of whom have been pushing for the 3 community public holidays (July 11, September 27 and December 15) to become full national public holidays, some of whom have been pushing for International Women's Day (March 8), while some others have been lobbying for May 8 (the end of World War 2 in Europe), and yet others for Europe Day, on May 9.

We will continue to follow-up on this story and post an announcement when the date is either confirmed, or another one is announced.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Renewed Calls to Make Saint George's Day a Public Holiday in England

Sources: Daily Express and England Public Holidays. With the name day of Saint George upon us again, calls have grown to make April 23 a public holiday in England. it has been reported that nearly a million people have signed an on-line petition supporting a proposed Parliamentary Bill calling for a public holiday on Saint George's Day.

Analysis: The arguments from the proponents of making Saint George's Day a public holiday in England, is that Northern Ireland has its own Saint Patrick's Day (March 17), and that Scotland recently obtained Saint Andrew's Day (November 30) as a public holiday in Scotland, kind of. Detractors point out that there are already enough public holidays in April and May with Easter and the 2 May public holidays, and that another public holiday would be bad for business. In the end, it is possible that a compromise, similar to the one reached in Scotland, will be reached. This would add Saint George's Day as a possible replacement for another public holiday, but not as an additional public holiday.

Peru Confirms April 30 Civil Servants Bridge Holiday

Sources: Andina and Peru Public Holidays. The bridge holiday of Monday April 30, 2007, has been confirmed, affording Peruvian civil servants a 4-day public holiday, from Saturday April 28 to Tuesday May 1, 2007, inclusively. As set out originally, on August 22 of last year, when the 2007 series of bridge holidays was published in the Boletín de Normas Legales del Diario Oficial El Peruano, these bridge holidays are compulsory only for civil servants, but the private sector is encouraged to find agreements on a case-by-case basis, although if an agreement cannot be reached in a company, the management shall have the last word.

Montenegro Revamps List Of National And Public Holidays

Sources: Government of Montenegro (Press Release) and Montenegro public holidays. At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Zeljko Sturanovic, the Government of Montenegro adopted the Bill on National and Other Holidays, which provides for the following national holidays: Independence Day (May 21), Statehood Day (July 13), and, among others, also recognizes New Year and Labor Day, as universally accepted, international holidays.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Falkland Islands Confirms Moving Queen's Birthday Public Holiday to April 23

Sources: Mercopress and Falkland Islands Public Holidays. The Falkland Islands will celebrate the Queen's Birthday tomorrow, Saturday April 21. However, it has been confirmed that the public holiday corresponding to the Queen's Birthday will be moved to Monday, April 23, 2007.

Nigeria Declares Today, April 20, Public Holiday

Sources: Vanguard and Nigeria Public Holidays. Earlier this morning, the Nigerian Federal Government declared today, Friday April 20, 2007, the day before the Legislative and Presidential Elections, a public holiday, in a move similar to that of last week, when it declared a two-day public holiday at the last moment to prevent the courts from ruling on the gubernatorial elections of April 14.

Analysis: Business life should come to a standstill even greater than on usual public holidays, as this last minute declaration of a public holiday will have the effect of preventing the courts from ruling on issues related to tomorrow's elections, and will most likely further inflame tempers which had been running high earlier this week, particularly in the northern half of the country.

On the other hand, in the southern, more easy-going, part of the country, people may not react negatively to this last minute declaration of a public holiday, after all. Indeed, there are reports that yesterday, Thursday, in some cities, most government and office workers had stayed at home for the day, arguing that "since last week Thursday and Friday were declared work free days to enable them participate in the governorship and house of assembly elections there was no reason why they should not enjoy the same number of days this week as public holidays".

El Salvador Civil Servants Get Bridge Public Holiday on April 30

Sources: El Diario de Hoy and El Salvador Public Holidays. The El Salvador Legislative Assembly approved a bill, introduced by the Partido Demócrata Cristiano, and which gives civil servants Monday April 30, 2007, as a bridge public holiday, and extends their weekend for 4 days, from Saturday April 28, 2007 to the upcoming public holiday of Tuesday May 1, 2007. This applies to all civil servants, except the police and essential medical personnel. Minister of the Economy, Yolanda de Gavidia, indicated that she would pressure the government to determine this type of additional bridge holiday at the beginning of the year, allowing for better preparation from all sectors of the economy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Many in Venezuela Expected To Take April 20 As Bridge Holiday

Sources: El Universal and Venezuela Public Holidays. With an upcoming public holiday on Thursday April 19, 2007, many in Venezuela, particularly civil servants, are expected to make a bridge to the weekend (hacer puente) and not work on Friday April 20, 2007, either.

Analysis: The Venezuelan government seems to be acknowledging the bridge holiday, by giving credence to rumours that it will be extending the "dry law" (which prevents the sale or serving of alcohol during public holidays) to the entire 4 day period of April 19-22 (Notitarde).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

India's Punjab Will Reinstate Mahavir Jayanti Public Holiday

Sources: New Kerala and India Public Holidays. The Chief Minister of India's northwestern State of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal, announced that a public holiday will henceforth be observed, every year, on the Jain religious holiday of Mahavir Jayanti, and that this will be a "dry day" (ie. no alcohol sold or served) in the State of Punjab.

Analysis: The religious holiday occurs on the 13th day of the waxing Moon of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Chaitra. This year, the public holiday fell on March 31 (the day of the above-referenced announcement), and in 2008, it is expected to occur on April 18.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nepal Declares April 24 Public Holiday

Sources: Nepalnews and Nepal Public Holidays. Nepal's Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala, has declared a public holiday on Loktantra Day, Tuesday April 24, 2007, to commemorate the first anniversary of restoration of democracy, when King Gyanendra relinquished power.