Monday, March 31, 2008

Saipan Readies To Re-Introduce Austerity Fridays

Sources: Marianas Variety and Saïpan public holidays (CNMI). The Parliament of the CNMI is about to vote whether to reintroduce austerity Fridays, whereby government offices close every other Friday, and employees who do not work on official CNMI holidays are not be paid for that day.

If implemented from April 1 to September 8, 2008, these measures would make up for the government’s $7.2 million cost overruns since October 1, 2007. Public Law 15-24, of 2007, already mandated the biweekly austerity holidays, but it expired on September 30, 2007.

American Samoa Legislation To Make Election Day A Public Holiday

Sources: Radio New Zealand and American Samoa public holidays. American Samoa Senator, Dr Paul Stevenson, has sponsored legislation making election day in American Samoa a public holiday. If the bill, introduced last Friday, is passed, then it would bring the total number of government holidays to 12. Under current law, voters are allowed two hours on election day to cast their ballots. The two paid hours does not include lunch break.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pakistan's PPP Demands April 4 And December 27 Public Holidays

Sources: The News (Karachi) and Pakistan public holidays. The parliamentary party of the PPP has demanded that April 4 And December 27, the death anniversaries of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, respectively, be declared national holidays.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Singapore Revises Date Of 2008 Deepavali Public Holiday

Sources: The Hindu Endowments Board (Singapore) and Singapore public holidays. We have learned through private communications with one of our Singapore contacts, that the Hindu Endowments Board has revised the date for Singapore's 2008 Deepavali public holiday, from Tuesday, October 28, to Monday, October 27.

Such same-year adjustments to the announced date of Deepavali in Singapore have happened in the past (in 2002 and 2003, for example). Note that the 2008 public holidays page of the official website of Singapore's MOM (Ministry of Manpower) has not yet been updated to reflect the above-mentioned change.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Vietnam Declares Two Financial Bridge Holidays

Sources: The State Securities Commission of Vietnam and Vietnam public holidays. The State Securities Commission of Vietnam has declared that due to the public holidays of April 15 (Gio tu Hung Vuong) and May 1st (Labor Day), it had declared Monday, April 14 and Friday, May 2, 2008 to be exchange holidays in Vietnam.

As such, there will be no trading, settlement and clearing activity on these dates as the Vietnam Securities Depository, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange and the Hanoi Securities Trading Center will be closed.

Kuwait Spells Out Rules For Mid-Week Public Holidays

Sources: The Arab Times and Kuwait public holidays. The Head of the Civil Service Commission of Kuwait (CSC), Abdul-Aziz Al-Zabin, issued a circular to all government departments and agencies giving details of the latest changes made to the official holidays list. It clarifies which public holidays will remain on their set date, and which public holidays will move to the adjoining weekend.

Monday, March 24, 2008

France Recognizes Shavuot As An Official Holiday

Sources: EJP (European Jewish Press) and France public holidays. The Jewish festival of Shavuot has been added to the Journal Officiel (the government's gazette), to join Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, which were already there.

This does not mean that Shavuot festival will become a general public holiday in France, but its addition to the government gazette was an important issue for the French Jewish community, as the festival falls in May or June annually (June 9 in 2008 and May 29 in 2009) and this causes problems for practicing Jewish students who, depending on their level of orthodoxy have to either miss final exams altogether, or at least curtail their studying. Jewish students will now be allowed to take exams at different dates that do not conflict with the festival of Shavuot.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ecuador Clarifies Good Friday Observance For Public Sector

Sources: Presidencia del Ecuador and Ecuador public holidays. The government human resources department, SENRES (Secretaría Nacional Técnica de Desarrollo de Recursos Humanos y Remuneraciones del Sector Público) has confirmed that Friday, March 21, 2008 (Good Friday) was a paid public holiday for all civil servants, but that the day before, Thursday, March 20, would be a regular working day for all civil servants.

To ensure compliance with the above, SENRES has announced that it would conduct surprise inspections, and that it had created a toll-free telephone number to be used by those kind souls wishing to denounce a civil servant starting his or her holiday too soon.

Turkey's Parliament Considering Making Nevruz A National Holiday

Sources: Turkish Daily News and Turkey public holidays. Late on Tuesday night, Turkey's Parliament decided to discuss a draft bill that will make the traditional Nevruz festival celebrated, by the Kurds of Turkey, on March 21, a national public holiday. It is unlikely, however, even if the law is voted, that the bill will be signed into law in time for this year's Nevruz.

India Declares March 22 Day In Lieu Regional Public Holiday

Sources: Deccan Herald (Karnataka) and India public holidays. Most of the Governments of Indian States where the Prophet's Birthday (Id-e-Milad-un-Nabi) is a public holiday, have declared a day in lieu, on Saturday, March 22, 2008, to compensate for the fact that the public holiday of Good Friday occurs on that same date, and in many cases also the Hindu public holiday of Holi (or Holikadahana, depending on the State).

Note that, despite the government announced day in lieu, most Muslim organizations in India, such as the Markazi Ruyath-e-Hilal Committee (MRHC) have announced that the Id-e-Milad-un-Nabi festival would be commemmorated on Friday, March 21, 2008.

Oman Declares March 22 Day In Lieu Public Holiday

Sources: Khaleej Times (Muscat) and Oman public holidays. Oman has declared a day in lieu public holiday on Saturday, March 22, 2008, to compensate the fact that The Prophet's birthday (Milad Al Nabi) falls on an Omani weekend day this year. The announcements for the public and private sectors were made by Sayyid Ali bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Minister of the Diwan of Royal Court and Chairman of the Civil Service Council, and Manpower Minister Dr Juma bin Ali bin Juma.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Liberia Declares March 21 Public Holiday

Sources: and Liberia public holidays. Friday, March 21, 2008, has been declared a national public holiday, to coincide with the first day of the first Liberian census in 24 years, a census, which is being run by the Liberian Institute for Statistics and Geo Information Services (LISGIS).

Romania April 2-4 Government And School Holiday For NATO Summit

Sources: Balkan Insight and Romania public holidays. Earlier today, the government announced a special 3-day municipal holiday to coincide with the upcoming NATO Summit. From Wednesday, April 2-4, 2008, Bucharest school pupils, students and most civil servants in the Romanian capital will be on holiday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

South Africa One-Off May 2nd Public Holiday

Sources: Eyewitness News (Johannesburg) and South Africa public holidays. In our post of March 11, we reported how the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) had petitioned South African President, Thabo Mbeki, to make Thursday, March 20, 2008, a one-off public holiday, to compensate for the fact that the 2 public holidays of Human Rights Day and Good Friday will occur on the same day, March 21, in 2008.

Less than an hour ago, it was revealed that President Mbeki would not declare March 20th in compensation for the 2 public holidays falling on March 21st, but would instead declare Friday May 2nd, as a one-off bridge public holiday, thus making it a 4-day weekend, as Thursday May 1st is already an annual public holiday in South Africa.

Zimbabwe Declares March 29 Public Holiday

Sources: AFP and Zimbabwe public holidays. President Robert Mugabe, through the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Notice 2008, has declared Saturday, March 29, 2008, a public holiday to enable workers to vote in the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections. Banks and businesses, normally open on Saturdays, will be closed on that day, while most retailers may remain open.

The AFP reports that to vouch for the openness and fairness of these upcoming elections, President Mugabe invited election observers from China, Russia and Iran.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Iraq Changes Prophet's Birthday Public Holiday Date

Sources: Aswat Aliraq and Iraq public holidays. An official spokesperson for the Iraqi Cabinet, Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh, has announced that the upcoming Prophet's Birthday public holiday would occur on Wednesday, March 19, 2008, rather than the expected date of Thursday, March 20, 2008.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bermuda Restores May 24 Public Holiday Name To Bermuda Day

Sources: The Royal Gazette (Hamilton) and Bermuda public holidays. A few months after announcing that it would change the name of the Bermuda Day public holiday to National Heroes' Day (our post of September 19, 2007), and in face of widespread negative public reactions, the Government of Bermuda has announced that it was restoring the public holiday's name to its original form.

This means that the search for a National Heroes' Day goes on and that an additional holiday might be created for that purpose, as the current attempt at recycling another holiday did not fare so well for the government.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pakistan's Sindh Province Declares Additional Public Holiday

Sources: The News (Karachi) and Pakistan public holidays. The Governor of Sindh (which contains Karachi), Dr Ishratul Ibad, announced an additional public holiday in the province on 11th Rabiul Awal (Thursday, March 20, 2008), in addition to 12th Rabiul Awal (The Prophet's Birthday), so that the population can condemn the publication of Danish caricatures of The Prophet, and the upcoming Dutch movie on Islam.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sénégal Declares March 13 One-Off Public Holiday for OCI Conference

Sources: Walf Fadjri and Sénégal public holidays. Sénégal's President Wade announced that Thursday, March 13, 2008 had been declared a one-off public holiday (jour férié, chômé et payé) on the occasion of the 11th OCI conference (Organisation de la Conférence Islamique).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Antigua and Barbuda Declares March 18 Public Holiday

Sources: The Antigua Sun and Antigua and Barbuda public holidays. Next Tuesday, March 18, 2008, will be a public holiday in Antigua and Barbuda on the occasion of the funeral of former Prime Minister, Sir George Herbert Walter. Attorney-General, Justin Simon, will, later this week, be formalising the arrangements with the Governor-General Dame Louise Lake-Tack to give effect to the proclamation of next Tuesday’s public holiday.

Macedonia Tree Planting Public Holiday Today

Sources: Balkan Insight and Macedonia public holidays. The government of Macedonia declared today a national public holiday to enable the maximum number of people to participate in today's “plant your future” campaign which is part of a bigger programme that envisages planting some 10 million trees by the end of 2008. Macedonia was hit by a series of wildfires that raged across the whole Balkans region during the summer of 2007. This unexpected public holiday will be compensated by the coming Saturday, March 15, being a regular working day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Nicaragua Government Holidays March 15-23

Sources: La Voz del Sandinismo (Managua) and Nicaragua public holidays. Nicaragua's Labour Minister, Yanet Chávez, announced that civil servants and employees of state-run enterprises would benefit from paid holidays from Saturday, March 15, to Sunday, March 23, 2008, inclusively. The private sector will be on public holiday from Thursday, March 20, as usual.

South Africa's Unions Asking For March 20 One-Off Public Holiday

Sources: The Times of South Africa and South Africa public holidays. Earlier today, the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) asked South African President, Thabo Mbeki, to make Thursday, March 20, 2008, a one-off public holiday, to compensate for the fact that the 2 public holidays of Human Rights Day and Good Friday will occur on the same day, March 21, in 2008.

The Governing Law of South Africa, Public Holidays Act number 36 of 1994 makes a provision of days in lieu for public holidays which fall on a Sunday, but it does not address the possibility of 2 public holidays falling on the same day (an issue which is also cropping up in Europe where Ascension Day 2008 is on May 1st, the date of another public holiday).

China To Consider August 8 Public Holiday

Sources: Agencia Digital de Noticias and China public holidays. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is currently considering a proposal by political advisor Mao Yulin to make August 8 (the date of the opening of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing) an annual public holiday called Sports Day.

Considering that the entire public holidays system of China has recently been revamped (our post of December 16), including the addition of one annual public holiday, it is unlikely that another change would be made, so soon. It is, however conceivable that a compromise might be reached whereby this year's August 8 would be declared a one-off public holiday.

Kyrgyzstan Parliament Confirms New March 24 Public Holiday

Sources: Central Asian News and Kyrgyzstan public holidays. The Parliament of Kyrgyzstan is about to vote to confirm the recently added March 24 National Revolution Day public holiday.

March 13: Parliament adopts draft law to announce March 24 as People's Revolution Day, public holiday.

March 17: President Bakiev signs law to announce March 24 as People's Revolution Day.

Costa Rica December 31 Bank Holiday

Sources: NCS and Costa Rica public holidays. In addition to the previously announced public holidays, Costa Rican banks and financial institutions will be closed on Wednesday, December 31, 2008.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Samoa Reconsidering Its Head Of State Birthday Public Holiday

Sources: APIA (Pacnews), The Samoa Observer, and Samoa public holidays. Until his death in May 2007, the January the 4th birthday of the late King Malietoa Tanumafili II, was a public holiday in Samoa, called Head of State's Birthday. This year, the January holiday was not held, for obvious reasons, and most expected a public holiday to be declared on March 1st, the birthday of the new head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi.

However, in a recent statement by the chief executive officer for the prime minister’s office, Vaasatia Poloma Komiti, it transpired that the government of Samoa may not declare such a new public holiday, or at least not before many years, as the chief executive officer reminded everyone that a public holiday on the previous head of State's birthday had only been declared, after he had reigned for over 40 years !

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Azerbaijan Extends Novruz 2008 Public Holiday To Last 9 Days

Sources: APA, ANS, and Azerbaijan public holidays. Basing itself on paragraph 7 of article 105 of the Labor Code of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree making the weekend days of March 29-30, regular working days, in exchange of which, Thursday and Friday, March 27-28, 2008, will be one-off bridge public holidays.

This will have the effect of making the Novruz public holiday, which usually consists of 5 consecutive days, stretch into 9 consecutive days, from March 20 to March 28, inclusively (2 additional days had already been announced on December 8 of last year).

Malta Businesses and Schools Expected To Come To A Standstill On March 10

Sources: The Times of Malta and Malta public holidays. According to Vince Farrugia, director general of the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises (GRTU), business is likely to come to a standstill on Monday, March 10, 2008, especially in the capital, Valletta, and Sliema.

Attendance at schools will also be poor, as school transportation is traditionally not available on the Monday after a general election, as the island goes through the post-general election result routine, usually meaning traffic-clogged roads and widespread celebrations by supporters of the winning party.

As we mentioned in our post of December 16, if the MLP (Malta Labour Party) wins tomorrow's elections, it has promised to bring back the observance of days in lieu, whereby an extra public holiday is given on the Monday following any public holiday that falls on a week-end. If the MLP were to win these elections (and keep their promise), that would mean that the June 29 Saints Paul and Peter public holiday (locally called L-Imnarja) that falls on a Sunday in 2008 would be followed by a day in lieu public holiday on Monday, June 30, 2008.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chile Extends Summertime By Three Weeks

Sources: La Nacion and Chile public holidays. It has been announced that Chile will extend its current summertime hours for another three weeks, until March 29, instead of the scheduled date of March 8.

Nepal Adds 18 New Public Holidays

Sources: The Rising Nepal and Nepal public holidays. Yesterday, as pre-announced in our post of December 28, Nepal's Cabinet announced that it was adding 18 (eighteen) new public holidays to its already impressive list of public holidays. Among the holidays mentioned are: Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Christmas, the Birthday of Guru Nanak, Ubhauli Udhyauli, Goura, both Lhosars (Tamu and Sonam), Siruwa and Maghi.

Most of these are festival of the many ethnic and religious minorities of Nepal, and are usually limited to people of the specific ethnicity or religion in the civil service.

The Government did announce the 3 days would be cut from the 9-day Dashain festival public holiday, although it stressed that Maha Shivaratri, Janai Purnima and Fagu Purnima would remain as public holidays.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Philippines Declares March 10 Regional Public Holiday In Bukidnon

Sources: GMA News and Philippines public holidays. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) recently issued Proclamation No. 1461, declaring Monday, March 10, 2008, as a special non-working day in Bukidnon, on the occasion of the 91st anniversary of the province's foundation.

Iran Set To Declare A One-Off Nuclear Public Holiday

Sources: IRNA (Tehran), Trend News (Baku, Azerbaijan), and Iran public holidays. The Iranian agency IRNA reported last week that the government of Iran is preparing to mark a Nuclear holiday, in the near future, to raise the mood of the population. No date was mentioned, yet, but last year, Iran celebrated a National Day of Nuclear Technology on April 7.