BUSINESS: Holidays Running Amok
Recent Western Cape Business News
A PAID public holiday on May 18 for the municipal elections is the very last thing business needs in an autumn already crowded with public holidays, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
The new holiday comes just two weeks after an effective 11-day break created by the glut of public holidays between Easter and Labour Day. Schools will be closed for this period.
“The election holiday will create the second broken week in May. It will do nothing for productivity and another school day will be lost at a time when there is a desperate need to put more time and effort into education,” said Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber.
He said it was time South Africa moved elections to weekends as many countries in Europe and the rest of the world had already done.
Bagraim said many employees would take three days of annual leave between Easter and Labour Day and be absent from work for 11 straight days. Many people, especially women, would have to take the leave to look after children. “Then two weeks later we have the election holiday on a Wednesday and many people will take two days of annual leave and enjoy a five-day long weekend.
“We already have a situation where businesses will have to pay a full month’s salary for just16 days of work in April and now May will be another month of full pay for less work.”
If we are serious about making this country more productive and competitive in the global market place and creating new jobs we will have to deal with the public holiday problem,” he warned.
There was a need for a thorough investigation of the number of public holidays and the practice of creating extra holidays on a Monday or Friday to replace holidays which fell during a weekend.
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