The 6th January already and today may well be the last day of the Xmas holidays for this year. Xmas holidays used to start at lunchtime on Xmas Eve then back to work on the 27th then off again on lunchtime of Hogmanay and back to work on the 3rd Jan. I seem to remember the building trade started taking more extended holidays since there was a lot of absenteeism between Xmas and New Year and there are a lot of dangers on a building site made worse if you have perhaps partied late and had a lemonade or two.
The schools I’m sure weren’t so generous with holidays either. I remember playing football for the school on Christmas Eve and we went back to school sharpish after New Year. New Year parties were held every night following Hogmanay and if people were going back to work there was also the following Friday and Saturday nights to make sure the New Year was brought in correctly from a quantitative perspective.
Other countries don’t do as many holidays. The USA just have a couple of days but then they don’t get a lot of holidays at all. The French only have Xmas Day and New Years Day as actual holidays, In Germany and Italy it’s Xmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
Since the comments made about the damage to the economy during the one day strike by public sector workers you would think that the Xmas period would be very difficult to cope with from an economic point of view but there seems to be little evidence to suggest this is the case. People in the UK don’t get a huge amount of holidays compared to other countries. The average is 20 days paid leave and 8/9 paid public holidays. Our European partners generally have more although the USA lags well behind.
That being the case then, people in the UK may well take more holidays during the Xmas and New Year holiday period and take less at other times of the year as per their holiday entitlement. Most businesses use a system of staff leave planning designed to ensure that the business continues to operate effectively during holiday periods.
You could also argue that it is a good thing that people take their holidays at this time of year when it is quieter. This should suit employers unless of course Xmas and New Year are busy times for them such as retail for example.
Of course there is one group of people who know how to enjoy holidays and have lots of them. Politicians. Of course they never complain about the cost to the country of these holidays and if they are recalled they whine.
It can be a problem if you wish to make significant progress with a project during the Xmas and New Year break, but this should have been taken into account at the project planning stage. The panic, which seems to set in because the local supermarket is closed for a single day also seems well out of proportion. Many smaller shops continue to open, even on Xmas day.
We all get a holiday entitlement as part of our contract of employment and we use these as we fit within the bounds of any possible restrictions which are also spelt out in the same contract. Whilst there will no doubt be employers who take advantage of their staff there will be many, many more who don’t and who act fairly.