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Labor Day falls on Sunday: the call for catch-up holidays is getting louder again

Labor Day falls on Sunday
The call for catch-up holidays is getting louder again

May 1st is a public holiday, but employees can buy little of it this year: “Labor Day” falls on a Sunday. The Left Party and the Greens want to handle such cases like other European countries in the future. The day off should then be made up for on the following weekday.

Ironically, May 1st, Labor Day, falls on a Sunday again this year. This is bad news for employees – they have one less public holiday. Some politicians are now campaigning to make up for lost days off in the future. In many countries – including Belgium, Spain and Great Britain – public holidays that fall on a weekend are made up for on the following working day. In Germany, the mood on this topic seems to have shifted in recent years, as surveys show.

In Germany, in 2022, two of the public holidays with a specific date will fall on a Sunday: May 1st and December 25th. January 1st was a Saturday; October 3rd and Boxing Day fall on Mondays. New Year 2023 falls on a Sunday again.

The left will soon take action in parliament “so that there will be no more public holidays in the future and social cohesion in the country will be strengthened,” said the first parliamentary director of the left-wing faction in the Bundestag, Jan Korte, of the “Rheinische Post”. Until this is regulated by law, he “calls on the entrepreneurs to give the employees an additional day off as a replacement and Corona bonus in a timely manner”. Korte said each lost holiday means more stress and less much-needed recovery from the stresses of work and the pandemic. May 1st in particular has a special meaning for the employees “as a battle and public holiday”.

Germans are for catch-up holidays

The labor market expert of the Greens, Beate Müller-Gemmeke, told the “Rheinische Post”: “Of course it is annoying for employees when the day of work, the public holiday on May 1st, falls on a Sunday.” It is now time “to discuss socially that public holidays that fall on a Sunday can be made up for, as is already the case in a number of countries,” said Müller-Gemmeke.

A Yougov survey in 2021 showed that half of the adults in Germany would be in favor of nationwide public holidays, if they fall on a weekend, being made up as days off on the following Monday. Around a third of those questioned in Germany were opposed to the proposal. Five years earlier, a Yougov survey came to the conclusion that just over half of Germans aged 18 and over thought it would make little sense to introduce this catch-up regulation in Germany as well.

The working time expert at the German Economic Institute (IW), Christoph Schröder, uses international competitiveness as an argument against such a regulation: “Germany has the shortest annual working time in the EU and at the same time, together with Denmark, has the most days off. And Belgium, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom are no higher than Germany, even with the catch-up public holidays. Only Spain is far ahead with 14 public holidays, but only 22 vacation days.”

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