A modest proposal on public holidays [With poll]

By 30 April, 2012 89

Let’s get with the program people. It’s 2012 and we’re not all white anglo saxon protestants around here trooping of to church every Sunday and observing the Sabbath.

Why should the Christians get all the holidays while Diwali, Hanukkah, Lunar new year, the Eid ul fitr, Nowruz, or Kwaanza are not?

To say nothing of the massive embuggerance to pretty much everyone of shutting the whole country down while we’re all forced to take a day off most at any given moment don’t give a damn about.

Not to mention the high farce in Canberra of “Family and Community Day” the holiday to replace the trade unionists picnic day which we can’t even find anything concrete to commemorate so we farm it out to warm fuzzies.

But the solution, for my money, isn’t to foist more command and control down from above.

Rather let’s empower individual choice.

What would you think dear reader if you were able to designate ten days a year on your calendar as significant to you and if your employer wants you to come in on those days they pay triple time?

Public holidays

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89 Responses to A modest proposal on public holidays [With poll]
#61
poetix5:12 pm, 30 Apr 12

Holden Caulfield said :

How come Saturdays and Sundays aren’t on your hit list JB?

Shouldn’t we have 52 days, plus the public holidays we can nominate?

Perhaps if your post Italian & Sons experience resulted in, erm, a home run, or something, you might have had a smile on your face today.

johnboy said :

…And because 63% self identify as christian with no particular christian practice (or heaven forfend understanding) you would knock back a proposal which would still let christians practice christian holidays but let everyone else have a fair crack too?

On behalf of all the Christians reading, I demand our “heaven” back, haha.

Great. Now the inevitable tacky references after a restaurant review by JB thread, are coming together (ooh err) with what is turning into a ‘I’m free to say what I like about religion so I’ll be as unnecessarily insensitive to other people as possible’ thread. If I wasn’t gifted with such a stellar sense of humour, and such a good anglican agnostic, I’d despair (thank you Duffbowl, but I’ve actually heard that latter term in church). In between lots of hideous and primitive rituals, of course.

poetix go bye-byes (probably for as much as 5 minutes…).

#62
johnboy5:15 pm, 30 Apr 12

well my aim is to do away with economy wide go slows.

#63
Holden Caulfield5:27 pm, 30 Apr 12

johnboy said :

well my aim is to do away with economy wide go slows.

Which is why weekends should be included as well, isn’t it?

I think the idea of nominating your own public holidays probably has merit. I just don’t think it will ever be subject to serious debate (in my lifetime anyway).

Some things just are.

#64
johnboy5:33 pm, 30 Apr 12

I’d say two days off are part of a regular cycle of work.

And there are advantages to keeping them coordinated.

the public holidays as now utilised throw off that regular cycle.

#65
Pork Hunt6:15 pm, 30 Apr 12

And to further simplify matters, let’s give the whole of Australia just the one time zone.

For simplicitys sake call it UTC/GMT + 9.25138. In the summer time all states and territories make their own arrangements…

#66
LSWCHP6:17 pm, 30 Apr 12

This seems like a great idea to me. i don’t give a rats arse about Christianity or the Queen. In fact, I despise both institutions, and their coupling to time off work has always annoyed me.

We had an enforced Christmas shutdown imposed at my workplace a few years ago. All employees were required to use part of their annual leave to “fill the gap” between Christmas and New Year. It almost started a revolution, particularly amongst the young skiing fraternity, who liked to take their leave when there was snow on the hills.

How do we make this happen?

#67
LSWCHP6:20 pm, 30 Apr 12

Actually, while I’m here…didn’t Swift entitle one of his essays “A Modest Proposal” of some kind? Something about eating babies to mitigate a famine or something like that?

#68
dpm6:23 pm, 30 Apr 12

chewy14 said :

It also ignores the fact that most people already have 4weeks leave every year and can choose to take off important days to them already.

I don’t actually care what days public holidays are on but I would say that they have to be the same for everyone.

This pretty much sums up my thoughts. We already have public hols (for whatever reasons, even if we don’t all individually ‘celebrate’ them for their reasons) planned. I would assume if I wanted another particular day (or days) off for my reasons, i’d utilise some of my annual leave or TOIL etc, which I had accumulated. My 2c…!

#69
Thumper6:24 pm, 30 Apr 12

The major, and so far unmentioned I think, sticking point here is bureaucracy.

There is simply no way that government and private enterprise, including unions, could ever police this idea.

Not a chance in, well, sorry to coin a phrase but, hell.

#70
johnboy6:36 pm, 30 Apr 12

And yet somehow we manage to have leave entitlments

#71
Elizabethany6:52 pm, 30 Apr 12

While I like the idea, it lacks a little something in practicality.

I work at ANU, and there is a certain benefit to having consistent public holidays. It means that we can run classes or not, knowing that people will be there or not. Can you imaging a class of 100 students and 12 staff members when they could ALL decide what days they wanted off? And the amount of extra work to make up those missed classes?

Considering that I already have an excess of annual leave accrued despite being there only 4 years because we don’t take time during session, organising days off would be chaos. Though I could take the same day *every* week during one session (say 12 Wednesdays) and miss one of my classes entirely…

#72
grump6:59 pm, 30 Apr 12

keep posting people, john boy is almost the mully cup winner for April if i read things right – lets see him get get there

#73
Martlark7:14 pm, 30 Apr 12

As a Jew it has always annoyed me that one religious movement has managed to enforce a few days of officially sanctioned sloth on 100% of the population. I’d rather we do away with Christmas and Easter and add those days to annual leave entitlements. Then each of us could decide what religious or irreligious festivals we can celebrate. I’ve no problem with Anzac day, Australia Day or the Queen’s birthday.

#74
toriness7:35 pm, 30 Apr 12

Mr Gillespie said :

The problem is, like he says, the whole country shutting down to keep some group of religious bigots happy and allow them to “observe” their religious rituals, be it Easter, Christmas, Good Friday, or whatever.

Plus this double, and triple-time scheme is nothing but expensive nonsense because whatever day it is, equal work is equal value, no??

I have always believed in taking holidays in your own time, not on everyone else’s time. Have a swap system, rotate the rostered days off, within reasonable and sensible boundaries.

+1 to this and JB’s proposal. i’d take great pleasure in working christmas day and avoiding the nonsense of everyone trying to get along at great expense (petrol prices, flights), and invariably using more of my voluntary annual leave, to awful forced large family gatherings interstate just because it’s ‘tradition’ and instead agreeing with my family (also non-religious) to take that set of holidays at another time. what a load of BS! not to mention more even productivity and lower costs for both business and consumers without artificial salary and therefore product/service cost spikes on random days throughout the year.

#75
Thumper7:38 pm, 30 Apr 12

johnboy said :

And yet somehow we manage to have leave entitlments

Leave entitlements are very much different to public holidays where everything is set in concrete.

Don’t get me wrong, I see your point, I just think that it won’t/ can’t work and to even try to instigate such an idea would be disasterous.

#76
PoQ8:16 pm, 30 Apr 12

We should abolish all public holidays, but make every weekend a long weekend.

We have Sunday off for the christians, and Saturday off for the jews, so we should have Friday off for the muslims and for the hindus.

After all, Australia is a multicultural society, and nothing says we respect christianity, or judaism, or islam, like a three-day weekend…

#77
I-filed8:56 pm, 30 Apr 12

Very, very few Australians treat Christmas or Easter as religious holidays. They are pretty much secular shopping festivals. And people of all religious persuasions indulge in Christmas – Jews, Muslims. There’s nothing to prevent Buddhists from enjoying Christmas. And do you know any kids of any religious persuasion, other than from diehard non-Christian families, who are deprived of chocolate Easter eggs on Easter Sunday? I think there are only four “religious” holidays.
Australia Day has been appropriated as just a jingoistic celebration – not many people bother too much with the colonial anniversary link.
What does that leave? Canberra Day. Any problem there? A long weekend in June – nominally the Queen’s Birthday. Who minds celebrating a random day and pretending it’s about the Queen? Any excuse should do.
New Year’s Day – where’s the exclusion of minority religions there?
I don’t even know what the October long weekend is for – (is there one?).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with anachronistic legacies of past culture if they benefit us. Two lots of four-day weekend in the course of the year is pretty healthy I would have thought.
Oh – and who is going to put their hand up and object to all of us taking a bit of time out on Anzac Day and remembering, say, Sandakan … Pozieres … Fromelles. Joizuz people – what are we complaining about again?

#78
Duffbowl9:11 pm, 30 Apr 12

johnboy said :

And yet somehow we manage to have leave entitlments

Moving somewhat away from the religious debate this has ignited, we have leave entitlements thanks mostly to the work put in by the early union movement. Indeed, when I was working in the late 80s in a factory to the north of Adelaide, leave was determined for workers by management. They enforced a one month shutdown from mid December to mid January. Too bad if you didn’t fancy taking leave, you had to clear three weeks worth, leaving one week available for use at other times.

I have a vague recollection of reading an article many moons ago that the traditional arrangement of Mon – Fri being a normal work week was primarily attributable to biblical practices. I hate quoting Wikipedia, but it’s the easiest source to find on the subject at the moment.
Link -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workweek_and_weekend

As I argued earlier, but may not have argued eloquently, strictly regulating when workers can have a day off is in an employers best interest in most circumstances. They can plan around when staff will be available. Think about it this way, what’s better for an employer:
- juggling the demands of staff with no fixed days off (can take 32 days off during any stage of the year);
- juggling the demands of staff with 12 fixed days off and 20 days unfixed; or
- fixing 32 days over a year when staff will not be onsite?

Sorry if I’ve come across as a god botherer; I don’t consider myself to be one, having a more syncretic (and therefore probably heretic) view of religion, where to a degree I acknowledge that a supreme being may exist. Maybe I should label myself as an Agnostic Polytheist.

#79
Here_and_Now9:28 pm, 30 Apr 12

LSWCHP said :

Actually, while I’m here…didn’t Swift entitle one of his essays “A Modest Proposal” of some kind? Something about eating babies to mitigate a famine or something like that?

Yep, that’s the one.

(A lot of his audience didn’t get that it was satire and they weren’t supposed to take it seriously.)

#80
Zeital9:22 am, 01 May 12

i like having the set holiday, i know what i have off and i can work in some leave into that.

but this also sounds like it would work, but i think there needs to be set ones still (Australia Day/ANZAC) and still have the stand down at the end of the year as part of normal time off like it is already, i mean really after a hard year of work who doesn’t want the new years off?

#81
Holden Caulfield10:48 am, 01 May 12

johnboy said :

I’d say two days off are part of a regular cycle of work.

And there are advantages to keeping them coordinated.

the public holidays as now utilised throw off that regular cycle.

Well, it could be argued that Easter and Christmas are just as widely accepted as being part of the regular cycle of work and therefore there are advantages to maintaining the status quo.

Why do they get hit with the big JB stick and Saturday and Sunday, both observed by varying Christian faiths as the Sabbath, get let off the hook?

If you’re fair dinkum about wanting work breaks free from Christian tradition, to be nominated by the individual, then surely the year should be split like this:

250 working days + 115 holidays (11 of which can be nominated for penalty rates if you’re asked to work).

You started your modest proposal sinking the boot into Sunday, but then squibbed it.

Never mind the fact that your claim — “Why should the Christians get all the holidays” — is a bit off the mark.

Of the 11 public holidays observed in the ACT this year, only four have direct links to dates of Christian significance (including Easter Saturday).

#82
Deref11:21 am, 01 May 12

Here_and_Now said :

LSWCHP said :

Actually, while I’m here…didn’t Swift entitle one of his essays “A Modest Proposal” of some kind? Something about eating babies to mitigate a famine or something like that?

Yep, that’s the one.

(A lot of his audience didn’t get that it was satire and they weren’t supposed to take it seriously.)

Plus ça change…

#83
dpm11:41 am, 01 May 12

johnboy said :

I’d say two days off are part of a regular cycle of work.

And there are advantages to keeping them coordinated.

the public holidays as now utilised throw off that regular cycle.

I wonder what people think of this:
http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2012/s3492452.htm

“Business groups are setting their sights on weekend penalty rates for hospitality workers, applying to Fair Work Australia to have them scrapped.
Restaurant and Catering Australia, the New South Wales Business Chamber and a number of individual employers say the rates are crippling businesses and forcing many to close at weekends.
The groups say hospitality workers should be paid penalties only if they have to work more than five days in a row.

I guess it goes with your plan to improve the economy-wide ‘go slows’?? It probably gets tricky when people work 5 weekdays at one job (or full-time study?) then work on the weekends too? What happens there, since they have theoretically missed out on their weekend? Thoughts?

#84
sarahsarah11:57 am, 01 May 12

zander said :

I’m with you on this one johnboy.
In fact I think the whole calendar needs a revamp. Why have 7 days a week because of some story in the bible. I say we move to a ten day week; three days on, one day off, four days on, two days off. As we can’t change the number of days in a year there would need to be a 5 day end of year festival (6 in a leap year) to sync up the astronomical cycle. No public holidays, just 14 days annual leave which would make the number of days worked in a year the same as now.

You know, this is actually kind of awesome. It’s the only real way to be fair to everyone. The current day names (and months as well come to think of it) would need to be changed also. Any suggestions? :)

From a practical/logistical standpoint, public holidays as they exist now need to be set dates. I don’t mind when they are or what they are for – out of all of them I really only celebrate 3 for their prescribed reason.

#85
watto2311:58 am, 01 May 12

I don’t agree with the fact we have public holidays based on one particular religion. I’d much rather have say a 4 day canberra day weekend and another 4 day weekend in winter and one in spring.

Having said that though most religions have some celebration at xmas time and really most people just use it as the annual time of the year to catch up with family, so the significance of the holiday is not there any more.

However i’d be happy if it was allowed that someone of different faith wanted other days off in exchange for xmas/easter, that could nominate the religious reason and do so instead. I just don’t think a pick your 10 days system really would work.

#86
rosscoact12:21 pm, 01 May 12

but how many sickies can we have?

sarahsarah said :

zander said :

I’m with you on this one johnboy.
In fact I think the whole calendar needs a revamp. Why have 7 days a week because of some story in the bible. I say we move to a ten day week; three days on, one day off, four days on, two days off. As we can’t change the number of days in a year there would need to be a 5 day end of year festival (6 in a leap year) to sync up the astronomical cycle. No public holidays, just 14 days annual leave which would make the number of days worked in a year the same as now.

You know, this is actually kind of awesome. It’s the only real way to be fair to everyone. The current day names (and months as well come to think of it) would need to be changed also. Any suggestions? :)

From a practical/logistical standpoint, public holidays as they exist now need to be set dates. I don’t mind when they are or what they are for – out of all of them I really only celebrate 3 for their prescribed reason.

#87
devils_advocate12:30 pm, 01 May 12

watto23 said :

Having said that though most religions have some celebration at xmas time and really most people just use it as the annual time of the year to catch up with family, so the significance of the holiday is not there any more.

Catching up with family isn’t significant anymore? That’s a bit sad but ok.

#88
Watson2:48 pm, 01 May 12

Yawn. Who cares. I don’t mind being told which public holidays I can take. Would just like to see an extra one or two in winter maybe. I am not religious, but it doesn’t bother me that these FOUR days a year (arguably only 3 if you don’t count boxing day) have a religous history behind them. That is actually a much smaller percentage of religious holidays than most other countries. And in a twisted way, I like getting christian holidays as an atheist. It provides a great opportunity to make non PC fun of someone else’s believes for a day. If you want to throw some other religions in the mix, that’s fine by me too. I’ll happily stay home to throw some pork chops on the barbie if they add a muslim or jewish public holiday.

But I do like the fact that all my friends have the same days off. Great opportunities to catch up and have a very non-christian piss up. And of course schools would always have coordinated holidays, so I would be off work to care for my child anyway.

#89
matt312214:45 pm, 01 May 12

“Erm, it’s one writer, me, thought bubbling a better way to organise society to the benefit of all not just the largest single grouping in a diverse society (at not cost whatsoever to that grouping and in fact with significant advantages to all concerned).”

It is to the benefit of everyone! You get a day off from the hard slog of work and get payed for it! If you want to work however – you get payed heaps more for it! there isn’t a problem here.

And to all the people knocking Christianity – keep your pseudo religion Atheism to yourself like you demand that the Christians do. It is a free country people can practice any religion they like here and that is great. Christianity and the other religions are a faith, so it doesn’t really matter how many contradictions and irregularities there are in their holy books. Atheism requires certain aspects of faith too just like the mainstream religions. In case you thought I was an apologist or something I am not, I am an agnostic.

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