Thu, Oct 26, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Ministry proposes longer holidays

NEW VACATION RULES One extra day is likely to be added to a national holiday if it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday to turn the overall break into a three-day long weekend

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwanese could look forward to a longer Lunar New Year vacation in the future if the legislature passes a new bill regarding memorial days and festivals.

The draft legislation proposed by the Ministry of the Interior would add one more day to the Lunar New Year holidays if New Year's Eve falls on a Tuesday.

The ministry also plans to upgrade the legal status of the Statute Regarding Memorial Days and Festivals (紀念日及節日實施條例) from a statute to a law.

Lunar New Year's Day falls on Saturday, Feb. 17, next year.

Speculation has mounted recently that the government had plans to stretch the four-day holiday to nine days, linking the New Year weekend with the following weekend.

Central Personnel Administration (CPA) Minister Chou Hung-hsien (周弘憲) yesterday told the legislature's Organic Laws and Statutes Committee that the agency has not yet come to a conclusion on the matter.

Following the stir caused by an earlier decision on national holidays, Chou said that the administration has developed a set of consistent principles to decide whether to extend national holidays in the future.

One more day is most likely to be added to a national holiday if it falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday to turn the vacation into a long weekend, Chou said.

The administration generated public outcry and traffic congestion after it decided to add one extra day to the Mid-Autumn Festival, which fell on Friday, Oct. 6, while Double Ten National Day fell on the following Tuesday.

The administration has claimed that the decision was made in response to pressure from the public and lawmakers. The announcement came 10 days before the holiday break.

However, some people questioned the decision as a political maneuver aimed at foiling a nationwide strike organized by the campaign to oust President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).

Chou apologized again for causing inconvenience to the public and promised to plan ahead for the next major holiday.

Regarding whether to prolong next year's Lunar New Year holidays as well as other national holidays, Chou said the administration sent out a questionaire yesterday and hoped to make a final decision at the end of next month.

Meanwhile, the legislative committee reviewed next year's funding requested by the administration, and decided to slash it by NT$22.5 million (US$703,125).

The administration originally projected next year's revenues would be NT$47.2 million and expenses, NT$5.4 billion.

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