Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ministry ‘open’ to 9-day Lunar New Year break talks

Staff writer, with CNA

The Ministry of the Interior will be open to discussions on whether the annual Lunar New Year holiday should be nine days long, an official said at a public hearing yesterday.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Pasuya Yao (姚文智), who organized the public hearing at the Legislative Yuan, said that making the Lunar New Year holiday nine days long would help promote the tourism industry, solve traffic problems and allow workers to be fully rested.

Lo Su-chuan (羅素娟), an official from the ministry’s Department of Civil Affairs who took part in the meeting, said that according to regulations, the Lunar New Year holiday includes one day for Lunar New Year’s Eve and three days for the Lunar New Year. However, the public may have six or nine days off with adjacent weekends and a minor adjustment of working days.

Hence, if the regulations on Lunar New Year holidays remain unchanged, there will be four years with nine-day Lunar New Year holidays and six years with six-day-long holidays in the next 10 years, Lo said.

She added that arbitrarily setting Lunar New Year holidays to nine days may be complicated, but the ministry would be open to discuss the issue.

Chiu Chiu-hui (邱求慧), chief secretary of the Industrial Development Bureau, told the hearing that with one additional day of holiday, the total labor costs for the industrial sector may increase by NT$8.6 billion (US$284 million).

Costs may also increase in the commercial sector, but it could also benefit from more purchases, Chiu said.

However, Chiu said that with a nine-day break, many people may travel abroad instead of spending their money domestically.

She added that for each day off, small and medium-sized businesses may have a total increase in costs of NT$4 billion, and a revenue drop of NT$31 billion.

Tourism Bureau official Chang Fu-nan (張富南), on the other hand, said that he would be “happy to see it [a nine-day holiday],” because the longer a break is, the more it would benefit the tourism industry.

For example, the total revenue for the tourism industry during this year’s six-day break was NT$19.3 billion, compared with NT$28.3 billion last year when there was a nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, Chang said.

Hsu Fu-sheng (徐福聲) of the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau said that the bureau has successfully handled both six-day and nine-day Lunar New Year holidays, and thus has no comment on the issue.

Taiwan Labor and Social Policy Research Association executive director Chang Feng-yi (張烽益) said it would be better if both employers and employees could know the length of Lunar New Year holidays.

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