The government and lawmakers proposed several potential changes this week to the public holiday calendar and the guidelines for how it is set, following criticism over a cluster of six-day work weeks caused by holiday “make-up” days.
When a public holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, the government makes arrangements to turn it into an extended holiday weekend, but then designates a Saturday in another week as a make-up work day.
Due to the calendar this year, holidays had an unusually high number of make-up days — including two last month and one this month — which has sparked criticism over the frequent six-day work weeks.
Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times
The guidelines for adjusting the public holiday calendar were set in 2013 by the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration.
The system worked “smoothly” during its first 10 years, and having six make-up days this year is “irregular,” the agency’s Deputy Minister Su Chun-jung (蘇俊榮) said on Wednesday.
Based on the guidelines, every year from next year through 2029 would have three or fewer make-up days, while 2030 would again have six, he said.
Due to recent complaints, Su said the government would make “balanced” adjustments to ensure that there are no more than three make-up days per year.
The agency plans to look at several options to maintain that cap, such as by not arranging extended four-day weekends for certain holidays, he said.
It would hold consultations with other government ministries, with the aim of submitting a final proposal to the Cabinet by the end of May, Su said.
Amid the focus on this issue, lawmakers from different parties have proposed a public holiday act, which would raise the number of public holidays from 11 to anywhere between 12 and 24.
The New Power Party proposed recognizing 19 public holidays, with additions including the day after New Year’s Day (Jan. 2); Freedom of Speech Day (April 7); Earth Day (April 22); International Workers’ Day (May 1); and Human Rights Day, which is also Meilidao Incident Memorial Day (Dec. 10).
Lawmakers from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have called for the recognition of 823 Artillery Battle Memorial Day (Aug. 23), World Environment Day (June 5), Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Aug. 1) and International Migrants Day (Dec. 18) as public holidays.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers proposed designating World Environment Day, Commemoration Day of the Lifting of Martial Law (July 15), International Migrants’ Day and National Hakka Day (Dec. 28), among others, as public holidays.
It is appropriate for public holidays and memorial days to come under regular review and “change with the times,” Minister of the Interior Lin Yu-chang (林右昌) said in a hearing at the legislature on Thursday.
However, given the range of sectors that would be affected by a policy change, and the differing views on the subject, “more discussion is needed to reach a consensus,” he said.
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