In December 2018 MPs from an alliance of the PSL (Polish Peasants Party) and the UED (European Democrats Party) submitted to the Sejm the idea of adding two days to the list of Public Holidays – specifically Christmas Eve and Good Friday. Even though the Bill is yet to be debated in Parliament it already is highly controversial.
Why Christmas Eve and Good Friday off?
The arguments used by the proponents of this ordinance are that on those days many people take a day off anyway, not to mention that many managers close their businesses at least two hours earlier too. MPs from the PSL and UED parties also point to the results of a poll on the praca.pl website, where close to 25% of the respondents declared that on 24.12 they will leave work earlier. Politicians also uphold Good Friday to be an important day for Catholics, the dominant Faith in Poland; this day is part of the Paschal Triduum, the three days commemorating the Martyrdom of Jesus Christ. According to CBOS polling agency data some 56% of Poland’s population attends Church Service on Good Friday.
A day off not only in Poland
It is worth of pointing out that Christmas Eve or Good Friday already are Public Holidays in several European Countries. For instance Christmas Eve is a day off in e.g. Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Lithuania, Slovakia, Ireland or Estonia. Whereas Good Friday is a Public Holiday in 15 countries, the list including the United Kingdom, Austria, Cyprus, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Estonia and Sweden.
Would this Act affect Public Funds?
The authors of this legislative initiative do not expect this Act to have any impact on the budgets of Local Self Government. However, the two new days off might reduce State Budget revenue from VAT by possibly up to 600 million Zloty. Nevertheless the quoted sum is only a rough estimate, the exact effects of the new legislation being impossible to predict with any degree of certainty.
Polish people are one of the most hardworking nations in the world
According to OECD data Polish people are near the top of the global “time at work” ranking– in 2016 an average Polish person had spent 1928 hours at work, this placing Poland in 7th position on the list. Only Mexicans, Costa Ricans, Greeks, Chileans and Russians ranked higher than Poles. However, one should keep in mind that working hours and productivity need not be directly related. As the proposed legislation is still in the Sejm, it is difficult to say if more Public Holidays will actually bring about higher productivity.