Confusion again over holidays...
Vol XXVII NO. 335 Friday 18 February 2005
BY AMIRA AL HUSSAINI
Here we go again! History repeats itself so often in Bahrain. The monotony of the situation is exasperating, to say the least.
Every time a public holiday is announced, we are inundated with telephone calls.
"When is the holiday?" and "How many days for the private sector?" ask callers.
On Wednesday, the government announced that Ashoora would be marked by a three-day holiday, from today until Sunday, with civil servants going back to work on Monday.
What about the private sector ? Do they get the normal two-day holiday? Shall we make that three?
This is causing total confusion with everyone picking up the phone to call the GDN and ask when the holiday for the private sector is.
Well, we don't have a magic answer. The Labour Ministry is not available for a comment and every time the Chamber of Commerce and Industry issues a circular regarding holidays, it specifically says that the holiday announcement is for itself, meaning the private sector may follow suit, if they choose.
The last two Eid holidays caused real confusion, with many people still in limbo as to whether the holidays should have applied to public or private sectors or both.
To mark Eid Al Adha, the chamber jumped the gun and announced that the holiday would begin on Thursday and continue until Sunday - giving private sector workers a total of FOUR days off.
The following day the government announced that the Eid Al Adha holiday would begin on Wednesday and continue until Monday - giving civil servants SIX days off.
Traditionally, Bahrain has always marked the Eid with a three-day holiday. If the holiday period fell on Friday, then we were compensated by an extra day, making the holiday a total of FOUR days.
Now, the government sector must compensate its workers for Thursday - another brilliant idea from our elected parliament.
With more occasions, celebrations and the deaths of national leaders, come more days off.
The real problem here is lack of communication. Why can't the government and private sectors agree upon holidays and decide which days are public ones and which are not.
Surely, some prior announcement would give people - both government and private sector workers - the chance to plan better.
I fully understand that Eid and Ashoora are dictated by a Lunar calendar and depend on moon sightings but come on, they fall within a limited period of time.
The holiday could be announced in advance, provided it embraced the actual Eid day, or whatever occasion it may be.
We surely don't need magicians to come up with such a simple solution.