I love holidays. But I never like the way the Government (here and elsewhere) assigns national holidays. The Coordinating Minister of Social Welfare just announced the national holidays and joint leave ('cuti bersama') days schedule for 2008. The total number of days is 23. That means Indonesians (i.e. government officials, some schools, and others who follow this instruction) will only work around 11 months (and usually get paid for 13 months worth of salary -- or more). But that is not my main concern. My concern is twofold that follows:
First, the idea of giving a leave to an employee is, well, to give him a leave so he can forget about work for a while and instead get some pleasure and come back fully charged. But when I get tired, you are not necessarily in the same position. Likewise, when I am in the mood for traveling, you might be in your peak productivity time. It makes sense for me to take my leave and get some rest. But it does not make sense to make you have to take your leave, too, the same time as I do. Because you might want/have to work or you just have set a plan to spend your holidays sometime else. The 'cuti bersama' policy thinks you and I are identical. And that's wrong. It forces you to reduce your vacation days, whether you like it or not.
Second, it is true that I want a holiday to observe my holy day -- I mean religious holy day. And I think it is fair if you have holiday to observe yours. But why a particular religious holy day is assigned as national holiday in the sense that both you and me and everybody else are supposed to observe it? I guess the reason is because assigning national stamp to an obviously not national thing, like religion (and ethnic), is always troublesome. For example: Why do you give six days to moslems but only one for buddhists? Why do you assign national holiday for imlek but not for Javanese new year, even though each have its own calendar? That is why, I think, the Government decides to make each particular non-national special day national -- as in 'jointly observed'. As a result, we have way too many holidays.
Alright you complainer, you ask me. What is your solution?
Here is an idea. Just give 20 days to employees each year for leave. Let them decide what and when they want to use them for: leisure, travel, celebrating Ied Days, Christmas, etc. Only assign one national holiday: Independence Day (see, I can be nationalist, too!)
OK, when is my next holiday?