Move midweek holidays to Fridays to increase productivity and promote domestic tourism
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Averagely, there are 13 public holidays in Ghana every year. While these public holidays remain important and life-enhancing occasions in the history of our country, the underlying truth is that some of these holidays rather have negative impacts on our national output. This petition is thus intended to call on the appropriate authorities Ghana to restructure our public holidays to attain a balance and optimize them for the development of our country.
With the exception of Farmers’ Day which falls specifically on Fridays and Easter Holidays that fall specifically on Fridays and Mondays, all other holidays in Ghana can fall on any other day within the week.
The observation is that holidays that fall on Friday or Monday (resulting in 3-days weekend or extended weekend) stimulates economic activities, especially in tourism and hospitality industry: Hotels get overbooked, beaches get crowded, buses that ply long distance routes get busy, there are lots of organised/group tours, shopping centres get filled up with patrons, tourist sites get busy, and many people engage in family and friends reunion activities. On the contrary, when a holiday falls in the middle of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday), the day becomes almost useless and rather disrupt business and production schedules. Honestly, how many of us would be interested in using a Tuesday holiday to embark on a long-distance tour when we know that we have to be at work on Wednesday?
We are therefore using this petition to call on the President of Republic of Ghana to exercise his powers under Section 3 (Substituted Holidays) of the Holidays Act 2001 (Act 601) which mandates the President to, by Executive Instrument, declare any other day to be observed as a public holiday instead of the original day. The same powers that the President uses to move holidays from Saturday or Sunday to Monday should be exercised to move midweek holidays to Fridays. So, instead of employees staying at home on a holiday that falls on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, we want to go to work on these days and stay home on the Friday. This arrangement won’t affect the spirit of the celebration of the holiday as whatever needs to be done in commemoration can be done on the original day while employees are at post. Some specific holidays, like the 6th March Independence Day and other religious holidays, can be exempted from this policy to prevent tinkering with historical dates by executive fiat.
What happens if holidays are left in the middle of the week without moving them to the nearest Friday is that, employees have to switch from vacation mode to work mode more than necessary within a week. We are in the end, humans; we take a bit of time, and especially need momentum, to get up to our optimal working rhythm pace. It therefore makes more business sense to ensure that work days are as continuous as possible to reduce disruption to business and production schedules.
By moving midweek holidays to Fridays, we will also have the comfort and convenience to enjoy longer weekends and have common schedule for group’s holiday trips. As more people have the convenience to visit tourist destinations, the hospitality industry will prosper. When more people engage in outdoor activities, there will be increase in consumption which, on the aggregate level, is expected to affect GDP and employment.
In summary, we petition the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Honourable Ministers in charge of Interior, Employment, and Tourism to consider moving midweek holidays to Fridays so as to—
- Offer greater opportunities for families—especially those whose members may be widely separated—to get together.
- Allow Ghanaians greater participation in our hobbies as well as in educational and cultural activities by taking advantage of the three-day span of leisure time
- Improve commercial and industrial production by minimizing midweek holiday interruptions of production schedules and reducing employee absenteeism before and after midweek holidays.
The benefits of stringing holidays together may seem intangible. The benefits of allowing employees to keep their rhythm may be intangible. But it is in this case that the intangible benefits will eventually translate to actual financial savings. The issue is that these are long-term savings, and we must be prepared to think long-term.
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