Portugal’s Budget Cut: Public Holidays

(Photo: Juan Pablo de la Cruz G.)

The BBC reports that Portugal will be cutting 4 of its 14 public holidays as an “austerity measure”:

Two religious festivals and two other public holidays will be suspended for five years from 2013.

The decision over which Catholic festivals to cut was negotiated with the Vatican.

It is hoped the suspension of the public holidays will improve competitiveness and boost economic activity.

The four days affected are All Saints Day on 1 November; Corpus Christi, which falls 60 days after Easter; 5 October, which commemorates the formation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910; and 1 December, which marks Portuguese independence from Spanish rule in 1640.

A recent report on British public holidays (they have nine) finds that the holidays cost the British economy more than £18 billion ($29 billion) — about £2.3 billion ($3.7 billion) on average. The researchers noted that while shops and restaurants benefit, all other sectors lose out, resulting in a net loss. It makes you wonder about Austria, the country with the most holidays in the world. This excellent graphic from The Economist indicates that Greece is second on the list.

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  1. Griff says:

    We Brits get an EXTRA holiday this year for the Queen’s Jubilee (also had one last year for the Royal Wedding)… God Save the Queen!

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  2. Alex Blaze says:

    Wow, that chart would almost convince me that required vacation days has little relationship to GDP growth (although maybe more vacation is related to greater per person GDP, if you take out the US and Canada). But we all know that the current crisis in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Ireland is a result of a Calvinist moral failure, so clearly “more vacation = more recession” no matter what the numbers actually say.

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  3. frankenduf says:

    this just in- sleep costs Spain @ 20 billion euros!- so much for sleep and productivity studies…

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  4. howard says:

    Notice that for the US there is no mandatory minimum number of vacation days.
    They just pick a “typical” number.
    This results in an inappropriate comparison for the U.S.

    Would have been fine to compare public holidays.

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  5. Eric M. Jones. says:

    I for one think NYC should stop celebrating Ko?ciuszko Day.

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    • Meredith says:

      Absolutely not! The Polish are entitled to Kosciuszko Day as much as any other ethnicity are entitled to days that revere figures of their nationality…

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  6. Jon VP says:

    Shocking! Not working leads to lower productivity?

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  7. Ravi says:

    The chart is misleading for India for sure. The typical workweek in India is 6 days and not 5 days. A chart with average number of work days per year would have been more appropriate.

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  8. Nomar says:

    Well seeing how a year usually has north of 250 workdays, I don’t think adding an extra four will not increase productivity by any significant amount. Likely, the hit to public morale will turn this into a net negative instead.

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