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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.