Swiss unions call for compensation for holidays lost to weekends
Unlike some other countries, when a national holiday lands on a weekend in Switzerland, the day off isn’t moved to a workday. Now, unions across the country have called for holidays on weekends to be carried over as compensation for workers.
May Day and Christmas Day both land on weekends in 2022
2022 has put the issue of weekend holidays into sharp relief. This year, New Year’s Day, May Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day all fall on a Saturday or Sunday. Currently, 85 nations around the world like the United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, Australia and Spain provide compensation if a holiday falls on a weekend.
In a statement, the Swiss Trade Union Federation (SGB) has called for the same to apply to Switzerland. Spokesperson Luca Cirigliano said that the changes to paid leave should be made a priority, as the last two years have seen a wave of important holidays falling on the weekend.
Swiss council lukewarm to moving holidays off weekends
Vice President of the Syna Union, Mandy Zeckra, said, “We demand that public holidays that fall on a non-working Saturday or Sunday must be granted.” She noted that all her workers receive days off in lieu, and hopes the idea will be adopted by international companies, businesses and ultimately the government.
The Federal Council rejected the plans, with former president Guy Parmelin confirming that the government was not open to the change. The plan has also faced criticism from the Swiss People’s Party, with national councillor Barbara Steinemann saying, “There are people who are always looking for a reason not to work.”