An Extra Day Of Freedom Causes A Lot Of Complaints

As I drove to and from work today I had heard the news that here in BC, our provincial government has decided after many many years of not having any extra statuatory holidays in February, to actually give us an extra paid day off! This will take place on the second monday of February starting in 2014.  How kind!
See http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/367238–date-for-family-day-set and http://www.globaltvbc.com/new+family+day+holiday+starts+next+year/6442649670/story.html .

Another extra day per year where I can stay home and enjoy my own time? Sign me up! Family Day its being called. Thats awesome! I strongly believe that people do need to spend much more time with their families. God knows most are lucky to get 14 – 21 days of scheduled freedom per year outside of weekends to actually spend time doing what they enjoy. That is, if they can get weekends off to begin with.

So color me surprised when I heard scores of comments leaning towards the negatory on this added day off. I had to give my head a shake as I head callers giving their thoughts on how the government completely screwed up. Anyone who is anyone already knows that the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario have their family days on the third monday of February. Oh the scandal! How dare we not have the same day off to match them.

A constant issue with this mismatch is that people will not be able to have their families from other provinces come to visit them because our long weekend will not match with theirs. They “cannot join you”. Now this is just a general sentiment that I garnered from reading online comments and listening to responses on the radio. But pardon me if I am slightly bewildered. Do people not normally go head over heels for long weekends? Labour Day, May Long Weekend et al are HUGE simply because it provides people with just one extra day of freedom. And whats best is that they can get paid for it!

Yet, here we get another statuatory holiday and all there is is grumbling. Why is it that these people who are being so hard done by cannot simply go to their family in other provinces? I’m very sure it would be a great time for all and they could have that extra day to make their way back home in time to get back to the grind. Why do their family members have to come out to them? Even if they do, their family’s long weekend will allow them to come here for the weekend and they would have an extra day to get home. If indeed it is that one extra day thats stopping people from going to visit other provinces then this should help the situation, shouldn’t it?

From a business standpoint there is more negative.

Whether the business is open or not open, people are being paid effectively for not working. If they do have to work on a stat holiday they will be paid a substantial overtime premium,” he explain. “Either way, it raises the costs of maintaining people on payroll.”
– Jock Finlayson of the BC Business Council

Now in no way am I disagreeing that an extra stat day can cause more expenses for standard employers. In fact its a huge concern. One of the biggest expenses of any employer is their employees. And with rising costs for pretty much everything, the last thing an employer wants to do is have to pay their employees more. Especially when they’re sitting at home being unproductive. But you would think that with an extra day off, and a paid one at that, these families with the extra free time will be out possibly spending a little bit more on goods or services. Unfortunately for these business’ discretionary spending is going down in response to the overwhelming debt concerns of the average Canadian.

So, we get an extra free day and the business associations are upset. Regular employees are upset – what gives? I would imagine the fact that many familes can’t or won’t budget to go fly out to Ontario which is why they’re upset their families will now not come out to them. Why they won’t come out may be based on a similar situation possibly. Each side has an extra day off. I may even be so bold as to question their desire to want to see each other if one little day not matching up is going to stop this momentuous reunion from occurring.

There are probably many valid reasons and many excuses why this free day off is just unacceptable. I, for one don’t want to have a valid reason or a valid excuse to not go and see my family. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to have the government give me an extra day, and if I’m lucky, choose to have that day match other Family Days in other provinces to be able to make it work.

As a business owner, I love the fact that this extra stat day will not cost me a penny extra in employment costs. This is a fundamental reason why many companies are doing their best to drive their customers online to shop for their products. Less need for employees to show up to work to get paid valuable dollars in this recessionary market.
Yet the business model I participate in is questioned and second guessed to the hills.

And so it is with a surprised but bemused look on my face that I turn off my radio, get out of my car, and head out to get around some of the most uplifting, positive people that I know. Because if another free day off won’t fire up the regular working joe, god help us all.

~ Cameron

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