Make Every Day a Holiday

Dave Killion — June 24, 2012


I think everyone has had a holiday where they caught a cold from someone on the plane, or suffered from a few days of traveler’s diarrhea, and wound up ‘wasting’ some or all of those holidays. Wouldn’t it be nice if those days ‘didn’t count’? Well, if you fall under the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, they don’t

“For most Europeans, almost nothing is more prized than their four to six weeks of guaranteed annual vacation leave. But it was not clear just how sacrosanct that time off was until Thursday, when Europe’s highest court ruled that workers who happened to get sick on vacation were legally entitled to take another vacation.”

I don’t know what the details of the ruling are, so I don’t want to overstate how damaging this could be to the European economy. In the least disastrous scenario I can imagine, a person who has to spend a couple days of a Mexican holiday sitting on a toilet will simply have those days counted against whatever sick time allotment that person has. The worker can then take a couple days off later on. Since the number of sick days and vacation days allotted is fixed, it should all come out even. But it won’t. I know plenty of people who almost never use their sick time, and I expect at least some of them would claim sick time lost while on vacation. That means an increase in the number of non-working days for which an employer must pay, and a loss of productivity for European employers.

Worst of all, it also means that more Spaniards are going to get long, lazy “vacations” soon. Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, and French, too. And when the rioting starts, those people will have plenty of time on their hands and nothing better to do.

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