Thursday, June 04, 2020

Don't begrudge Thais their public holidays

Jan 23. 2015
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Some expatriates here complain that Thailand has too many holidays, this year rising to 16 with the addition of July 31 as a Buddhist Lent Day.
In countries where Saturday is a working day, it is classified as a public holiday when it falls within Easter. This being the case, each year, Canada, the United States and Singapore have 13 public holidays. Germany, France and Malaysia have 14. Indonesia, South Korea, Denmark and Argentina have 15. China has 16. Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom boast that they have only 10, but this overlooks their liberal annual vacation, plus the 52 or so Saturdays each year. Thailand’s Labour Protection Act BE 2551 requires employers to grant one day a week off (usually Sundays here), plus every public holiday (or a day in lieu), plus six days’ vacation each year.
I know of several expatriates who also skip work on the public holidays of their country of origin, such as Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday. Yet those five days are not public holidays in Thailand. 
Few expatriates work on Saturdays in Thailand, either. In addition, how many expatriates would be satisfied with an annual vacation of just six days a year? 
Yet some expatriates begrudge Thais their 16 public holidays plus six days’ vacation. Some even disdain the government’s declaration of an extra day or two added to Songkran and perhaps to the Christmas-New Year period.
If an employer abided strictly by the Labour Act, Thai employees would only get 74 days off a year, plus a few extra days that might be granted by the government. 
How many expatriates would happily accept 74 to 78 days off a year?  
Barry Petersen

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