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Javier González Navarro
The one thing labor and management ought to agree on, said Javier González Navarro, is that national holidays should fall on Mondays. Workers like Monday holidays because they get a three-day weekend. Businesses like them even more, because their workers are likely to actually show up for the other four workdays that week. The way it is now, Spanish workers have perfected the art of “bridging,” or calling in sick for the days between the weekend and the holiday. If a holiday falls on a Thursday, everyone calls in sick on Friday; if it falls on a Tuesday, you can bet on an empty office Monday morning. Bridging costs Spain’s “already battered economy” an estimated $3.7 billion a year. This past May had three holidays on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so you could pretty much write off the whole month. There’s also a moral cost; when those of us lucky enough to have jobs don’t bother to show up, “we’re sending a bad message as a country.” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy promised last year to change the days we observe national holidays, preserving only Christmas, New Year’s, and Columbus Day on their actual dates. It’s high time he acted on that promise. With the economy barely limping along, Spain needs all the productivity it can get. Continued bridging “makes us look bad on the international stage.”
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