Well, then: Oops. What last month we said was going to happen, this month was made official. China has scrapped May holiday, one of its three Golden Weeks, and turned three traditional festivals into national holidays. Here’s how your official 2008 Chinese holiday schedule now looks:
- New Year’s Day: January 1
- Spring Festival: February 6,7 and 8 (Wednesday-Friday)
- Tomb Sweeping Day (Qingming Jie, 清明节): April 4 (Friday)
- Labor Day: May 1 (Thursday)
- Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Jie, 端午節): June 8 (Sunday)
- Mid-Atumn Festival (Zhongqiu Jie, 中秋节): September 14 (Sunday)
- National Day: October 1, 2 and 3 (Wednesday-Friday)
We would assume that the two holidays that fall on Sundays would result in Monday being the day off, but we didn’t read anything that said for sure. These changes were made in part to help lessen the travel crunch that occurs during the Golden Weeks — but it remains to be seen whether the two remaining Golden Weeks will just be worse now that May holiday is gone. Another reason was to restore and maintain some old Chinese traditions, thus the additions of Qingming, Duanwu and Zhongqiu. And for all you traditionalists out there, we bet that lots of people in China will still have to work on weekends to get some weekdays off next year — genius ideas like that just shouldn’t be tampered with.
One move that could actually help alleviate Golden Week crowds are the changes made to vacation day regulations, which also go into effect on January 1:
If you have worked with a company 1-9 years, you get five vacation days; 10-19 years, 10 vacation days; 20 or more years, 15 days
And supposedly if you don’t take the vacation days, you get paid three-times your normal salary for those days. We think the above guidelines are mandatory minimums, and they pertain to all kinds of China based companies, not just state-owned enterprises. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a real job, so we could be getting this all wrong, but we believe previously there were vacation day regulations for SOE employees, but they varied from region to region, and no clear-cut guidelines existed for other kinds of companies. Now at least there are official rules that can now officially be ignored. But maybe some workers will choose to take their precious vacation days — five days for nine years of service kinda sucks — during times other than the official holidays. And maybe some will spend their vacations looking for jobs that offer more vacation days.
Image from People’s Daily.