Public-holiday switch set for 2012 approval

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 February, 2011, 12:00am

A move to switch major public holidays from Saturdays to Mondays so the growing number of people working five days a week benefit from them should become law early next year. If lawmakers approve the plan, employees will get their first extra Monday off in 2013.

The change will apply to the public holidays for Lunar New Year's Day and the day after the Mid-Autumn Festival. Currently, if either of these days fall on a Sunday the public holiday granted for them is brought forward a day, to Saturday. In future, the holiday would be pushed back by a day, to Monday.

If any of the first three days of a lunar new year fall on a Sunday, the fourth day of the lunar new year will also be a public holiday.

The Labour Department explained in a report why it is proposing to bring in the changes (by amending the Employment Ordinance).

'Many employees now enjoy days off on Saturdays and Sundays. Besides, it has been common for many employers to release their employees early from duty on Lunar New Year's Eve and the Mid-Autumn Festival.'

The Legislative Council panel on manpower will discuss the proposal on Thursday, after the Labour Advisory Board gave the idea its unanimous support. The department plans to introduce the bill in the next legislative session and expects it to become law by early next year.

It did not say how it would respond should anyone call for public holidays that fall on Saturdays to be switched to weekdays.