I recently found out there are two types of holiday in Hong Kong: public and statutory, and certain workers, usually those in “blue-collar” jobs, are entitled only to the 12 statu­tory holidays, out of the 17 public holidays. While the office “white-collar” workers enjoy their Good Friday and Easter weekend, the office cleaner has to work during the public holidays without salary or leave compensation.

Union demands government approves statutory 17 public holidays to all Hong Kong workers

Hong Kong is already one of the least equitable societies in the developed world, does it have to wear its social injustice like a badge of honour? I can’t be the only one who finds this odious.

In imperial China, people took holidays from work on traditional feast days such as the New Year and winter solstice, as well as government-sanctioned public holidays like Confucius’ birthday, birthdays of the emperor and important members of the imperial family, and so on. Commoners were given more leeway to decide on the number of rest days they took, in contrast to government officials in the employ of the state.

Labour Day marchers demand all of Hong Kong’s public holidays be made mandatory

During the Han period (206BC-AD220), officials had a day off after every five days to “rest and bathe”. By the Sui dynasty (581-618), the “work week” was extended to 10 consecutive days followed by one rest day. In the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1912), rest days were abolished altogether and officials no longer enjoyed regular breaks, though they could still call in sick or take leave of absence for weddings and funerals.