The government has signed off on a proposal that will grant state employees six days off for an extended holiday which will begin in late April.
To celebrate what will be the Hung Kings' Temple Festival, which pays tribute to the traditional founders of the nation, and the Liberation Day on April 30 that marked the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and the Labor Day, state employees will have six days off -- from April 28 to May 3, the labor ministry said in a statement Monday.
They will work on Saturday, April 25, in lieu, the statement said. It asked that state agencies strictly adhere to the adjusted work schedules.
The labor ministry had submitted two options for this holiday -- 6 days or 8days -- to the government for consideration, saying it was in favor of an 8-day break. But the government eventually opted for the six-day option as state employees just got nine days off for Tet (Lunar New Year), Vietnam’s biggest holiday, last month.
During the Tet break, 536 traffic accidents occurred across Vietnam, killing 317 and injuring 509 others, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee. That was the highest number of traffic deaths during Tet the country has recorded over the past three years, the committee said.
Over the past years, there have been concerns that long, extended holidays may affect businesses and the people as it is difficult to get anything done in many state agencies.
But proponents of those holidays say Vietnam and Singapore share the lowest number of public holidays in Southeast Asia--11 days. Meanwhile, Cambodians enjoy 28 days off, Malaysians and the Filipinos have 21 days, Thais 18 days, or Laotians 13 days.
Given that, the extended holidays “will certainly serve to boost domestic tourism and also outbound tourism in the region as many Vietnamese and expats prefer to go to place like Thailand and Philippines as they offer something different and are often cheaper than travelling within Vietnam,” Kenneth Atkinson, chairman of the Vietnam Business Forum’s Tourism Working Group, told Thanh Nien News.
Critics argue, however, that in a country where labor productivity is among the lowest in the Asia – Pacific region -- according to the International Labor Organization -- any expansion of holiday days should be spread throughout the year.