Saturday, April 25, 2009

Paid holidays on parade

Did I mention that Thursday was a state holiday too?

If you read the last few posts you may have noticed that we just had three paid holidays in less than 15 days. Gotta love Brazil!

April 10th was a holiday for Good Friday. The day before, Holy Thursday, was what is referred to as an “optional” holiday. It’s not required, but your boss can choose to close up shop. So many people have had four paid holidays in less than 15 days.

Then April 21st was Tiradentes Day celebrating an historic national hero (see earlier post.)

Just two days later, April 23rd was a holiday in celebration of St. George, patron saint of Rio de Janeiro state. (Only workers in Rio state get the day off.) Sounds like a reason to hit the beach. Works for me.

Coming from the United States where you are lucky to have one holiday a month – and there are in fact less than that – I gotta say the Brazilian approach to work/life balance seems much more civilized.

The down side, however, is that you have to plan ahead if you are expecting to get anything accomplished. Luiz recently renegotiated our cell phone/home phone/internet contract (to our significant financial advantage) and needed to convert phone numbers on our phones. Unfortunately he forgot about the hop scotch week of holidays. What should have taken 24 hours to complete the conversions took nearly four days and several trips to the phone store. The very polite, if clueless, teenager behind the counter just kept smiling and saying, “It’s because of the holidays.”

Now we are just 6 days away from May 1st - May Day. You guessed it: a national holiday!

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