Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Portugal Gets Back 4 Public Holidays in Anti-austerity Drive

By on January 8, 2016

LISBON, Portugal – Happy days are here again in Portugal – four of them, at least.

The country’s new Socialist government got Parliament’s approval Friday to discard one of the most unpopular legacies of a recent austerity drive and bring back four public holidays that were cut two years ago.

The decision means holidays this year on All Saints’ Day; Corpus Christi; Oct. 5, commemorating the 1910 establishment of the Portuguese Republic; and Dec. 1, marking Portugal’s 1640 return to independence after 60 years of Spanish rule.

Portugal returns to 13 official public holidays a year, though workers often get 14 because many employers grant an unofficial day off at Carnival. The average in the 28-nation European Union is 10.6 public holidays per year, according to the EU.

The holidays were cut by the previous center-right coalition government in an attempt to improve productivity after debt-heavy Portugal received a 78 billion-euro ($84.8 billion) bailout in 2011 during Europe’s financial crisis. Parties in that government called for an evaluation of the measures to be carried out before it is scrapped, but ridding Portugal of austerity is a badge of honor for the new government which, backed by the Communist Party and radical Left Bloc, took power in November.

Economists say it’s hard to calculate accurately the consequences of altering the number of days off because so many variable factors are involved.

By The Associated Press

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