Public holidays play a vital role for workers around the world, from offering time for relaxation with family and friends to paying tribute to religious customs, meeting civic obligations like voting, commemorating significant historical events, fostering cultural solidarity and more. However, managing a global workforce involves navigating the complexity of diverse statutory holidays, which vary across different regions worldwide.
GoGlobal recently released its updated 2024 International Public Holiday Guide, designed to assist HR departments in navigating the holiday calendars of their international teams. This comprehensive guide encompasses over 90 countries, analyzing their holiday schedules and offering valuable insights beneficial for international companies in workforce planning and ensuring business continuity.
For companies with global reach, it’s crucial to explore the holiday entitlements of current and prospective employees in the regions where they operate or plan expansion. GoGlobal’s HR at a Glance country guides also cover these holiday schedules for quick reference.
Here are some intriguing facts and observations about various public holidays
- The Lunar New Year will be celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, starting from February 9, 2024. The non-working days associated with this holiday vary across these countries.
- The Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the subsequent festival of Eid al-Fitr are observed differently in various countries, influenced by cultural customs. Ramadan begins at sundown on Sunday, March 10, 2024 and will conclude on April 8, 2024. Eid al-Fitr traditionally commences at sundown upon the sighting of the crescent moon on the preceding night.
- Public holiday observance within a country can differ by state, territory or province. For instance, the first Monday of August is a public holiday in many Canadian areas and is known by various names like Civic Holiday, August Holiday or Provincial Day. However, in some parts of Canada, this stands as a regular workday.
- While Labor Day coincides with International Workers’ Day on May 1 in most countries, exceptions exist such as in the US where Labor Day falls on the first Monday of September.
- Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26, is observed in the UK and several former British Empire countries. In some regions, it may be referred to as the Second Day of Christmas.
- Apart from Christmas, many countries also observe the Epiphany (Three Kings’ Day) on January 6, 2024.
- Countries with significant Eastern Orthodox Christian populations, like Egypt and Ukraine, may observe Christmas on January 7, 2024 in accordance with the Julian calendar.
- Thanksgiving celebrations are observed on various dates in different countries like Croatia (August 5, 2024), Canada (October 15, 2024), Japan (November 23, 2024) and the US (November 28, 2024).
- Mother’s Day is a public holiday in Lithuania (May 5, 2024) and Costa Rica (August 15, 2024), while Father’s Day is observed in Lithuania (June 2, 2024) and Thailand (December 5, 2024), coinciding with H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great’s Birthday.
- In numerous countries, if a holiday falls on a weekend, the non-working day is usually observed on an alternate date.
Additionally, here are some suggestions for managing holiday time for a cross-border workforce
- Local Customs and Traditions: Understanding and respecting local customs and traditions associated with holidays in different regions can significantly impact employee morale and company culture. Being sensitive to these cultural nuances can foster a more inclusive and understanding work environment.
- Communication and Planning: Effective communication is key. Ensuring clarity around holiday policies, informing employees well in advance about holiday schedules and accommodating diverse religious or cultural observances can help avoid misunderstandings or disruptions in workflow.
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexibility in work arrangements – such as remote work options or flexible schedules – can accommodate employees’ needs and preferences during holidays, especially in regions where certain holidays may hold significant cultural or religious importance.
- Global Calendar Integration: Creating a centralized global calendar that highlights holidays across all regions where the company operates can assist in better planning, coordination and scheduling, taking into account various time zones and local holidays.
- Employee Well-being and Productivity: Acknowledging the impact of holidays on employee well-being and productivity is crucial. Understanding how different cultures perceive holidays and the potential effects on employee engagement and performance can help in creating supportive policies.
- Holiday Pay and Compensation: Understanding the norms and regulations related to holiday pay and compensation in each country is essential. Complying with local requirements regarding holiday pay ensures fair treatment of employees across different regions.
- Cultural Sensitivity Training: Providing cultural sensitivity training to managers and employees can help them understand and appreciate the significance of various holidays celebrated by colleagues across different cultures, fostering a more inclusive and respectful work environment.
- Emergency Support and Coverage: Having contingency plans in place for unexpected situations or emergencies during holidays – including adequate staffing, emergency contacts and support systems – is crucial to ensure business continuity and support for employees in need.
- Continuous Review and Adaptation: It is important to regularly assess holiday policies, gather feedback from employees across diverse regions, stay current on statutory holiday guidelines and adjust policies accordingly.
GoGlobal is your partner for staying current on public holidays and other HR requirements around the world. Check out our 2024 International Public Holiday Guide or contact us to talk with an international HR expert.