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Private Sector Employees Voice Concerns Over Lack of Public Holidays

โ€ฆ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’‘๐’‚๐’“๐’Š๐’•๐’š ๐’Š๐’ ๐’‘๐’–๐’ƒ๐’๐’Š๐’„ ๐’‰๐’๐’๐’Š๐’…๐’‚๐’š๐’”, ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’“๐’† ๐’‡๐’“๐’Š๐’†๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’Š๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’• ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’† ๐’‘๐’“๐’Š๐’—๐’‚๐’•๐’† ๐’”๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’๐’“๐’” ๐’†๐’๐’‹๐’๐’š ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’† ๐’๐’‡๐’‡, ๐’๐’†๐’‚๐’—๐’†๐’” ๐’–๐’” ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’Œ๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’Š๐’“๐’†๐’๐’†๐’”๐’”๐’๐’š ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰๐’๐’–๐’• ๐’ƒ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’Œ๐’”, ๐’‚๐’…๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’†๐’๐’š ๐’Š๐’Ž๐’‘๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’˜๐’†๐’๐’-๐’ƒ๐’†๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ

Sonam Deki

A significant number of private sector employees working in hotels, restaurants, cafes, and shops have expressed dissatisfaction over what they perceive as a lack of public holidays, highlighting disparities compared to other private companies and government organizations.

Many employees in the hospitality and retail sectors have raised concerns about the absence of sufficient public holidays, citing a feeling of deprivation when compared to their counterparts in different industries. One employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, said, “It’s disheartening to see our friends in other private companies and government offices enjoying public holidays, while we are often required to work without the same privileges.”

Kuenga Dorji, a hotel employee, voiced his frustration, saying, “It’s disheartening to see our friends in government jobs or even some private companies enjoying more public holidays. We often find ourselves working tirelessly without a break, and it’s taking a toll on our well-being.”

Leki Dorji, a private sector employee, expressed, “We would be willing to work even on public holidays if we were compensated double our regular pay for those days. Unfortunately, this is not the case, employers expect us to work, and if we seek leave on a public holiday, they deduct our salary.”

The sentiment is shared by numerous workers in the service industry, where long working hours and demanding schedules are already commonplace. Leki Yangden, a waitress at one of the cafe in Thimphu, expressed her concerns, stating, “We work hard to provide excellent service to our customers, but it feels like our dedication is not being reciprocated. Having more public holidays would not only boost morale but also allow us some much-needed rest.”

“It feels like we’re working non-stop in the hospitality industry, but when it comes to public holidays, it’s as if we’re forgotten. We deserve some time to recharge too. While others enjoy their days off, we’re here serving customers without a break. It’s disheartening to see the imbalance in holiday policies between private sector businesses like ours and government organizations”, Sangay Dorji, a hotelier shared the same sentiment.

The Labour and Employment Act contain provisions regarding public holidays for employees in NGOs, as well as the private and corporate sectors. According to Section 108, ‘An employee is entitled to a minimum of 9 public holidays each year, inclusive of the birth anniversary of His Majesty the King and the National Day. These holidays are to be taken as leave with pay, based on the employee’s normal rate of pay from their most recent pay period.’

Section 109 states that ‘An employer may agree with his or her employees to substitute a public holiday under section 108 with another public holiday.’

Additionally, Section 110 specifies that ‘If an employee is required to work by the employer on a public holiday, the employer shall pay an additional 50% of the employee’s normal rate of pay.’

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