Friday, February 11, 2005

Jordanians Get Too Many Holidays!

According to economist Fahed Fanek, Jordanians enjoy too many holidays, with some taking up to 150 days a year, including weekends, which is “double the average number of holidays in more developed countries”. The economist estimates the national loss in production opportunity of each day off at JD22 million.
“If every Jordanian worker takes 16 days off on national and religious holidays, 21 days as entitled by law, 14 for sick leave, two emergency leaves, two snow holidays, and add to that 52 Fridays and 52 Saturdays, then every worker is getting up to 150 days off out of 356 days a year,” Fanek told The Jordan Times. He said Jordanians should not have so many religious holidays, which amount to approximately 10 days a year, because the religions themselves do not ask their followers to do so on all these religious occasions. “If they still need to attend to socio-religious responsibilities, they can do that on their own time,” he said.
And according to Mohammad Ismail, a Muslim scholar and expert in Islamic law, even Friday is not a “mandatory” holiday. Muslims are free to work or to rest on that day, he said. “The rule in Islam is that it is a collective duty for the Muslim nation to invest its time and money in activities that yield benefit to the community,” he said. Excessive time out, he said, is a violation of this rule. Via: Jordan Times

I understand the concern of Fahd Fanekand, he’s right, but he’s looking at it from the economical perspective only. The development of a country shouldn’t be measured by its revenues and its economical situation alone. There are many other factors that should be taken into consideration, like the well-being of the population, and the equal chances to all members of society, which are factors that affect the development and economy of a country.
In our time, people have become slaves to economy. Employees are slaves to employers, employers are slaves to country profit… country is a slave to economy.
On the other hand, and although I agree with what Mohammad Ismail said, yet this applies in an ideal Islamic society where all fields of life of Muslims are supervised by the rules of Islam. But when we live in a time where your bank account is what you equal in society, and when your last name is what qualifies you to get a job, and when employers treat employees like trash, and employees are anything but loyal to their employers (all considered violations of Islamic rules) then I guess we shouldn’t be shocked to witness the violation of the Islamic rule concerning holidays and work.

Unless people start reconsidering their way of life, their relationships with each other, and unless they stick to their religions- whatever their religions were- then the situation in their countries will continue to worsen. So the solution is in root problems, and not in the surface ones. Instead of asking for less days off, let’s know why people look for more holidays? If they were happy in their jobs, wouldn’t few days off be enough? if they felt fair treatment in society, wouldn’t they be loyal and more productive giving their best to increase the profit of their countries? If they're well motivated wouldn't they give their best? If the country is well prepared for snow and heavy rain, would schools fear the responsibility of asking children to come? If people were truly religious, would they waste their time with holidays instead of building up their communities? I think it’s about time we think of these questions… And I’m sure when we stick to the right answers, more and more people will be caring for the interest of their countries just like Fahd Fanek is.

One last point, if anyone thinks the holidays in Jordan are too many, then they don’t know Tunisia yet ;)