Friday, November 2, 2012

Spain’s macro-puente productivity problems

Although I found the concept of a “puente” (when a holiday falls on a tuesday or thursday, allowing you a four day weekend if you skip one day of work) kind of cute when I moved here, the productivity implications are pretty horrible. Depending on your job, you may be required to go to work on the regular working day, but good luck getting anything done, because anyone who’s anyone will be gone. In fact, the productivity is lower than during a general strike.

A practical solution is to do what the Americans do and throw off the yoke of the Catholic church and make holidays depend on the day of the week rather than an exact day. You get a certain number holiday Monday every year (and a two day Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving).

Instead, the government talks of abolishing holidays, which really isn’t the problem. The real problem is the fake working day where people get paid to do nothing. If the holidays just got moved to the nearest Monday, there wouldn’t be this problem.

Then there’s the other productivity drain, where each city and province has its own holidays. For example, you live in Sant Cugat and work in Barcelona, your kids will have days off where you have to work and vice versa.

Although we know some parents that take their kids to a Hebrew school in Sant Cugat, and they have to deal with the Jewish holidays (there’s a lot), the Sant Cugat and the Barcelona ones…

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