Religious holidays may become optional
Published: 02 Feb 2007 11:39 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Feb 2007 11:39 GMT+01:00
Almega, an organisation that supports service companies in Sweden, has proposed a move away from public holidays based on Christian beliefs. It should instead be up to employees to decide which holidays to take on the basis of their own religious faith.
"Why should a Shiite Muslim be free on Epiphany if he or she wants to be free to celebrate the Day of Ashura? I think this will become the norm in the labour market in the future," Almega's Magnus Kendel told Metro.
The organisation bases its proposal on a recommendation made by Sweden's discrimination ombudsman in March of last year.
Almega hopes to reach an agreement with Sif, Sweden's White Collar Union, regarding such a change in the forthcoming round of wage negotiations.
"There are 10 public holidays based on Christian beliefs. We want individual employees to be able to instead come to an agreement with their employers on which ten days they would like to take," Almega's spokesman Anders Broberg told The Local.
Broberg does not foresee any major problems with a switch to non-confessional holidays, with many workers likely to stick to the devil they know.
"A lot of people will probably just say: 'I want it like the Christians'," he said.
Does this proposal cover atheists too?
"Yes, of course. For them, this can just be viewed as longer holidays," said Broberg.
And how have the trade unions reacted to the proposal?
"They have said, 'well that's ok but it's important that the workers don't lose money'," said Broberg.
Employers' organisations and trade unions submitted their respective proposals on 22nd January. Negotiations are expected to begin in March and continue until May.