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Ceturtdiena 22.03.2018 | Name days: Tamāra, Dziedra

Saeima supports initiative to provide public holiday status to Song Celebration end day

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThis Tuesday, September 30th, Saeima Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee decided in favour of providing public holiday status to the end day of Song Celebration. This initiative has been passed to the Saeima for the final reading October 2nd.

Deputy Daina Kazāka protested against the formulation of the draft that the end day of the Latvian School Youth’s Song and Dance Celebration is not to be considered a public holiday, whereas the end day of the All-Latvian Song and Dance Celebration is considered one. She believes this to be discriminatory towards participants of the School Youth’s Song and Dance Celebration.

Amendments to the law provide for making the end day of the Song Celebration a public holiday, the same as May 4th (Day of restoration of independence of Republic of Latvia) and November 18th (day of proclamation of the Republic of Latvia). With that, if the end day of the celebration falls on Sunday, the next work day becomes a public holiday.

In accordance with conceptually approved amendments, the end day of the School Youth’s Song Celebration is to be considered the same as June 24th – Midsummer Day. It does not provide for a holiday if the end day falls on Sunday, because the concert does not take place late at night, it does not have as many participants and the participants themselves – schoolchildren – are on summer break anyway.

Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma had previously ordered Culture Ministry and Economy Ministry, as well as Latvian Employers’ Confederation to prepare estimates on how much it would cost the state to add one more public holiday.

According to information from Latvian Employers’ Confederation, employers have to pay double to employees who have to work on holidays. They also have to consider extending vacations for employees who take vacations during the Song and Dance Celebration and keep in mind that an additional holiday reduces the amount of work days each month. Because it is not possible to predict how many Latvian workers will be working during the Song and Dance Celebration’s end day concert and the next day, it is impossible to calculate the possible costs.

According to LEC, costs of a single public holiday make up 0.4% of GDP. Estimates by Economy Ministry suggest the allocation of one public holiday impacts the national economy in a relatively insignificant way – from 0.08% to 0.1% of GDP. According to Finance Ministry and based on calculations by Economy Ministry, the provision of another public holiday would impact the country’s total tax revenue as much as EUR six million.


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