The work­ing hol­i­day that is Christ­mas

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By DOM GALEON

Most of us en­joy the hol­i­days with our fam­i­lies and friends, away from the usual hus­tle that comes with work. Yet, as much as this is the norm, there are in­dus­tries that can­not af­ford to have a hol­i­day—not in the strictest sense of it, at least. Be­cause of the re­quire­ments of their pro­fes­sion, work­ers in the med­i­cal and ser­vice in­dus­tries, for ex­am­ple, have to be on duty dur­ing the hol­i­days. And Christ­mas, de­spite its cen­tral place in Philip­pine cul­ture, is no ex­cep­tion.

Among these are the pro­fes­sion­als in the ho­tel in­dus­try. Christ­mas hol­i­days are among the busiest pe­ri­ods for ho­tel man­agers and staff, says one ex­ec­u­tive from a well-known ho­tel in Manila. Since stay­ca­tions are in, many ho­tels of­fer pro­mos that in­clude pack­ages for fam­i­lies at Christ­mas and on New Year’s Eve. Many ho­tels also or­ga­nize par­ties for their guests, as well as spe­cial menus at their in-house cafés. Oth­ers ar­range for masses to be cel­e­brated on the eve of Christ­mas or New Year.

Ac­cord­ing to an event man­ager from a pop­u­lar ho­tel and casino, there is an over­whelm­ing feel­ing that comes with see­ing their guests have a great time dur­ing these hol­i­days. That, he says, is enough for him to also en­joy the sea­son.

Some ho­tel work­ers have to cel­e­brate their own Christ­mas par­ties in Jan­uary be­cause it’s im­pos­si­ble to have it in De­cem­ber. Need­less to say, ho­tel as­so­ciates are of­ten up to their necks with work dur­ing the ho­tels. In one ho­tel chain, ho­tel em­ploy­ees have the op­tion to work ei­ther dur­ing Christ­mas or New Year’s Eve, giv­ing them a chance to en­joy at least one of the two spe­cial oc­ca­sions with their fam­i­lies.

A busi­ness ho­tel in Iloilo makes sure that its em­ploy­ees are well taken care of dur­ing these work­ing hol­i­days. The idea, ac­cord­ing to the ho­tel’s gen­eral man­ager, is to treat their em­ploy­ees like fam­ily, and not just dur­ing this sea­son but the whole year round.

These work­ing Christ­mas hol­i­days are not with­out com­pen­sa­tion, of course. Ac­cord­ing to the la­bor laws of the Philip­pines, Christ­mas and New Year’s fall un­der the so­called reg­u­lar hol­i­days, which are hol­i­days that have fixed dates. Since Christ­mas in the coun­try is a more-thanone-day af­fair, Dec. 24 and 31 are usu­ally de­clared hol­i­days, or spe­cial non-work­ing hol­i­days, to be ex­act.

Ac­cord­ing to the La­bor Code of the Philip­pines, em­ploy­ees who work dur­ing a reg­u­lar hol­i­day are en­ti­tled to com­pen­sa­tion that’s 200 per­cent of their daily rate plus cost of liv­ing al­lowance (COLA). For those who did over­time work dur­ing a reg­u­lar hol­i­day, they are due com­pen­sa­tion that’s a to­tal of 200 per­cent their daily rate plus COLA, plus their hourly rate mul­ti­plied to the num­ber of ex­cess hours mul­ti­plied by 2.6. Those who work dur­ing a spe­cial non-work­ing hol­i­day are usu­ally paid 130 per­cent of their daily rate. Those who do not work dur­ing a hol­i­day are given their daily rate plus COLA.

It’s quite un­der­stand­able that peo­ple in the ho­tel in­dus­try, as well as those in other ser­vice-ori­ented pro­fes­sions, have to work dur­ing the hol­i­days. This is true not just for Christ­mas and New Year’s Eve, but also for the other hol­i­days—reg­u­lar or spe­cial—that dot the cal­en­dar. With leg­is­la­tion in place to en­sure that these pro­fes­sion­als are fairly com­pen­sated for their hol­i­day work, Christ­mas and New Year won’t be a sad af­fair even if it is spent away from the fam­ily.

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