Last week, the government (I won't identify specifically) announced that Independence would be observed with the usual national holiday (i.e., businesses and schools and government offices closed). As with many holidays, the government waits until a few months, weeks, or even days to announce when everyone can plan for a day off (sometimes until clerics make a judgment about the moon phase, and then either agrees or disagrees with the clerics' recommendation... sometimes within days of the holiday!), but this time there's a twist. THIS year, it's been announced that Monday August 31st through Wednesday September 2nd (three days) are NON-WORK DAYS, National holidays, so plan for it. Wow, three week-days off?!? Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we don't have to work???
Saturday, August 29th and Sunday August 30th are now officially WORK DAYS. So, all businesses and schools and government offices will treat that Saturday and Sunday as normal week days.
The week of Monday, August 24 through Sunday August 30th will be, therefore, a 'normal' seven-day work week. So. You'll work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Then have three days of holiday.
Now, for kids at school and perhaps for many rural folks who would be in the fields or tending livestock anyway, regardless of these announcements, this might go un-noticed. But for business (which is for industrialized nations the backbone of the economy), this is actually disruptive in pretty overt AND subtle ways. For example, did you have a delegation from an international business partner scheduled for a tour of facilities throughout Uzbekistan on August 31st or Sept 1st or Sept 2nd? It's only a few months away, it's already been scheduled (since it takes SO long to get government approval for site access to things, everyone starts as early as possible with travel plans), so what does one do now? Cancel it, and suck up the financial loss. Maybe it results in loss of a contract, maybe not, but... oh well. It falls at the end of the month, which is probably payday for many, and a lot of books will have to be adjusted to arrange the extra (and unexpected) another day of regular salary for the month of August. Right? Normally August 2009 includes 21 paid regular work days; suddenly, there are 22. (not two extra, you understand, because now they get the 31st off, which is a Monday).
Smaller scale: did your family plan on spending that weekend at the dacha, the summer house over near Chervak? Well... surprise! You'll have to switch those plans, since you're suddenly working on the weekend.
I'm struck by the strangeness of this, and how easily arbitrary declarations seem to be adopted without question or comment - I mean... please explain to me what is the difference between a three day weekend that falls on Saturday, Sunday and Monday off, or being forced to WORK seven days in a row (Monday through Sunday), then given Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off? Isn't that... sort of... THE EXACT SAME THING? Except that one way businesses have to struggle to re-arrange their plans, possibly losing money and certainly creating anxiety and troubles in the process... and the other way they... well, they don't.
Not that anyone would consider doing it the way it's done elsewhere (just giving people the day off, Tuesday) - but I'm not one to scream for conformity with others, so I'm really not bothered by that. Sure, fine, go the extra mile to give folks 3 days in a row off. Give them time to travel to the family far away, celebrate, then come back. But... wouldn't it be the same thing to just add the Monday off and make that the 'Observed' holiday?
Who knows. Just a thought. But one thing that is apparent: if you thought that you could count on having the day off on the weekend, you now have ample evidence to the contrary! It appears that the old saying is true: the only things that you CAN count on are death and taxes!
Sleepless in Tashkent