Domestic Economy

High Cost of Public Holidays

High Cost of Public Holidays High Cost of Public Holidays

According to official statistics, Iran loses more than $1 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) on every public holiday. Multiply that by 76 official holidays every year and the figure adds up to more than $76 billion every year.

Excluding the weekends (Friday), Iran has 24 national holidays; three times the numbers in England and Germany, suggests a report by Eghtesadnews.

The math is simple; Iran’s GDP for 2013 was estimated by the World Bank to be at 368.9 billion dollars. Divide that by 365 days – assuming we work every day – and the sum amounts to approximately $1.01 billion every day.

Most offices in Iran have two-day weekends, i.e. Thursdays and Fridays; accounting for 104 not-working days every year. Add to that the 30 day paid leave for every employee, and the 24 national holidays and you see that Iranians enjoy 158 days of official ‘idle’ days and only 207 working days. In other words, non-working days in Iran comprise more than 43% of the year, which is more than five months.

Schools and colleges in Iran, considering the long summer holiday, are closed for more than 200 days or 55% of the year, which is the equivalent of 6 months and 20 days.

This is while, according to a survey of 64 major economies by human resources consulting firm Mercer LLC, India and Colombia, with 18 days, had the most public holidays out of the countries studied, while Mexico had the least holidays with 7 days.

A majority of the countries that grant the highest number of public holidays are in the Asia-Pacific region, with Lebanon, South Korea and Thailand among other countries in the top-five list with 16 public holidays each. Even though Iran was not included in the survey, it could easily be seen that it would top the list with 24 official national holidays.

While holidays have many benefits, including lifting the national mood and benefiting some sectors such as leisure and hospitality, losing billions of dollars worth of productivity seems to be a luxury that Iran can hardly afford at a time when the economy is suffering from declining revenues.

Because time-off is time not spent productively working, it appears that the country’s GDP could receive a considerable boost by reducing the number of holidays in the coming years, the Eghtesadnews report suggests.