This week, most Malaysians enjoy two days of public holiday – Wesak Day replacement on 20 May and Nuzul Quran two days later. For employees, this come as a relief as they are able to enjoy an extended break. For employers, reduced working hours can translate into dipped productivity as work gets piled up.
This extended break contrasts sharply with the 2018 Expedia Vacation Deprivation study which hit the news last week. The report found Malaysia to be the fourth most holiday-deprived country in the world, behind India, South Korea and Hong Kong. This is ironic because Malaysia already has one of the highest number of public holidays a year.
According to the report, 64% had cancelled vacations due to work while 28% would still check work-related emails while on leave. It appeared that Malaysians didn’t necessarily go on breaks or felt truly relaxed, when away from work.
As an employer, productivity is top priority. Sometimes, workers need a break to recharge before returning to work with renewed zest – which hopefully can bring about higher productivity. Workers are not machines, and even robots need a break to perform optimally.
What I can’t accept are those who slack when they are supposed to be working, or those who habitually call in sick on Fridays or Mondays to enjoy an extended weekend. These people are a drain not just on the employers, but are also being unfair to their colleagues who had to stand in for them.