Several years ago, my wife and I, while vacationing in France, went shopping in a local store. I handed my credit card to the salesman. After glancing at his watch, he said it was 3 minutes after 1 o’clock and, since the store closed from 1-3, we would have to return in 2 hours to finish the sale! NO EXCEPTIONS! Even if it resulted in a loss of business!
Fast forward to the present time. Learn the word “puentes.” It is Spanish for “bridges.”
The way it has worked in Spain is as follows: (before you read this, please leave your jealousy and your rational understanding at the door).
Most holidays in Spain are religious and fall “by custom” in the mid-week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Workers negotiated a contract called “puentes” or bridges. They are mid-week holidays “bridged” to the weekend on either side!
ONE DAY OFF BECOMES 4 or 5! It was the law [until January 22, 2012]! It was the custom! And It was universally done throughout Spain! This does NOT include the usual long Spanish vacations in August and Christmas .
And listen to this one!
You won’t believe it!
To help the ailing tourism industry – one in ten Spanish workers are in the tourism industry – one Government agency actually SUBSIDIZES the vacation of thousands of elderly people in the winter low season to HELP KEEP TOURISM WORKERS EMPLOYED!!!
Do you think that this was done to insure their VOTES in the election?
I beg you!!! DO NOT MENTION THIS PROGRAM TO PRESIDENT OBAMA!
It is the only program I can think of that he has left out of his “job stimulus programs.” What scares me is that all of the President’s programs seem to imitate this European model.
Wake up America! Before it’s too late!
P.S. Finally, the Spanish government has proposed that ALL holidays be celebrated on Mondays as we do in the U.S. but it has not passed yet. This is a country with a 20% unemployment rate! [Unemployment among youth 15 – 24 is 37.85% Mundi. Another source has it at 23% and 48.5% respectively Seattle business]
[Last month, the EU austerity package removed most of the puentes, but not all of them. It takes near collapse for any modicum of sanity and we wonder why Europe is going bankrupt – we also need to understand that we are them. LA Times – Bye Bye Some Puentes. They deserve credit in all this. Spain is a constitutional monarchy. Last election cycle, they kicked out the socialists and turned to a conservative government. Conservatives Now ]