Minister backs non-Christian holidays

26th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 January 2005AMSTERDAM — Collective bargaining agreements between unions and business should guarantee non-Christian employers two free days annually to celebrate their religious feast days, according to a Dutch minister.

26 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — Collective bargaining agreements between unions and business should guarantee non-Christian employers two free days annually to celebrate their religious feast days, according to a Dutch minister.

Junior minister Karien van Gennip of the Ministry of Economic Affairs made the assertion in an interview with newspaper Trouw on Wednesday.

She said the current system was "too informal" because an employer does not have to recognise a non-Christian holiday if the company would lose out. Christian feast days, in contrast, are recognised as national holidays.

Van Gennip said the Netherlands should consider adopting the system used in the US, under which employees can avail of two free days for religious purposes, alongside the national holidays. These additional free days can be used, for example, to celebrate Good Friday (Christian), Chanuka (Jewish) or the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice.

Recognising non-Christian holidays in this way, van Gennip said, would help newcomers integrate into Dutch society. "Integration is a two-way street. This means understanding and respect for everyone, and that also means everyone must be allowed to honour their religion," she said.

[© Novum Nieuws 2005]

Subject: Dutch news 

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