The Cabinet approved a five-day Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which when combined with the weekend before and after it, creates a nine-day break suitable for lengthy vacations. Astronomical calculations indicate that the first day of Eid will be on Monday, July 28, 2014. The Cabinet made a decision during its weekly meeting on Monday to approve the start date of the holiday on Sunday, July 27th, which marks the last day of Ramadan that the state traditionally announces as a day off for its employees. The holiday officially ends on Thursday, July 31, Al-Watan reported yesterday.
Despite the lengthy break, at least 30,000 public sector employees are expected to be absent from work during the last ten days of Ramadan which start Friday, according to a Civil Service Commission source. Mosques traditionally begin to receive more worshippers during the last ten days of the holy month as Muslims search for ‘Laylat Al-Qadr’ or Night of Power. The number of annual and sick leaves during these days could reach 60 percent of the total number of staff at ministries and state departments based on last year’s estimations, said the source who spoke to Annahar on the condition of anonymity. He added that officials at state departments were given instructions to take punitive measures against workers who fail to report to work without a valid reason.
Measures to control staff attendance could have started early at the Ministry of Education, where Undersecretary Mariyam Al-Wutaid gave orders to close all gates of the building during work hours until the end of Ramadan. The senior official gave instructions to keep the main gate open while closing the remaining three gates every day from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. The decision has already caused frustration among staff who complain from having to walk long distances from the parking lot to the main gate, Al-Rai reported yesterday.