Monday, 24 September 2007

The right to take a break

When you are at school and reach the time when you just can't stand the itchy uniform and the dull homework any longer, it's half term. Or end of term. Or even better, summer holidays. Wired into your very being is the regularity of taking a break. And then, keen to leave your juvenile pleasures behind you, you start work and realise with mounting horror that the statutory holiday allowance is a measly 20 days a year, and school and college suddenly doesn't seem such hard graft after all.
You work for a few years and if you are lucky, your annual leave entitlement grows a bit. Perhaps you get five weeks off a year. There are of course far too many dippy workaholics who take their laptops, mobiles, blackberries and assorted wifi goodies on their holidays, irritating their spouse, lover, children and the folks in the next hotel room; that's their call.
And now, we have John Gieve being criticised for being on holiday when he should have been at work, managing the financial crisis of the moment. Firstly, it appears he was actually attending his mother's funeral for part of his leave, and secondly, what's the problem with taking a break? His boss was at work sorting things out, as no doubt were most of his staff. I presume, just as the royals don't fly together in case the lot get mashed in a single aircrash, that the Gov and his deputy don't holiday at the same time - very wise. If either man was the sole person able to control the situation I would be very worried; what if one of them became ill, or died, or just needed a day off to see to the boiler repair man?
Sorry folks, I just don't buy it - everyone is entitled to take a break and if you do a very important job, then someone else will have been briefed to cover it for the short period of your no-doubt much needed absence and rest period. Should nurses or surgeons never take a break because there is always someone in need of an operation?
And then there are farmers. Not sure how it can be organised that farmers can have their statutory entitlement - but then they are self-employed, and the law doesn't count. Here, neighbours cover for the odd day, weekend or slightly longer absence, but it is a big responsibility and you can only do this with other farmers, folk comfortable with animal feeding regimes, milking and knowing whether that sheep should really be upsidedown. Farmers usually have big hearts and are generous in giving of their time and advice; in time of crisis or busyness it's all hands to the hayfork, but they don't often have deputies to cover for them.
Perhaps we could develop a scheme like the one in Finland, and I could have my very own Deputy Dawg.


mutterings and meanderings said...

If you don't take a break, you get run down, and you make mistakes.

I am feeling v tired at the moment, porbably because the season is changing and the darkness is coming! Arrgghh!

KAZ said...

Here here!
I've always wondered how farmers take a holiday. I know some people who even fret about their pot plants.

Rob Clack said...

I remember about 20 years ago, the Gardeners' Question Time team were asked the ideal time for a gardener to take a holiday.

Answer: 3rd week in November.

I entirely agree about the politicians being entitled to a holiday. I mostly loath and despise them, but that doesn't mean I think they should rush home from holiday the minute there's a crisis. You put it far better than I could.

Dick Madeley said...

Oh what memories. Deputy Dawg. First thing on when I got back from school. Those were the days...

Mopsa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mopsa said...

know, M&N - can't believe how quickly night comes on now.

Kaz, I kill all my potplants - they survive much better outside

Thank you Rob - in the 3rd week of November all I want to do is hide my head under the duvet.

Glad to bring back memories of childhood Dick