A legislative initiative providing for employees to be entitled to days off during their respective ecclesiastical holidays was adopted in its final form on Tuesday by Parliament. The bill was proposed by the MPs of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania, otherwise known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ, and will come into force as soon as it is published in the Official Bulletin of Romania.
The new law stipulates that everyone is permitted to take days off for Easter and Pentecost at the time that these holidays are celebrated by their own denominations. The new legislation was needed because the Romanian Orthodox majority does not necessarily celebrate these holidays at the same time as the Catholic and Protestant communities, which are predominantly Hungarian. This is due to the fact that Easter and Pentecost are so-called moving holidays; in the ecclesiastical practice of Western Christianity, which uses the Gregorian calendar, the date of Easter varies between the March 22 and April 25. On the other hand, the Orthodox Church calculates Easter and Pentecost according to the older Julian calendar, which has a 13-day difference compared to the Gregorian one.
“In the past few years, we have received several complaints that employers and even state institutions gave official days offs with a predilection for when these two holidays were celebrated by the Orthodox majority,” MP Ödön Szabó said on Tuesday. The bill also provides that if an employer decides to give days off to employees during both the Orthodox and the Catholic/Protestant holidays, then one of these dates will have to be recovered later on as a work day; Labor Code allows for one day of leave for Easter and one for Pentecost.
Before the new bill, in some Romanian schools, there were unjustifiable absences recorded if non-Orthodox students missed classes during their own holidays. From now on, legislation provides that the structure of the school year and school attendance rules have to be adjusted, keeping in mind the rights of students belonging to denominations other than the Orthodox Church as well.
Featured image: The bill proposed by RMDSZ provides that everyone is entitled to have a day off when his or her denomination celebrates Easter and Pentecost.