The Karnataka state government decided on Thursday that all government employees will get an additional holiday on the fourth Saturday of every month from next year. Employees will continue getting leaves on major holidays, but there will be a reduction in the casual leave from 15 to 10.
The employees will also continue to get holidays on birth anniversaries of religious leaders and saints (Jayantis), namely Basava Jayanti, Kanaka Jayanti, Valmiki Jayanti and Mahavir Jayanti. Earlier there were plans of scrapping these holidays altogether, but the government had opted against this, worried about potential backlash from the communities which celebrate these holidays.
While the Cabinet has sought for the new regulations to go into effect immediately, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister Krishna Byre Gowda stated that he was not sure when the new policy would be implemented.
Earlier, several employees had been in favour of the plan for implementing a 5-day work week. This however, has been scrapped and in its place, the new fourth Saturday holiday policy will be incorporated.
“We studied the list of holidays in many other states. About 17 states have a 5-day work week whereas four states have two Saturdays off in a month. Giving a 5-day work week would lead to too many holidays,” Krishna Byre Gowda said.
The move has been met with positive feedback from many including Karnataka State Government Employees’ Union president HK Ramu. “We welcome the decision of the state government to give an additional holiday,” he said to TOI, adding that the government overturned the 5-day week plan citing that work would be hampered, but had agreed to the additional holiday.