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One of Narva's biggest employers gives workers extra day off after New Year

2022 Christmas Village in Narva
2022 Christmas Village in Narva Source: Anna Markova

This year, New Year's Day was on a Sunday, meaning most people in Estonia had to start work again on Monday, January 2. However, in Narva, one of the city's biggest employers gave its workers an extra day off to spend more time with loved ones and get some much needed rest following the New Year's Eve celebrations.

On Monday, the gates of the Fortaco metalworks in Narva were closed. The plant's management has a long-standing agreement with its workers, that when January 2 falls on a working day, the New Year's vacation will be extended by a day.

"If January 1 falls on a Sunday, I think we have to give workers an extra day off. We understand that everyone wants to have a rest on January 1, to see relatives and friends, and going to work on January 2 is quite difficult," said Fortaco board member Larissa Shabunova.

However, Fortaco, which has 600 employees, is something of an exception. Elsewhere in Narva, Monday was a regular working day.

In Russia, when it comes to public holidays it is a different story altogether. By law, if a holiday falls on a non-working day, workers are automatically given an extra day off. Currently, the longest holiday of the year in Russia is during the New Year period, with Russians not due to start work until January 9 this year.

"Estonia has too few holidays and public holidays compared to other European countries. I think it would be fairer if more were added, because in fact quite a lot of people work two jobs at once. During the holidays you can have a rest without losing out on pay," said Svetlana, who lives in Narva.

Artjom, who is also from Narva, agreed. "If the pay remains the same, it would be great if we could have longer holidays," he said. 

The Social Democratic Party (SDE) have been leading the way in pushing for changes to the law regarding holidays and public holidays in Estonia. However, their proposed bill to allow workers an extra day of leave when a public holiday falls on a non-working day was eventually dropped after only passing a first reading last spring.

Editor: Michael Cole

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