Last week, I wrote about how overwork is a part of American work culture. I wrote about how an employer can encourage time off. One of these points was respect for national holidays. The last aspect was particularly intriguing to me and I wanted to explore it further. I remember leaving a mall on the day before Thanksgiving. Due to the holiday, the particular store I was in decided to close early. I left right before close and as I was walking to my car, the time was up and the store employees locked the door. At that very moment, a family approached the store and tugged at the door. A sign on the door stated that the store was closing early. One employee mouthed “We’re closed,” through the window — yet the family still seemed upset. One member of the family exclaimed, “I guess you don’t want to make money!” Somehow, I cannot forget this incident and the exclamation. For some of us, there is a need to make money. It is understandable for them to overwork themselves: either working overtime or working on days which they could have off. But then, there are many who want to earn extra money. Though the store closed early before Thanksgiving, it did not wait till Black Friday to reopen. It opened on Thanksgiving Night and began offering amazing discount and sure enough, customers stormed in droves. We often want to find out “What’s open on [insert holiday name here]?” and apart from the necessities of hospitals, police stations, fire stations etc., there are shops and restaurants that choose to be open. Private employers in the U.S. are not required to give employees the day off on federal holidays; as a result, many workers are away from their families and are working on federal holidays. There are cases of wanting to enforce or “shame” stores for being open on Thanksgiving, which is quite an extreme. As I mentioned earlier, many Americans need to work the extra hours and should be given the opportunity to do so! But making it a rule to work on a federal holiday — not allowing an opportunity to take the day off is another extreme. Let us not forget that these holidays are not for a day off of work; they are a day to remember the significance behind the holiday. In the case of Thanksgiving, we must give an opportunity to all Americans to spend time with their families. With Fourth of July behind us, we hope that you were able to enjoy the time off if you were given it. If you need to work, we hope that your employer gives you the option as well.
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