Kenyans stand to enjoy extended 4-day public holidays if the Senate approves a proposed Bill fronted by Kiambu Senator Karungo Wa Thang’wa.
The Public Holidays (Amendment) Bill, 2023 seeks to extend long weekends when a public holiday falls on either Tuesday or Thursday.
The Bill aims to establish the preceding Monday as a public holiday in the event of a holiday occurring on a Tuesday. Similarly, it proposes the designation of the following Friday as a public holiday in cases where a holiday falls on a Thursday.
Senator Karungo Wa Thang’wa argues that his proposed legislation’s primary aim is to prioritize the welfare of Kenyan workers and breathe new life into the tourism industry.
“Public holidays are designed to provide workers with time off from their jobs to rest and recharge, spend time with family and friends, and celebrate important events or traditions, and are often associated with travel and tourism,” the Bill reads in part.
The lawmaker adds that the extension of public holidays can contribute to ensuring that employees have ample time to thoroughly relish their time away from work and attend to both their physical and mental well-being.
“Public holidays also seek to support economic growth, as they are often associated with travel and tourism, and extending public holidays may encourage Kenyans to take longer trips or visit destinations farther away from their homes. Essentially, such an extension would promote the hospitality and tourism industries,” Thang’wa says.
He highlights that the Philippines and various other nations have effectively executed comparable strategies, resulting in heightened tourism and enhanced the welfare of workers.
The Senator also notes the Bill will diminish the country’s dependence on international tourists.
“All Kenyans including in counties are entitled to enjoy the public holidays under Part 1 of the schedule to the Public Holidays Act. Under the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution, Kenyans living and working m the counties are entitled to cultural activities, recreational facilities and sports for which Kenyans would travel between different counties,” the Bill states.
This year, three holidays, namely Madaraka Day, Huduma Day, and Jamhuri Day would be eligible for the extended weekend arrangement.