In the world of migrant workers, taking holidays is really a metaphysics.
In late October, Nike announced that it would try to implement a “four-day work system.” Before the company had time to envy it, it was stunned by the year-end announcement of “no holiday on New Year’s Eve.”
In a mentality of worrying about gains and losses, migrant workers sadly discovered that the optimal zero-sum game is to “maintain the status quo” – I don’t have to fight for the legendary four-day work system, but you don’t deprive me of the right to go home for the Spring Festival. .
It seems that it is never possible to reconcile work and vacation to everyone’s satisfaction, and it is getting worse with each passing day. The Internet and electronic devices allow work to break through the limitations of space. After experiencing the days of “working from home”, the content and intensity of work have been proven to be not necessarily related to time and location. Therefore, even a generous vacation, which seems to be the most generous, cannot completely relax people’s tense hearts.
The issue of time off and vacation is essentially a matter of time. Time is an important motif of human civilization and culture. Time creates order and controls our lifestyle and way of thinking. From a philosopher’s point of view, only disposable free time measures the scale of human life.
Studying the issue of holidays and paid leave is also a study of the status of people in this era in the time dimension.
While on vacation
It must be admitted that the combination of work and rest is an original creation of modern civilization. The holiday order established based on the concept of “time” is also the new human order after the industrial revolution.
In an era when humans and animals share the same rhythm, hunting when hungry and resting when full are “natural holidays” driven by human biological clocks. Since the beginning of the agricultural revolution, humans have discovered the laws of the earth’s rotation and began to “work at sunrise and rest at sunset.”
Officials in the Han Dynasty in China still had the tradition of “taking a break for bathing every five days”, and the “ten days off for bathing” also appeared in the Tang Dynasty. These are the evolution of work under the control of the socialized power system.
The concept of “paid vacation”, like the “eight-hour work system”, was originally a product of modern scientific development and the industrial revolution.
There is a passage in the British drama “Downton Abbey”. It was in the early 20th century when the industrial bourgeoisie was rapidly developing. A young lawyer representing the new middle class had just proudly introduced that the job he had found at a law firm “has weekends.” , but received a surprised question from the old lady representing the old aristocracy: “What is a ‘weekend’?”
In fact, it was spurred by the industrial revolution, religious beliefs and workers’ rights claims that for the first time mankind had ” weekend” concept.
In 1908, a factory in New England, USA, set up an unconventional two days off a week in order to allow Jewish employees to observe the Sabbath. For Jewish workers, Saturday is the Sabbath, which begins on Friday night and lasts until Saturday night. It is the holiest time of the week.
In 1926, American automobile manufacturer Henry Ford took the lead in stipulating that Saturday and Sunday were rest days and implemented a 40-hour work week. Eight hours a day, five days a week.
Although Ford’s five-day work system was called an altruistic act based on the welfare of workers, he also benefited from it. This was another measure to greatly stimulate productivity after he significantly increased workers’ wages to $5 a day in 1914.
However, “paid vacation”, as a right of workers, was obtained through blood and tears of struggle.
On October 24, 1929, the U.S. Wall Street stock market crashed, and the worst economic depression in the history of capitalism broke out.
The crisis quickly spread to the entire capitalist world. In order to pass on the crisis, companies in France, thousands of miles away, laid off employees and reduced their burdens. The unemployment rate hit a record high of 12.6%, with more than 1 million people unemployed.
For those workers who have not yet lost their jobs, their wages have been reduced or deducted by their employers due to the oversupply situation in the labor market. Data show that in just a few years after the economic crisis, the overall wage level of French workers dropped by a full one-third.
France became the first country in the world to implement a paid leave system.
In mid-1936, the Third French Republic ushered in the largest strike movement in history, with more than 2 million workers participating. In order to quell this nationwide strike, employers had to accept collective bargaining convened by the government. Finally, group representatives from both labor and management signed the famous “Mattion Agreement” on June 8, 1936. The agreement negotiated terms that were beneficial to employees such as salary increases and a reduction in weekly working hours to 40 hours.
Ten days later, the Parliament unanimously passed another law – the paid annual leave law, which completely opened the golden era of French labor law.
As a result, France became the first country in the world to implement a paid leave system.
Simone Weil, a famous French female philosopher, once said: “Workers lack any affection for the place of labor and the objects of labor, because they exhaust themselves, because the factory turns them into foreigners, strangers and strangers in their own country. .”
The evolution of time off
The influence of religion and culture on holidays varies from place to place and from time to time. Therefore, the evolution of the holiday system is also a chronicle engraved in the daily lives of the people.
On January 1, 1917, Mr. Lu Xun wrote in “Lu Xun’s Diary”: “On vacation.” The day after New Year’s Day was still a “holiday”, and the 3rd was as usual, but on January 4, Lu Xun “went to the ministry in the morning to do business” and started working until January 23, the New Year’s Eve of that year. On the first day of the Lunar New Year on the 24th, and on the second and third days of the Lunar New Year, Lu Xun was at work. It can be seen that in China a hundred years ago, New Year’s Day was a holiday, but Spring Festival was not.
After the founding of New China, the traditional holiday customs were restored. On December 23, 1949, the 12th Political Commissar Meeting of the Government Affairs Council announced a “National Annual Holiday and Memorial Day Holiday Regulations”, which for the first time unified the national annual holidays and anniversary holidays into “New Year’s Day, Spring Festival Three Days, Labor Day” National Day is on the first day and National Day is on the second day.”
Among them, May Day Labor Day was only established at this time. The working hours system of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week has been naturally established, but there is only one day off on weekends.
After the reform and opening up, population mobility intensified, stimulating consumption and turning it into domestic demand. At the same time, China began to integrate with international standards in all aspects. The initial emergence of “adjusted holidays” was also to meet the needs of economic development and open flow.
The “National Holidays and Anniversary Holidays Measures” promulgated in 1991 adopted for the first time a holiday method that connected traditional holidays with the weekends before and after: the Spring Festival, Labor Day, and National Day were changed from the original one day to three consecutive days, spliced together to form 7 days long holiday. Since then, China has had the concept of “Golden Week”.
It is clear at a glance that the original vacation and long holidays were to stimulate consumption and promote economic growth.
Chinese people were excited to have the opportunity to travel during a long holiday for the first time. The tourism industry surged rapidly in a short period of time. During the National Day “Golden Week” in 1999, the number of people traveling across the country reached 28 million, and tourism revenue reached more than 14 billion.
However, outside of long holidays, workers still only have one fixed rest day per week. It was not until February 1994 that the State Council promulgated the “Regulations on Employees’ Working Hours”, which for the first time stipulated that employees should implement an 8-hour work day and 44-hour work week. As for weekends, a “big and small week” system is implemented in which “Saturday and Sunday of the first week are rest days, and Sunday of the second week is rest day, and so on.”
Speaking of which, the large and small weekly “system” in some companies today was in operation thirty years ago.
However, the “big and small weeks” were implemented for less than a year. In early 1995, the State Council revised the “Regulations on Employees’ Working Hours”, shortening the standard working hours to 40 hours per week, and officially established Saturday and Sunday as weekends.
Until 2008, China’s holiday pattern was basically fixed: regular weekends, the May Day holiday was reduced to 3 days, but small holidays such as New Year’s Day, Qingming Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival were added, for a total of 2 7-day long holidays and 5 small long holidays.
The design of holidays must take into account the overall economic development rhythm of society, national culture and traditional customs, and also strive to be in line with international standards. For individuals as workers, the compensated rest system hopes to balance the relationship between rest and work as much as possible, in order to restore physical energy functions and increase overall labor efficiency.
In his book “Work, Consumerism and the New Poor”, British sociology professor Zygmunt Bauman defined a concept of “work ethics”: “Unless it is to accumulate energy in order to complete more work, otherwise, rest is also Unseemly.”
The purpose of a break is to allow us to recover from fatigue so we can continue working.
Electronic devices and the Internet have blurred the boundaries between work time and space.
However, is “rest” for “labor”? In addition to providing “rest” time, holidays are increasingly expected to provide part of the time to return to life in addition to “rest” in the physical sense as people’s living standards improve and cultural and spiritual literacy enriches.
Today, the meaning of holidays, along with the great changes in the theme of the times, is also undergoing unimagined changes.
Electronic devices and the Internet have blurred the boundaries between working time and space, made efficiency and production absolute, and increased work mobility. Many people find that it is more difficult to completely separate work and life than the work itself.
Holidays are no longer full of time. How many people can truly let go of themselves and reach a sacred and transcendent time?
At the end of 2022, the United States launched a “nap revolution.” That is, theologian Tricia Hussey, who advocates legal naps during working hours, published “Rest as Resistance: A Copy”, which topped the New York Times bestseller list. Declaration” advocates “treating rest as an end, not a means.” Rest is just for the sake of rest itself, not to restore energy to better devote to the next work.
Likewise, traveling is no longer the only purpose of vacation, or even the main purpose. Internet celebrity attractions demonized by social media, young people’s declining desire to socialize, and the decline in family travel rates caused by late marriage and low birthrates. All these objective changes are changing the meaning and meaning of “tourism” to society. Role.
A person’s vacation is simply a hard-won moment to spend time with oneself. Young people do not long for large-scale excursions, but they also require hard-won personal recharging moments.
At such a moment, everyone can have a small part of their own time and space while preserving their social identity, and gain a kind of sacred time that goes beyond daily life and truly returns to daily life.
The term “sacred time” also appeared in “The Burnout Society” by German philosopher Han Bingzhe. He described it this way: “Sacred time is full, while working time is empty. The latter is just a constant transition between boredom and busyness. Repeat back and forth to fill up the time. On the contrary, the festival achieves an enhanced and intense life experience in one moment. The current life is increasingly lacking intensity. Healthy life is just survival, it is an extreme Weakened life forms.”