26 December 2008

Public Holidays in East Timor 2009

LAW No. 10/2005 of 10 August


The list of public holidays is laid down in UNTAET Executive Order No. 2000/1, of 10 July, with legal effect on civil servants by virtue of Section 4 of UNTAET Directive No. 2000/4, of 30 June (as superseded by Articles 51 and 121 of Law No. 8/2004, of 5 May – The Statute of the Civil Service).

A holiday is, by definition, a day devoted to rest and the commemoration of a historic or religious event, providing an opportunity to deepen human relationships. Thus, the dates that should be considered holidays are primarily intended to exonerate employees from their duty to report to work, without forfeiting their wages and other work entitlements.

The public holidays in force in Timor-Leste were adopted within a context of transition to independence under the auspices of the United Nations which ended on 20 May 2002.

Therefore, there is now a need to vest such public holidays with legitimacy arising from the country’s reacquired sovereignty and the people’s will represented by the National
Parliament as a law-making organ of sovereignty.

Amending the list of holidays, thus clarifying the doubts that have been raised regarding the legal characterisation of some festive or commemorative dates and the scope, objective and subjective, of their application, is therefore justified.

Thus, pursuant to Section 92 and Subsection 95.1 of the Constitution, the National

Parliament enacts the following to have the force of law:

Article 1
Scope of Application

This Law, which applies to all working regimes of the public and private sectors, lays down the legal regime for holidays, official commemorative dates, and time-off from work.

Article 2
Public Holidays

1. The following are designated as public holidays observed every year on a fixed date:

(a) 1 January New Year’s Day

(b) 1 May Labour Day

(c) 20 May Independence Restoration Day

(d) 30 August Popular Consultation Day

(e) 1 November All Saints’ Day

(f) 2 November All Souls’ Day

(g) 12 November National Youth Day

(h) 28 November Proclamation of Independence Day

(i) 7 December National Heroes’ Day

(j) 8 December Day of the Immaculate Conception the Patroness of Timor-Leste

(l) 25 December Christmas Day

2. The following are public holidays observed every year on a variable date:

(a) Good Friday as part of the Christian celebrations of Easter;

(b) Idul Fitri which marks the end of Ramadan for Muslims;

(c) Feast of the Body of God;

(d) Idul Adha as the sacrifice day for Muslims.

3. The exact dates of the holidays provided for in subarticle 2.2 above are set annually in the month of January of the year to which they refer, by the Cabinet member responsible for labour.

Read the entire text of Law on Public Holidays and Official Commemorative Dates at East Timor Law Journal.

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