Nova Scotians just got a preview of what the new holiday in February could cost the province.
For the health system, as reported Monday by CBC, the district health authorities will be hit with a cost of just over $3 million. The extra is attributed to what they will need to pay for such salary considerations as holiday premiums and overtime.
The largest amount will be experienced by the Capital Region, about $1.1 million. But even for the smaller authorities it won’t exactly be pocket change: $112,000 for Pictou County; $82,000 for Colchester-East Hants.
The authorities will have to absorb the cost in their overall budgets – perhaps not a staggering amount, but all the same an extra bill they don’t need considering the Department of Health, like all departments, already faces continual strain in making ends meet.
The decision by the newly elected Liberals in their first year to establish a holiday the third Monday of February was perhaps not an entirely rash move. Most of the other provinces have such a holiday in that dreary time, the longest run during the year that otherwise has no celebrations.
The chief complaint, however, came from businesses and business leaders who said the holiday was imposed without any consultation with the sector. Considering the economy in the province is generally described as far short of brisk, for the business community, having to pay the costs of an extra holiday is just one more burden.
As this set of numbers in relation to the health authorities suggests, the business sector will be similarly affected.
It’s not hard to see why the Liberals would calculate the creation of a holiday as a safe, popular move – it would certainly be embraced by the average working stiff.
It would be nice to think that the day off will have some effect of reinvigoration upon the workforce – fewer sick days in the dead of winter. That might be an overly rosy hope, but it’s the only one we can cling to in this matter.