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With the extra-long weekend approaching, you might be wishing there were more public holidays in your calendar. But would that be feasible?

For most of us, public holidays mean rest, recreation and travel. But governments and economists have to view them through a different lens. These breaks halt business activity, manufacturing and exporting – putting downward pressure on a country’s GDP due to lost productivity.

To illustrate, last year the UK and other countries like Australia had an extra public holiday to mourn Queen Elizabeth II; the productivity loss almost tipped the UK into a recession, and cost Australia close to A$2b. New Zealand’s new Matariki holiday last year was also estimated to reduce the country’s GDP by almost NZ$360m. In the U.S., federal holidays cost the country approximately US$325b a year in lost output. 

While public holidays can increase tourism revenue and consumer spending, not all of them create enough activity to offset productivity loss. Easter and Christmas are known to rake in billions in income, but are considered to be the outliers rather than the norm. More commonly, it goes like the AFL Grand Final holiday added to Victoria's calendar in 2015 – estimated to cause a net loss for the Australian state’s economy every year.

A study has also laid out that the sectors that gain the most from public holiday income – retail, wholesale and hospitality – only make up about 14% of a country’s GDP. Meanwhile, offices, factories and construction, which are forced to shut down, contribute around 47% of the economy. 

Does this mean we’ll never get more days off? Well, on the bright side, a statistical study did show that bigger corporations have started to practise shuffling work around to minimise productivity loss. The same study also found that holidays had non-quantifiable, beneficial effects in mental health which led to higher-than-usual productivity in the days following the holiday. 

The U.S., UK and Australia have ten, eight, and seven nationwide public holidays respectively, compared to the average number of 11 public holidays across 195 countries. Interestingly, it’s been found that countries with higher average incomes tend to have fewer public holidays. If you had to choose, would you prefer a higher income or more public holidays?

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Stakeshop Pty Ltd, trading as Stake, ACN 610105505, is an authorised representative (Authorised Representative No. 1241398) of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd (Australian Financial Services Licence No. 337927) ('Sanlam') and an authorised representative (Authorised Representative No. 1241398) of Airwallex Pty Ltd (Australian Financial Services Licence No. 487221) ('Airwallex'). Stake is not authorised by Airwallex under Airwallex’s AFSL to arrange for clients to be issued with securities as Airwallex is not authorised under its AFSL for this purpose. Stake is not authorised by Sanlam under Sanlam’s AFSL to arrange for clients to be issued with a non-cash payment facility as Sanlam is not authorised under its AFSL for this purpose. Stake SMSF Pty Ltd (‘Stake Super’) is not licensed to provide financial product advice under the Corporations Act. This specifically applies to any financial products which are established if you instruct Stake Super to set up a self managed super fund (‘SMSF’). When you sign up to Stake Super, you are contracting with Stake SMSF Pty Ltd who will assist in the establishment of a SMSF under a ‘no advice model’. You will also be referred to Stakeshop Pty Ltd to enable your trading account and bank account to be set up in order to use the Stake Website and/or App. Stakeshop Pty Ltd will also run marketing and promotions to you under. For more information about SMSFs, see our SMSF Risks page.The information on our website or our mobile application is not intended to be an inducement, offer or solicitation to anyone in any jurisdiction in which Stake is not regulated or able to market its services. At Stake and Stake Super, we’re focused on giving you a better investing experience but we don’t take into account your personal objectives, circumstances or financial needs. Any advice given by Stake is of a general nature only. As investments carry risk, before making any investment decision, please consider if it’s right for you and seek appropriate taxation and legal advice. Please view our Financial Services GuideTerms & ConditionsPrivacy Policy and Disclaimers  before deciding to invest on or use Stake or Stake Super. By using our website or service in any way, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions. All financial products involve risk and you should ensure you understand the risks involved as certain financial products may not be suitable to everyone. Past performance of any product described on this website is not a reliable indication of future performance. Stake and Stake Super are registered trademarks in Australia.

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