This year, Easter and Passover overlap. Often they don’t. However, both holidays create potential problems for Canadian accounting firms, since much tax work, particularly personal tax work, must be completed by April 30.
I once worked for a firm of Chartered Accountants that, as a firm, celebrated the Jewish holidays. There was a religious prohibition against making any money on those days, so everyone, Jewish and non-Jewish, was given paid time off on those days. When it came around to Easter, I asked the partner I was working for whether any of the Easter holidays could be taken off. His position was that if one were to be attending religious services on those days (the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday), that the time could be taken off, with pay. Otherwise, he was not inclined to use Easter to facilitate a long weekend in the middle of tax season. Seemed reasonable to me, then and now.
Earlier this evening, on Good Friday, I attended a Stations of The Cross service at St. Patrick’s Church, Fallowfield, the family’s church, when together. Was there with my ex-wife and children, at a service together, for the first time in fourteen years. Visited my parents’ grave at Beechwood Cemetery with my younger daughter, earlier in the day; maybe there is a connection. The fact remains that is a private circumstance, rather than a public one; why should anyone give me a paid holiday for this?
On the way to the cemetery, my younger daughter and I passed Green Fresh, a Chinese-owned supermarket that was open for the day; one of the few supermarkets open. Making a statement: this is a religious holiday that we don’t observe.
I know many people who rearrange their work schedules to attend Friday prayers at a mosque. They also generally ask for no employer accommodation during the month of Ramadan.
Canada and comparable democracies pride themselves in separating religion and state. This has been very much addressed through the successful challenges to Christian-based Sunday closing legislation. To my mind, it is time to extend this more generally, to both Easter and Christmas.