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The New Arab

Long weekend: Iraqis 'worked just six months' in 2016

Economists have estimated that all the time off is costing $3 billion annually [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 April, 2017

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Iraqi government workers enjoyed over half a year's worth of public holidays last year, but the lax working hours are causing a serious strain on the country's economic output.
Religious festivals, historic anniversaries, national events, heatwaves, mourning days, and weekends meant that the average Iraqi civil servant worked only six months in 2016 with the rest of the year off, according to The New Arab correspondent Memona al-Basil.

Iraqi public sector employees - who make up 20 percent of the country's workforce - were granted 184 days leave in 2016, making them the "laziest" (or luckiest) workers in the world.

Some Iraqis are unhappy with the lax working environment, with 70-year-old Mohammad Youssef complaining about the work ethics of many younger Iraqis.

"In the past, it wasn't easy for civil servants to take a couple of hours off work," the retired headmaster said.

"These days they have months off work because they only actually work for a couple of minutes during their shifts and that's when they can actually to the office because of the terrible security situation," he added.

But it's not all fun and games. Economists have estimated that these extended holidays are costing the Iraqi government $3 billion a year in lost productivity. This coincides with low oil prices and an expensive war on the Islamic State group which are causing a serious burden on the country's finances.

Despite these shocking losses, Iraqi lawmakers recently granted provincial councils the right to grant public holidays in their constituencies.

How many days do you have off a year? Let us know in the comments section.

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