If you’ve been reading my articles since I started writing for The Roanoke Star, you’ll know I usually stick to more serious topics. In-person, it’s has occasionally been noted that I don’t talk much but when I do, it’s often worth hearing. Today is no different. I’ve long believed what I’ll talk about and in my research for this article, I found that I’m not alone in my opinion.
Today, I’m making the case that no one should have to work on their birthday.
My family always made it a big event, the birthday person’s (BP) choice of breakfast, choice activities for the day, and a favorite dinner, either out or homemade. Presents and cake were a staple of course. My wife has carried on the tradition as birthdays were important in her family too.
My birthday is at the end of July so I never had to balance school obligations with birthday wishes. When I realized I would have my first work birthday the year I turned 22 it was something I reluctantly accepted as a fact of life from then on.
But I say, no longer – work birthdays are something nobody should suffer!
Birthdays are to celebrate the individual. The BP should do what they want to enjoy their special day. This is why no one should have any more pressing obligations than to be celebrated on their birthday. I can grudgingly agree to the opinion that children should still attend school on their birthday because I know that they’d have to make up the work and miss out on valuable lessons if they skipped. But laborers in the workforce can prepare for their day off just as they do prior to a vacation.
I never thought growing up that my sister (born in October) might think it unfair I didn’t have to go to school on my birthday but she did on hers. Perhaps she never thought that, because that’s just how the cookie crumbled. In any case, my opinion is for government-ordered work birthday reprieves.
There are three obvious issues that must be dealt with before it can be enacted into law: religious freedom, a right to privacy, and what to do about Saturdays and part-timers.
The first two can be knocked out with one qualifying stone. Whether you are a Jehovah’s Witness and don’t celebrate birthdays or value privacy to the point that you don’t want your co-workers to know your date of birth, there would be a code to put on your leave request and only used once in a calendar year.
Not everyone celebrates Christmas, but, if offered, we all take Christmas vacation. At my job, we write S/L for sick leave and A/L for annual leave, which is vacation time. When work birthdays are outlawed, I will put B/D on my July leave request. If you want to use this code another day of the year, maybe to extend an already planned vacation, you may, but that is a dismal sacrifice to work on your birthday.
What about those who aren’t scheduled to work on their birthday that year? Since birthdays fall on different days of the week, should a Monday through Friday worker have to lose their work birthday pass because their birthday lands on a weekend? Should a part-timer not enjoy an extra day-off because they weren’t already scheduled on their birthday?
To those questioners, I ask, “Do fish get thirsty?” The answer to all these questions is a resounding “No!”
Until we make the change I want to see in this world, work hard, but hardly work on your birthday . . .
– Scot Bellavia