Christmas around the world

15th December 2017

Christmas is right around the corner and over 2 billion people are winding down from work, enjoying the build up to the festivities and looking forward to a much needed rest. So, what about the other 5 billion habitants of our blue and green planet?

It may surprise you to learn that Christmas Day is not as simple as just the 25th December. In fact, countries all over the world have different ways and different days to mark the occasion.

Our Dutch counterparts have already celebrated St Nicholas’ Day on the 6th  December, prefaced by the arrival of Sinterklass and his abundance of presents on 5th December.

Epiphany is observed as a public holiday similarly to Christmas Day, however it is not until 6th  January. Countries that mark this include Austria, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, Germany, Greece and Spain.

The following day on 7th January is Orthodox Christmas, celebrated by Russia, Serbia and Ukraine amongst others.

And then there are the countries who do not celebrate Christmas in any form, having no public holidays to mark it in their calendar, such as China, Israel, Mauritius, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

Now, think about this from the perspective of payroll manager with responsibility for employees overseas. They must comprehensively understand the holiday dates and customs (is it a public holiday? Do staff get paid for time off? Is the business open during this time? Do staff have to use their annual leave even if the business is closed?) for every single country they operate out of and ensure that everybody is paid accurately and on time. This process can quickly and terrifyingly become a juggling act if a company has staff in countries that mark the holiday season in different ways and at different times.

Don’t underestimate the complexity of the holiday season in regards to payroll. You must make sure you have a firm grasp on exactly how you need to process pay and holiday time for each individual employee, regardless of their geographic location. Remember, there are ISO-certified, fully compliant international payroll service providers with experts positioned in countries all over the world, such as FMP Global, that can help you out should you need it.

We wish you happy holidays, however, wherever and whenever you are or are not celebrating!

Download our International Payroll Services brochure here.