Photo: Filonews

Most shopping malls and supermarkets will likely be closed across the country today, as these businesses are celebrating Commercial Employee Day. “What is that?” you may be wondering, well, this holiday has existed since 2009 when Article 76 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement No. 130/75 was modified. As a result, all employees have the opportunity to celebrate this day by taking time off – paid for, of course.

This is not a forced celebration and several shops remain open, even though they have the option not to. As the CAC (Argentine Chamber of Commerce) emphasizes, “this celebration does not affect the opening of shops when they are attended by their owners or with employees who agree to work that day.” The CAC also clarified that “employees will have the option of providing or not providing labor services…” Basically, if an employee does not work, they have the day off and their monthly compensation will not change. So if you were planning on doing your weekly shop today, fret not, you’ll probably be able to, even if you have to walk a bit more.

Although the national holiday is actually scheduled for the 26th of September, the CAC explained that due to “reasons of practicality,” this year it was moved up a day to create a bridge holiday weekend. In the past few months, the addition of bridge holidays has been a topic of heated debate, with its end goal to encourage domestic tourism.

In Buenos Aires 90% of retailers remained open; especially those small and medium businesses managed and worked by their owners, such as independent supermarkets and trades owned by Chinese residents. In Córdoba, 80% of small businesses remained open while in the downtown area only 50% did. In Santa Cruz, San Luis, and Salta, practically no shop owners honored the holiday.

Despite being a relatively new holiday, Commercial Employee Day has been catching on. Last year, between 80 and 90% of the shops in Chaco, Formosa, Jujuy and La Pampa had their doors closed for the day.

Aforementioned results for independent businesses run by residents like Chinese shop owners may not change much in the city of Buenos Aires, but keep this new holiday in mind if you ever find yourself in front of a mall with locked doors and a big “closed” sign.