PENTECOS MONDAY. Public holiday and non-working day for a majority of French employees, Monday May 20, 2024 can also be worked, due to the solidarity day. Who is affected and why?

This year 2024, Pentecost Monday falls on May 20. This date is not the same every year for this holiday, since it is held 50 ​​days after Easter. It takes place the day after Pentecost, which takes place this Sunday, May 19. This holiday is important to Christians, as they celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Earth. This event is crucial, since the Holy Spirit constitutes with the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus) the Holy Trinity. So, is Pentecost Monday, which follows this holiday, a public holiday or not? It is considered a public holiday, but is not a non-working day for all workers.

Some companies choose to work because of the solidarity day. This additional day of work is carried out by employees without remuneration in return. The law established this day in 2004, after the deadly heatwave of the previous year. It took place for the first time in 2005. The money collected during this day of solidarity is intended for elderly and disabled people. Thus, the 2004 law provided for this day to take place each year on Pentecost Monday. However, the system was changed in 2008 and it is no longer compulsory for it to take place on that day.

The solidarity day can thus be carried out during one of the 11 public holidays which take place every year in France, apart from May 1st which is necessarily a non-working day, but can also take other forms, such as the removal of a day of RTT. In fact, the majority of French employees will not work this Monday, May 20, and will benefit from a long weekend. To take full advantage of it, outing ideas are available further down on this page. For those who prefer to shop around, know that many stores, supermarkets and shopping centers will be open throughout France on Pentecost Monday. Whether you need to run errands or want to shop, you are spoiled for choice.

The confusion is great but the conclusion is simple. Since the signing of the Concordat of 1801 between the Catholic Church and Napoleon in 1801, Pentecost Monday was, throughout France, a public holiday. But the situation changed in 2003. That year, a heatwave caused the deaths of 15,000 people, most of them elderly. Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin then proposed the elimination of a public holiday, replaced by a “Solidarity Day”, intended to finance “actions in favor of the autonomy of elderly or disabled people”. Pentecost Monday is selected: employees are invited to work without remuneration in return.

The French bishops did not speak out against this measure, since Pentecost Monday has no longer been considered a day of major ceremonies since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). It is above all on the social level that the measure will be contested, as well as on that of the amounts actually released for the elderly. Pentecost Monday would have brought in just over 2 billion euros during the first years of the application of the measure. Already flexible in its initial version of 2004, the working solidarity day will be completely disconnected from Pentecost Monday from 2008. A Monday which will therefore remain fully a public holiday, alongside other off dates linked to a Christian holiday such as All Saints’ Day. .

In fact, this is independent of the calendar today and therefore no longer necessarily takes place on Pentecost Monday. Employees see their annual remuneration reduced by one working day to finance dependency. It is then up to employers to “compensate” as they wish for this “lost” day of work and salary. The law of April 16, 2008 (consult it here), which modified the system, stipulates that if the unpaid work day is maintained, it can take other forms (less day of leave or RTT, work one public holiday à la carte which can be the Monday in question, etc.).

Whether your solidarity day is carried out on this or that day, continuously or in parts, the work accomplished will remain unpaid, most of the time within the limit of 7 hours or that of a working day in the case of employees working at the day rate. Today, the main options remain: 1/ a working holiday other than May 1st; 2/ the removal of one day of RTT; 3/ seven unpaid overtime hours spread over the year. The employee is then obliged to work but can also take a day of paid leave, with the agreement of the employer or RTT. For this day of solidarity, the employer must pay a contribution equivalent to 0.3% of its annual payroll.

The terms of the Solidarity Day are either set by a collective sector agreement, or by decision of the employer, as specified on the website of the Ministry of Labor. The “Solidarity Day” measure affects all employees, except interns, and does not concern the liberal professions. Pentecost Monday has therefore once again become a public holiday like any other. According to a study carried out by the Randstad temporary employment group, only 20 to 30% of employees are present at their post that day. The National Solidarity Fund for Autonomy (CNSA) claims that the “solidarity day” system has brought in more than 30 billion euros since its establishment in 2004. It allows the State to raise around 2.5 billion euros per year for the elderly and disabled. Of this sum, nearly 1.4 billion euros must be allocated to elderly people via the Personalized Autonomy Allowance (APA), paid by the departments or the financing of medical-social services. A little over 900 million euros will go towards disability compensation or medical-social services for people with disabilities.

The measure has always been contested by worker unions. The CFDT sees it as “an unfair method of financing which is mainly based on the contribution of employees alone”, the CGT considers that the 2004 law establishing the solidarity day (then 2008) is “unfair”. On May 13, 2016, the French Confederation of Christian Workers published a press release severely criticizing the system, giving examples of “aberrations”: is it fair that a supermarket employee can be forced to work for free on a public holiday , while an SNCF agent is supposed to work 1 minute 52 minutes more per day to fulfill the so-called ‘solidarity day’?

In 2024, the Christian holiday of Pentecost is set for Sunday May 19 for Pentecost and Monday May 20 for Pentecost Monday, the holiday nature of which is not systematic.

Like the Ascension, which it follows by ten days, the day of Pentecost is fixed according to the date of Easter. The celebration of Pentecost takes place among Christians on the seventh Sunday following Easter, i.e. forty-nine days after the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ as stated in the Bible (i.e. the 50th day after this feast). The date of Pentecost Monday is fixed immutably the day after this celebration. The date of Pentecost Monday therefore follows Easter by 50 days: seven weeks of seven days to which an additional day is added to switch from Sunday to Monday.

The dates of Ascension and Pentecost are therefore directly impacted by the date of Easter, which is calculated according to the rules of Ecclesiastical Comput, which specifies the methods of fixing according to the phases of the moon and of the spring equinox. Since the Council of Nicaea held in the year 325, Easter has taken place on the Sunday following the first full moon following March 21, that is, between March 22 and April 25. Which means that Ascension and Pentecost can only “fall” between the beginning of May and June.

The Pentecost weekend period is usually marked by a warming of temperatures, especially as the days are already very long as the summer solstice approaches (the length of the day thus exceeds 15 hours in Paris at the end of May, giving the soil time to warm up in clear weather). The Ice Saints, heralds of the last frosts of the year between May 11 and 13, are well past… Enjoy!

Originally, Pentecost Sunday celebrated an essential religious episode for Christians. According to the Bible, seven weeks after Easter (the resurrection of Jesus after his death), and about ten days after the Ascension (the moment when he leaves the earth of Men), the apostles of Jesus were gathered in a place called Cenacle . This high place in Jerusalem – whose name will pass into common language – was already the scene of the Last Supper, Christ’s last meal. “Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like that of a rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Tongues, like tongues of fire, appeared to them, separated one from the other, and placed on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”, describes the Acts of the Apostles. Pentecost is therefore the celebration of the arrival of the Holy Spirit. For Christians, it is the third element of the Trinity with the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus). This entity pushes prophets to action, but also all human beings. The irruption of the Holy Spirit, already announced in the Old Testament, marks the beginning of the Catholic Church, since it is the Holy Spirit who will push the apostles to spread the good word from that day on. Note: In the Bible, the events of Pentecost are recorded to occur during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. The tradition of religious practice at this time of year therefore predates the advent of Christianity.