Under Ghana’s Holidays Legislation, there are three kinds of statutory holidays, namely:
(i) Public Holidays (properly so-called),
(ii) Additional Holidays and
(iii) Substitute Holidays
These have been laid down and specifically listed by the statute and will be celebrated every year, with or without announcements from the Interior Minister. Such announcements, when made, only remind the citizenry of what already exists in the law. It is not the announcement that creates the public holiday. That holiday is statutorily provided, and therefore cannot be changed or added to without amending the Act; and only Parliament can do this.
These are holidays other than those specifically mentioned in the Act, but which are declared “in addition to the public holidays” by the President, if he considers it to be “in the public interest” so to do. The President, if he so desires, must do so by Executive Instrument.
As the name suggests, these are alternative or replacement holidays. These come about where “the President is satisfied that it would be inexpedient” (i.e. not convenient) for any reason, for a Public Holiday to be so observed. Under those circumstances, the President is given the statutory discretion to declare by Executive Instrument that any other day would be observed “as a public holiday instead of that day.” It is under a somewhat stretched or expanded application of this provision that sometimes, when the Public Holiday falls on a weekend, the President would declare the following working day, usually a Monday, as a Public Holiday.
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By : Ace Ankomah