MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University will close its doors on 21 December, rather than 25 December. An extended ‘Christmas closure’. Why? “To give employees extra time to recuperate and rest,” the Executive Board wrote in a communication e-mail last week. Four extra days off? Yes, but at the expense of regular holiday leave.
The Executive Board says it understands the “pressure and upheaval” that COVID-19 has caused. They plan to tackle this with an earlier closure. Besides: in the week of 21 December it is possible, as there are hardly any classes anymore by then. Students have to a large extent completed their exams. “We believe that a lot of employees will be able to rest more with the extra days that we are closed,” the Executive Board writes.
But it is recommended that the announcement is read right to the end: taking a rest is at the expense of your own holiday leave, it states further along. “We emphasise that the choice between taking days or (partly) working is completely voluntary.” You will then have to work from home, because the UM buildings will be closed; that is what is meant by ‘Christmas closure’.
A gift out of one’s own pocket? According to spokesperson Fons Elbersen, this is not the case. He thinks that it is clear as daylight that the extra days are not a gift. “The UM is setting conditions that will enable you to take two weeks off, without you being bothered by all kinds of things at work.” Elbersen feels that it is no more than “advice” to make use of the possibility offered to take leave. In addition, it is a signal to people to not disturb others with WhatsApp messages and e-mails.