Work & Worship: Getting Time Off for Holy Days
Every employer gives money in exchange for what the employee can give in return. It does not matter what the employer offers to the public: a product or a service; brain-power or muscle-power, the principle remains the same. An employer exchanges money for what an employee can provide the business.
Often when a person asks his boss for time off to keep the lunar Sabbath, he will make the mistake of trying to get the desired work accommodation by explaining that he needs the Sabbath off because of his religious convictions. That approach rarely, if ever, works. To put it bluntly, your boss does not care. He does not care about your “felt needs” and he certainly does not care about your religious convictions. He has a business to run. That is his need and only those who help him meet his needs will be retained as employees.
You could take in your spouse, your children, your elderly parents, and plead for a job that lets you have off holy days because the great Elohim of Heaven says to keep holy the seventh-day of some ancient calendar, and it will not keep your job or get you a new one. Even the nicest and most sympathetic of employers will not accommodate your needs on those grounds.
The reason is simple. Your boss has a family to support, too. He has bills to pay and possibly other employees that must be kept happy, as well. His ability to support his family and pay his bills is directly related to how well he performs in his job as manager, or as owner of a business. His success is based upon wise decisions that benefit the business, rather than being a “nice guy” to one employee.
You and your employer both have needs. Your need is to have time-off the regular work schedule so that you can keep Yahuwah’s holy days. Your boss’s need is to make sound decisions that will bring income into the business. You want your boss to accommodate you. This will require making concessions to accommodate him. You may have to work for less pay or at different times, even at night. You may have to work six days a week or on weekends. Do not expect your boss to do all the conceding while you do none.
The business owner/employer will give accommodation only when the employee has something of greater benefit to give the business in return for having the requested days off. When you approach your employer, do so from the stand point of what you have to offer him. It will likely take extra effort on the part of your boss to work around your changing schedule. Make sure that when you ask him for this accommodation, what you have to offer him in return is of greater benefit to him than what he will be sacrificing to accommodate your needs.
As someone who is not bound by the Gregorian week, you have a unique service to offer your employer that can greatly benefit him, but you need to let him know this. Night time shifts are often perfect for lunar Sabbath keepers, but the dawn to dusk hours must be taken into consideration and scheduled accordingly with allowance for travel time to get home, etc. The nights that would need full accommodation from dusk to dawn are Passover and the Day of Atonement, which could be scheduled far in advance. Unlike most of his other employees, you can work times that other employees do not want to work.
When you can offer, “I will work five and a half days for the same wage you now pay me for five days,” the boss will be more likely to grant the request. Being willing to work national holidays, weekends, nights, and other times most people do not want to work, gives the employer something of value in return for his accommodation. For many small business owners, this may require signing a waiver to not be paid overtime.
Requests for time off for holy days should be submitted in writing. In presenting your request, either when asking for accommodation for your current job, or when applying for a new job, you must clearly present that what you have to offer will benefit the business even more by what you can provide in exchange for those days off. Only in this way, will an employer see a reason to provide for your holy days and employ you, rather than someone else who is not as much “trouble.”
You should also provide a printed off explanation of the calendar and the dates (with the relevant hours) you need off for several months in advance. It is difficult for most people to grasp how a different method of time-keeping works. By providing the employer with a printed calendar and the dates you need off, as well as all the days you are available to work, the employer can make an informed decision.
You will not get holy days off based on a statement of your need. The boss is more concerned with what he can receive, rather than your need. You will only receive what you need, if what you have to offer in exchange is valuable enough to your employer, that it off-sets the extra hassle of scheduling around your varying days available for work.
It goes without saying that your loyalty and work ethic must be without flaw. In this, Daniel is an inspiring example. Late in Daniel’s life, Darius the Mede appointed him as chief over all the other government officials. Darius singled Daniel out for this important position because “Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him.” (Daniel 6:3, KJV)
This aroused the jealousy of the other high-ranking government officials. They tried to find something they could accuse him of so the king would have him removed from his position.
“Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” (Daniel 6:4, KJV)
What a testimony! Not even his enemies, those who were looking for faults, could find an occasion to fault Daniel. That sort of work ethic will be valued by any employer. You must be on time for work, courteous, cheerful with customers and fellow employees, easy-to-get along with, prompt and thorough in your work. By your honesty and carefulness to do your job well, be sure you are an employee that your boss will want to retain.
Even in the work force, you can exert a powerful influence for Yahuwah. Scripture reveals that Heaven is willing to bless even unbelievers, for the sake of the faithful believing individual. So it was with Joseph even when he was but a slave.
Yahweh was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that Yahweh was with him and that Yahweh made all he did to prosper in his hand.
So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put in his hand.
So it was, from the time that he made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that Yahweh blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Yahweh was on all that he had in the house and in the field. (See Genesis 39:2-5.)
What do you think happened to Potiphar’s business ventures when He allowed Joseph to be wrongfully imprisoned? Yahweh showered blessings on Potiphar’s business affairs for Joseph’s sake. He is the same today and is willing to help His faithful, obedient children today as they seek to honor Him.
Accommodation for working a different schedule means that you are obliged to give more and be a better employee than any of the other regular workers. You must be able to show your boss that in exchange for giving you certain days off, the business will benefit by what he will receive in exchange.
And as you seek to live out in your sphere of influence the principles of honesty, integrity and hard work, you can be a shining example of truth and righteousness as were Joseph and Daniel. To your current boss, any prospective employer and your work mates as well, you are witnessing even when you askfor holy days off of work. They are thus learning that there is a Biblical calendar that is different from the papal Gregorian calendar used in the business world. Your stand for truth, in spite of the obstacles that may stand in your way, will be a witness to your family, friends and business acquaintances.
Yahoshua will stand by you and strengthen you for whatever lies ahead.
Letters to Employers: WLC is pleased to provide several different letters that may be used when requesting your employer for accommodation for keeping the holy days. Modify to fit your personal information, print off, and send!
Résumés: Introducing Yourself to an Employer: A well-written résumé is an essential first-step to gaining an interview. Write a résumé that highlights all you have to offer a prospective employer. Sample résumés have been provided for your review.
For Students & Teachers: Keeping the Lunar Sabbath can be difficult for students because the school year is regulated by the civil Gregorian calendar. Even those in advanced schooling, or those taking exams for professional licenses may find it necessary to ask for special accommodation. Here you will find several letter templates you can use for making such requests. Modify as needed to fit your own individual circumstances.