If obligations must be fulfilled before a given day, it is important that contracts correctly define working days, so that it is clear when the obligations are to be fulfilled. With the introduction of flexible working hours, the importance of the traditional working day decreases. While the eight-hour day remains the norm for many industries, this trend is expected to continue to decline in the coming years. Parties to trade should keep in mind Commonwealth and federal state injunctions regarding their contracts that import (or do not import a definition) any of the legal definitions. Such implementing regulations are not unprecedented in the world; The recent extension of the Chinese Lunar New Year in response to COVID-19 is an example of this. Vladimir Putin also recently declared a full week a Russian holiday. It is fine if the layoff or the money is delivered to the United States. But suppose you have an international transaction and the notification or money is delivered to Brazil, for example? In Brazil, people like to enjoy life and therefore have many more national and other holidays where bankers can close deals than in business-obsessed America. Sixteen, to be precise (at the last count), some of which are optional (whatever that means) not counting one day that each state can declare a public holiday and four others that a municipality can declare. In some cities in Brazil, this potentially means 21 days of non-life per year (in addition to weekends, which is a casual term in Brazil, which can span four or more days, especially during Carnival) where no one will be at home to receive a notification, regardless of its critical degree. While a day here or a day doesn`t matter much in most cases, in some cases the timing can be critical.
If your contract leads to critical obligations for which the time is crucial, the correct definition of „working day“ is essential. Jose is an international media, entertainment and transaction lawyer with extensive industry experience, including as General Counsel for HBO Latin America and Head of Business & Legal Affairs for Telemundo Network. Jose has negotiated and entered into numerous national and international contracts worth millions of dollars regarding the development, acquisition, production, licensing and distribution of content, as well as line talent agreements. Jose teaches media and entertainment law in the digital age at the University of Miami School of Law. Although most countries work about 40 hours a week from Monday to Friday, there are enough differences that those doing international business check the days of the business week in the country you are doing business with. For example, in business with middle eastern countries, remember that many of them have a work week from Sunday to Thursday. In some countries, such as India, Mexico and Colombia, the work week is Monday to Saturday. The second theme is that the term „working day“ is generally measured in relation to a given place, for example a particular State or nation or the place where the obligation is to be fulfilled. The definition of a particular State or nation may be problematic if the treaty operates in more than one jurisdiction. A party in a jurisdiction may find that its obligations are not relieved by a statutory holiday in its own jurisdiction if the measure of a business day is a different jurisdiction.
Simple application of multiple jurisdictions may not be a solution, as it could increase the number of days that are not working days. . . .