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United Kingdom

Public Holidays

Public Holidays 2016 and 2017

We currently have public holidays for 2016 and 2017 listed. Scroll down to view.

The United Kingdom (UK) consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Public holidays in the United Kingdom are regulated by the Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971. All banks are closed on public holidays and three of the nationally observed days are not commemorative days, they are just dates when the banks are closed.

Public holidays, observed throughout the United Kingdom, are required holidays when most businesses and non-essential services close down. These holidays were first officially observed when the 1871 Bank Holidays Act designated specific public holidays in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Today, the main statute that defines holidays is the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971. This Act gives Her Majesty the Queen the authority to grant one-time national holidays if she sees purpose. HRH Queen Elizabeth II has used this power for days of mourning and celebration, such as the recent marriage of her grandson Prince William.

Bank holidays are holidays when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. However public holidays are also referred to as bank holidays, with the two terms often used interchangeably. Bank holidays are legally known to observe closures of bank and financial institutions. Even though all banks are closed on official bank holidays, many shops remain open.

Workers don’t have an automatic right to paid leave on bank and public holidays in the UK, though most full-time workers receive a paid day off work, and casual workers receive pay at higher penalty rates. Labor laws in the United Kingdom provide the employers with the option to give a paid day off in lieu for public holidays, most employers opt for the premium pay to keep businesses operational on other dates. If a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday is normally postponed to the following week day, which is then referred to as a “substitute public holiday” or an “observed holiday.”

Cultural and religious Holidays

Across the UK there are increasing calls for a public holiday on the patron saint’s days such as St. Patrick’s Day, which is already recognized as a holiday. In Scotland, other more localized public holidays based on local tradition can be determined by local authorities. For example, since 2007, St. Andrew’s Day has been an alternative, voluntary public holiday, which replaces an existing public holiday.

The UK government acknowledges that there are many religious and cultural holidays celebrated in the United Kingdom by its diverse population. These holidays are not viewed as public holidays and employers are not required to provide paid days off for celebrations of these events.

Public Holidays 2016

DateDayHolidayCountries
1 JanFriNew Year's DayNational
4 JanMon2nd JanuaryScotland
17 MarThuSt Patrick's DayNorthern Ireland
25 MarFriGood FridayNational
28 MarMonEaster MondayNational except Scotland
2 MayMonEarly May Bank HolidayNational
30 MayMonSpring Bank HolidayNational
12 JulTueBattle of the Boyne
(Orangemen's Day)
Northern Ireland
1 AugMonSummer Bank HolidayScotland
29 AugMonSummer Bank HolidayNational except Scotland
30 NovWedSt. Andrew's DayScotland
25 DecSunChristmas DayNational
26 DecMonBoxing DayNational
27 DecTueChristmas Day
(Substitute Day)
National

Public Holidays 2017

DateDayHolidayCountries
1 JanSunNew Year's DayNational
2 JanMonNew Year's Day
(Substitute Day)
National except Scotland
2 JanMon2nd JanuaryScotland
3 JanTueNew Year's Day
(Substitute Day)
Scotland
17 MarFriSt Patrick's DayNorthern Ireland
14 AprFriGood FridayNational
17 AprMonEaster MondayNational except Scotland
1 MayMonEarly May Bank HolidayNational
29 MayMonSpring Bank HolidayNational
12 JulWedBattle of the Boyne
(Orangemen's Day)
Northern Ireland
7 AugMonSummer Bank HolidayScotland
28 AugMonSummer Bank HolidayNational except Scotland
30 NovThuSt. Andrew's DayScotland
25 DecMonChristmas DayNational
26 DecTueBoxing DayNational