The following table shows the bank holidays for the United Kingdom
|Bank Holiday||Day of week||Date||Week|
|New Year's Day||Sunday||1st January 2017||1|
|New Year's Day (substitute)||Monday||2nd January 2017||1|
|St Patrick's Day||Friday||17th March 2017||11|
|Good Friday||Friday||25th March 2017||15|
|Easter Monday||Monday||28th March 2017||16|
|May Day||Monday||2nd May 2017||18|
|Spring Bank Holiday||Monday||30th May 2017||22|
|Battle of the Boyne||Wednesday||12th July 2017||28|
|Summer Bank Holiday||Monday||7th August 2017||32|
|Late Summer Bank Holiday||Monday||28th August 2017||35|
|St Andrew's Day||Thursday||30th November 2017||48|
|Christmas Day||Monday||25th December 2017||51|
|Boxing Day||Tuesday||26th December 2017||52|
Bank holidays are national public holidays in the UK along with some countries in the commonwealth and EU. On bank holiday banks and many businesses are closed. Traditionally, most businesses were closed on these days but nowadays it is common for retail businesses to stay open in order to take advantage of the additional shoppers. Even though banks close and much of the population’s employees are allowed time from work or additional salary payments in return for working on these days, there is not actually an automatic right for employees to have time off.
Bank Holiday History
Up until the year 1834, there were 33 religious holidays and saints’ days in England. However, in 1834, this was reduced to just four days per year. These were May Day (May 1st), All Saints’ Day (1st November), Good Friday and Christmas Day. By 1871, one of the first pieces of legislation for bank holidays was passed.
The Bank Holiday Act of 1871 named the four first bank holidays but the same term is not often used to describe public holidays such as Christmas Day and Good Friday.
Under this new act, any person was not obliged to do anything that he would not be obliged to do on a Christmas Day or Good Friday. The people of England were incredibly thankful for the act that many referred to the first bank holidays at St Lubbocks days for some time after Sir John Lubbock who introduced the act. The days for England where somewhat different to those in Scotland. In 1903, Ireland also had St Patrick’s day as a public holiday and New Year’s Day became a holiday in England in 1974.
100 years after the 1871 Bank Holiday Act, an act to regulate the bank holidays in the UK was passed. This was the Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971. Most of the current bank holidays were specified in this act but New Year’s Day and May Day were employed used across the entire UK until 1974 and 1978. In this act, the August bank holiday was moved from the first Monday in August to the last Monday. The Whitsun bank holiday aka Whit Monday day was changed to the late Spring bank holiday.
Each year, Bank Holidays are appointed by Royal proclamation. This royal proclamation is also utilised to move and holidays which may fall on weekend to a week day so that the holidays are not wasted. These “moved” holidays are sometimes refereed to as “bank holidays in lieu” however in official legislation they are named substitute days. Emergency bank holidays can also be created by royal proclamation for example, the Millennium Holiday of 1999 and the Queens Jubilee.
Previous previous special royally proclaimed bank holidays include:
- 14th November 1973 – celebration of Princess and and Mark Phillips as wedding
- 7th June 1977 – celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee
- 19th July 1981 – celebration of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana
- 31st December 1999 – preparation for celebrations for the arrival of the year 2000
There are a few date differences between Scotland and the United Kingdom.
- Easter Monday is not a bank holiday in Scotland.
- Summer Bank Holiday is the first Monday in August rather than last Monday in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Bank Holidays do not have the same importance in Scotland as they for the rest of the UK. For example, banks are often open on these days.
Extra Bank Holidays
The UK has a small number of holidays in comparison to the rest of Europe and so there have been many calls for an increase in the number of bank holidays. St George’s Day (23rd April) is one day that has been campaigned for greatly. Most countries have a Saint’s Day for a public holiday however England does not. The decline of St Georges day has been in decline since the union of England and Scotland towards the end of the 18th century. However, support for the day has grown in recent years and has been mentioned in the House of Commons every from 2006 onwards.
The introduction of another public holiday in the UK would come at a financial cost for the entire country. This cost was reported in 2012 at approximately £2.4 billion. Even though not an official bank holiday, the day is still celebrated around the country.