UK Bank Holidays

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General Information
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Bank Holidays are days of the year when there is a general day off from work. Originally these were days when banks shut and so this took away the ability of many other businesses to operate normally and so there was a general shut down of all work places on these days.
The first official recognition in law came about in 1871 with the Bank Holidays Act. For the first time days which would be classed as official bank Holidays were laid out. Notably the act omitted Christmas Day and Good Friday as these were already recognised as days of rest. The act was incorporated into the Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971 along with some additional dates. Dates added after the act are setout annually by Royal Proclamation.

There had been many national days of holiday before this time and pre 1834 these numbered 33.
In modern times it's become more and more common for some class of workers, for example employees in the larger retail stores, to continue to work on these days but as 2 or 3 times their normal salary. Banks still all closed and the majority of businesses shut but enough remain open to provide a basic range of services. Those involved in the emergency services will also largely remain at work on these days.

There always calls for extra days to be set aside for bank holidays and for all manner of events to be recognised in such a way, for example some people are asking for a British Day, a Europe Day and for the Queens Birthday to be marked with a national holiday.

Oweing to differences in national history between the four countries that makeup the UK, (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) bank holidays are not consistent between each country, with certain countries having their own holidays not taken as national holidays in the other countries. However in reality only those common dates set out in statute or proclamation are days off. National days off not declared in statute or proclamation are just that, national holidays and not bank holidays.

Certain bank holidays are fixed in date but if they occur on a weekend they are then deferred to the next working day, for example Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If they both occur on a Saturday and a Sunday they the Monday and Tuesday become the bank holidays.

Its worth noting that even though the days themselves are set aside and recognized there is no actual statutory right to have a day off on these days. It would very hard to find a company that didn't recognize these days as paid days of leave but the bottom line is whether or not a worker is entitled to the day off is down to their contractual rights.

England, Northern Ireland and Wales
  2015 2016 2017
New Year's Day 1 Jan 1 Jan  
Good Friday 3 Apr 25 Mar  
Easter Monday 6 Apr 28 Mar  
Early May Bank Holiday 4 May 2 May  
Spring Bank Holiday 25 may 30 may  
Summer Bank Holiday 31 Aug 29 Aug  
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec  
Boxing Day 28 Dec 26 Dec  
Christmas day substitute   27 Dec  
Additional Northern Ireland Holidays      
St Patrick's Day 17 Mar 17 Mar 17 mar
Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen's Day) 13 July 12 July  

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