Holidays in England

Did you know that England has the fewest public holidays in Europe?  It seems pretty tough to think there are only 8 days per year when banks, offices and factories are closed and the workers are entitled to a day’s rest, especially when compared to other European states. The English have 1 less day of public holidays than Germans, 3 less than the French and 6 less than the Spanish.

 There are a few rules applicable to working out the days of public holidays, according to whether they fall on a Sunday (which, in common with other European countries, is an official rest day, along with Saturdays).  When a public holiday occurs on a Sunday, the following Monday becomes the day when the holiday is observed.  However, this can become a little more complicated.  Take 2016 as an example.  As we all know, Christmas Day (which is one of the eight public holidays in England) is on 25 December. However, that will be a Sunday this year.  This does not mean that the 2016 Christmas Day holiday takes place on Monday 26 December.  The reason for this is that the day after Christmas in England is known as Boxing Day, which is another of the official public holidays.  This means that the extra day for the Christmas holiday falls on Tuesday 27 December in 2016.

Public holidays in England always move forward in the calendar; they never move back.  In 2016 this will probably mean a productive last week in the offices and factories, up to Friday 23 December, with many people choosing to take the whole of the following week off for a holiday.  Indeed, with 1 January 2017 being a Monday, this means that for the cost of 3 work days (28 to 30 December), you can get 9 days’ holiday (counting the two weekends before and after Christmas).

Of course, people in England usually get more than the minimum official 8 days of holiday each year.  For starters, schools and universities have extensive holidays, normally taking in but extending beyond the official public holidays. In 2016, for instance, most schools will break up for the February half term, typically after Friday 12 February and not return to school until around Monday 22 February.  Further holidays take place at Easter, with schools tending to break up the day before Good Friday, 25 March.  However, the students don’t go back to school after Easter Monday 28 March but have 3 week break, returning to their studies on Monday 11 April 2016.

Summer holidays for schools in England tend to be shorter than in France, for example.  English schools are scheduled to break for their summer holidays from 20th July this year and return around 8 weeks later, on the first Monday in September. French school children, by comparison, are expecting to go back to school at the same time in September.  The big difference is when they start; in the case of France, this is from 5 July.  English school students may therefore expect to have 2 weeks less summer holidays than their French counterparts.

by William H.