Commonly asked questions on the legal issues relating to holiday entitlement and calculating holiday pay
These Q&As deal specifically with the subject of bank and public holidays. For information on holidays generally, see our Annual leave and holiday pay Q&As. A list of relevant legislation is given at the end of these Q&As.
Bank holidays are days when banks are entitled to close, either by Royal proclamation or under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.
The terms ‘bank holiday’ and ‘public holiday’ are often used interchangeably. In England and Wales a bank holiday is usually a public holiday as well, in that the majority of people have the day off.
In Scotland it is more important to draw a distinction between bank holidays and public (or local) holidays because the latter are determined by local authorities, based on local tradition (not statute) and after consultation with local business interests. Dates for bank holidays are the same across the whole of Scotland.