Bank Holiday vs Public Holiday
Bank holidays and public holidays are often used interchangeably, but there can be differences between the two depending on the country. In most cases, both terms refer to days off for the general public and banks. This article will discuss the distinctions and practices surrounding bank holidays and public holidays in different countries.
What is a Public Holiday?
Public holidays are typically declared by a country’s government and usually apply to public servants and banks. Whether private sector employees receive these holidays depends on the country. In most countries, significant public holidays such as Independence Day or Christmas Day are observed by everyone. However, less important public holidays may not apply to those working in the mercantile sector.
Public holidays are sometimes referred to as legal holidays or national holidays in some countries. In the United States, there are no public holidays, but there are 11 federal holidays. These are called federal holidays because the U.S. has a federal government. Most of these holidays are also observed by individual states. If a federal holiday falls on a weekend, it is usually observed on the next weekday. The President of the United States can also designate a specific day as a holiday, such as when President George Bush declared September 11 as a National Mourning Day in remembrance of those killed in terror attacks. These days can be considered national holidays, but they are not public holidays.
In Scotland, bank holidays and public holidays are observed separately based on traditions and customs. In other countries within the United Kingdom, bank holidays are typically considered public holidays.
- Public holidays are declared by a country’s government and usually apply to public servants and banks, while bank holidays specifically refer to holidays for bank employees.
- In the United States, there are no public holidays but there are 11 federal holidays.
- Scotland observes bank holidays and public holidays separately based on traditions and customs, while in other countries within the United Kingdom, bank holidays are typically considered public holidays.
What is a Bank Holiday?
Bank holidays, as the name implies, are paid holidays for bank employees. The concept of bank holidays began in the early 19th century in the United Kingdom when the Bank of England observed 34 holidays that were separate from religious occasions. This changed with the Bank Holidays Act of 1871, which reduced the number of bank holidays to four. However, Sir John Lubbock, a cricket enthusiast, added a provision for holidays on days when important cricket matches were scheduled between different regions. A century later, in 1971, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act was passed, which specified bank holidays and added New Year’s Day and May Day as official bank holidays.
In the United Kingdom, a Royal Proclamation is used to declare bank holidays each year. If a bank holiday falls on a weekend, the Royal Proclamation declares the day in the following week as a holiday. This ensures that bank holidays are not lost in years when they fall on weekends or already declared holidays. Interestingly, these days are referred to as “substitute days.”
There are some differences in bank holiday practices between countries, such as in Scotland, where Easter Monday is not a bank holiday. Additionally, while the Summer Bank Holiday is observed throughout the United Kingdom, it falls on the first Monday of August in Scotland and the last Monday of August in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In the United States, banks are typically closed on federal holidays, which can also be considered bank holidays.
What is the difference between Bank Holiday and Public Holiday?
- Public holidays are declared by the government and have cultural or historical significance, while bank holidays are specifically for bank employees.
- Most public holidays are also bank holidays.
- Public holidays may be referred to as legal holidays, national holidays, or federal holidays (in the U.S.), while bank holidays are generally called bank holidays in all countries.