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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more about Lucie Mitchell

HR tip: Types of holiday – statutory, bank and public holidays


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


I have been looking through the contracts of employment of several of our employees and find reference to statutory, bank and public holidays. There appears to be no consistency. What exactly are these words defining?

It can be quite confusing. Bank and public holidays are frequently confused and the term 'statutory' was often used to denote both types in the days before the Working Time Regulations were introduced. Before then some employees in the civil service and banking institutions were given holidays as a result of some Act of Parliament or other – hence the term 'statutory' – whereas most other people had to rely on their employer providing holidays as part of the contract of employment.

The true position is this. Christmas Day and Good Friday, being the two main Christian festivals when people were expected to go to church, are public holidays. Six other days are bank holidays and include New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, early May bank holiday, spring bank holiday, summer bank holiday, and Boxing Day. No particular holidays are designated officially as statutory holidays, but the term is used to denote the minimum entitlement of 5.6 weeks due to every employee (the equivalent of four weeks, two public and six bank holidays for a five-day week worker) that may be taken on dates agreed with the employer. 
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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell

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