How many bank holidays does the UK have compared to other countries?

·3-min read
Britain's Queen Elizabeth arrives for the ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain June 12, 2021. Eddie Mulholland/Pool via REUTERS
The UK is set for an extra day off on 3 June to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. (Reuters)

The Chancellor is expected to consider proposals to create a new bank holiday in honour of the Queen, but Downing Street has warned it would cost billions.

The UK is already set for an extra day off on 3 June to mark the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee but industry groups, including Hospitality UK, have called for it to become permanent.

Currently, the UK has just eight permanent bank holidays, which is the second-lowest in the world alongside Netherlands and Hungary, according to data from asset management company Mercer.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak supports the plan for a new holiday, according to the Telegraph.

Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie, are also thought to be fans of a new permanent day off, the Express adds.

Read more: Cost of living: Rishi Sunak risks 'tipping UK into recession'

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street on the day of the Spring Statement, in London, Britain, March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to consider proposals to create a new bank holiday. (Reuters)

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman has stressed this year’s extra day off was to mark a “unique” event and he was “not aware of any plans to make it permanent”.

While it would be kept under review, the spokesman said a new bank holiday was estimated to cost the economy £2 billion.

The spokesman said each bank holiday “presents a considerable and significant cost to our economy and therefore each proposal would have to be considered carefully on that basis”.

Asia, India, Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi (Benares), Ghats on the River Ganges
India has an impressive 18 bank holidays. (Getty)

Which countries have the most bank holidays?

Colombia and India are joint first in the world with 18 bank holidays a year.

Thailand, Lebanon and South Korea are in second place with 16 days off.

There are several countries with 14, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Morrocco.

In North America, Canada has 11, and the USA has 10 days off.

Young woman standing in front of SkyWheel Helsinki with skyline of Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral and Alvar Aalto’s Enso-Gutzeit Headquarters at dawn, South Harbour, Kauppatori, Helsinki, capital city of Finland.
Finland has 15 bank holidays. (Getty)

What about Europe?

Finland has the most bank holidays in Europe, with 15.

Next up is Turkey with 14.5 days off, followed by Malta and Spain on 14.

Western European nations are among the least generous when handing out bank holidays.

Despite this, France (11), Italy (11), Portugal (10) and Germany (9) still have more bank holidays than the UK.

The UK comes second to last in the rankings alongside the Netherlands with just eight days off.

Mexico is in last place, giving its employees a paltry seven days off.

Could the UK get more bank holidays?

The debate around an extra bank holiday has been around for years.

One of the biggest sticking points is many of the contenders for new bank holidays fall in April, May and June when most of the UK's bank holidays already are.

Besides the Queen's coronation day, the biggest contender for a bank holiday is St George's Day on 23 April.

Labour pledged to introduce four new holidays centred around the national days of the four devolved nations in their 2019 election manifesto.

They would have been St David’s Day (1 March), St Patrick’s Day (17 March), St George’s Day and St Andrew’s Day (30 November).

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