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UK bank holidays in 2020

UK bank holidays in 2020
Image source: Getty Images.

(Looking for 2021 dates? We’ve got you covered for UK bank holidays next year, too!)

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As the end of the year approaches, a lot of us turn our minds to plans for the year ahead. So why not get up to speed with when you can experience the magic of a UK bank holiday weekend?

Here we break down when you can expect a bank holiday in 2020, and – spoiler alert – there’s a little surprise this year.

England and Wales

Those of us living in England and Wales can expect eight bank holidays in 2020. The major change for this year is that the early May bank holiday – which is typically on a Monday – has been moved to a Friday for the coming year in order to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

So here are your bank holidays for 2020:

Wednesday 1st January – New Year’s Day

Friday 10th April – Good Friday

Monday 13th April – Easter Monday

Friday 8th May – Early May bank holiday (this is the one that has changed)

Monday 25th May – Spring bank holiday

Monday 31st August – Summer bank holiday

Friday 25th December – Christmas Day

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Monday 28th December – Boxing Day

Now, eagle eyed readers will have noticed that the Boxing Day bank holiday is not on its usual date of 26th December. This is because the 26th is a Saturday, and when a bank holiday falls on a weekend, a ‘substitute’ weekday becomes the bank holiday. So, in 2020, the Boxing Day bank holiday will be moved from Saturday 26th December to Monday 28th December.


If you are lucky enough to live in Scotland, you can expect nine bank holidays in 2020. Most of the dates are largely the same as those for England and Wales, but there are a few key differences.

Firstly, Scotland has a bank holiday on Thursday 2nd January. Secondly, there is no Easter Monday bank holiday. The Summer bank holiday is on Monday 3rd August instead of Monday 31st August, and those living in Scotland get an extra bank holiday on Monday 30th November to mark St Andrew’s Day.

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland, bank holiday dates differ again, and you will benefit from 10 bank holidays in 2020.

Northern Ireland has all the same bank holiday dates as England and Wales in 2020, but there are additional bank holidays on Tuesday 17th March for St Patrick’s Day and Monday 13th July to mark the Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day). The bank holiday to mark the Battle of the Boyne is usually on 12th July each year, but as this falls on a Sunday in 2020, it is instead on a ‘substitute’ weekday, which is the Monday. 

Does everyone get bank holidays?

Whether you get bank holidays or not depends on the type of work you do and terms of your employment contract. Not all employers are required to give you paid leave for bank holidays. Instead, they can choose whether or not to include bank holidays as part of your statutory annual leave.

If your place of work is closed on a bank holiday, then your employer could make you take them as part of your annual leave entitlement. Alternatively, some employers might give you bank holidays on top of your annual leave entitlement. If this is the case, then you can check out this information on how to travel on a budget.

When it comes to holiday entitlement, as a full-time employee, you are entitled to 28 days paid annual leave. You may find that this includes the eight bank holidays, so you will have those off and then an additional 20 days.

If you’re full-time and your employer doesn’t include bank holidays in your annual leave, you’ll be entitled to your 28 days paid annual leave plus the eight bank holiday days – making your total holiday entitlement for the year 36 days.

If you are a part-time employee, it all changes again. To calculate your holiday entitlement, you need to multiply 5.6 days (your statutory leave entitlement) by the number of days you work each week. So if you work two days a week, you’ll be entitled to 11.2 days of annual leave. However, if you work Mondays and bank holidays are part of your holiday entitlement, then a higher proportion of your holidays will have ‘fixed’ dates. So for example, in England in 2020 there are four bank holidays that fall on a Monday. That would mean four of your 11.2 days of annual leave would have to be taken on those Mondays, leaving you with 7.2 days of leave.

If you work part-time and are not contracted to work on Mondays, you will typically find that your employer will give you a pro-rata bank holiday entitlement as part of your annual leave.

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