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UK bank holidays in 2021

UK bank holidays in 2021
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It’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t exactly turned out how we all expected. Lots of plans will have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic, including lots of holiday plans. If you are like me and have already started to look towards next year, you may want to know when the bank holidays fall in 2021. So let’s break it down for you.

England and Wales

Those living in England and Wales can expect the standard eight bank holidays in 2021. This won’t change unless the Queen proclaims an extra bank holiday, which is within her powers. But this typically only happens if there is a royal celebration such as a wedding or a jubilee.

There are no major changes for 2021, but you will see that around the Christmas period the UK will have some substitute bank holidays. This is because Christmas and Boxing Day fall on a Saturday and Sunday respectively in 2021. As a result, the bank holidays will instead fall on Monday 27th December and Tuesday 28th December, giving many of us four consecutive days off over the festive period.

The only other thing to note is that Easter appears to be relatively early in 2021. This means schools will have a shorter spring term before Easter and a longer summer term after the holiday.

So here are the bank holidays for 2021:

Friday 1st January – New Year’s Day

Friday 2nd April – Good Friday

Monday 5th April – Easter Monday

Monday 3rd May – Early May bank holiday

Monday 31st May – Spring bank holiday

Monday 30th August – Summer bank holiday

Monday 27th December – Christmas Day (substitute day)

Tuesday 28th December – Boxing Day (substitute day)

Scotland

Those living in Scotland get nine bank holidays in 2021. These are largely similar to the bank holidays in England and Wales, but there are a few key differences.

The first difference between the countries is that Scotland traditionally has a bank holiday on 2nd January. But because this date falls on a Saturday in 2021, the bank holiday will actually be on Monday 4th January. Secondly, there is no Easter Monday bank holiday. Thirdly, the Scottish summer bank holiday differs from that in England and Wales. It is on Monday 2nd August instead of Monday 30th August. And finally, the Scots have a bank holiday for St Andrew’s Day, which falls on Tuesday 30th November in 2021.

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland you get two more bank holidays than those living in England and Wales. These are St Patrick’s Day on Wednesday 17th March and Monday 12th July to mark the Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day).

How do bank holidays work with annual leave?

You may be wondering how bank holidays match up with your annual leave entitlement. Well, 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.

As a full-time employee, you are entitled to 28 days paid annual leave. But you may find this includes the eight bank holidays. So you would be able to take those off, and then an additional 20 days. To find out more about how all this works, take a look at our article ‘how does holiday pay work?’.

If you are a part-time employee your situation may be a little different. Your holiday entitlement will be calculated based on the number of days a week you work. However, if you work Mondays and bank holidays are part of your holiday entitlement, then you may find that a higher proportion of the days you can take as holiday will have a ‘fixed’ date.

If you are not contracted to work on Mondays, the likelihood is that your employer will give you a pro-rata bank holiday entitlement as part of your annual leave package.

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