In Depth

When are the 2022 UK bank holidays?

Brits to enjoy a four-day summer break thanks to additional day off next June

Next year will see a new date added to the UK bank holiday schedule to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The second May bank holiday - the spring bank holiday - has been moved to Friday 3 June because of the celebrations, and the additional day off will be taken on Thursday 2 June. 

The four-day national holiday will mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. Spectators can expect traditional events, such as Trooping the Colour and a Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as a “Platinum Party at the Palace” live concert on Saturday 4 June, and The Big Jubilee Lunch the following day. “Street parties, picnics or garden barbecues” are all likely to be part of the event, The Independent reported.

But before planning for the new year, there are still two bank holidays remaining in 2021. With Christmas Day and Boxing Day both falling on weekend days, the bank holidays will roll onto substitute weekdays - Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December respectively. 

Here are all the 2022 bank holiday dates:

  • 3 January: New Year’s Day substitute

New Year’s Day falls on Saturday 1 January 2022, making the following Monday the first bank holiday of the year.

  • 15 April: Good Friday

Two bank holidays on either side of the Easter weekend give the majority of UK workers a four-day break. Traditionally, Good Friday is a sombre day, when Christians mark Jesus's crucifixion with prayer and fasting.

  • 18 April: Easter Monday

Historically, the resurrection of Jesus was celebrated with egg-rolling and games – some of which, such as the Hallaton Bottle Kicking contest, are still played today.

  • 2 May: Early May bank holiday

This festival marks the coming of spring and usually ties in with the traditional May Day activities, which are celebrated with maypoles, Morris dancing and village fairs in many parts of England. 

  • 2 June: Spring bank holiday

The spring bank holiday typically falls in the last weeks of May, but in 2022 will be moved to June to extend the weekend of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

  • 3 June: Platinum Jubilee bank holiday

An extra bank holiday has been added to the UK roster this year to allow for further celebrations across the UK for the Queen’s special anniversary. 

  • 29 August: Summer bank holiday

This day off was first enshrined in the Bank Holidays Act 1871, when it fell at the beginning of August. It was moved to the last Monday in the month as part of the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.

  • 26 December: Boxing Day

Historically, UK employers offered workers and servants gifts or cash on 26 December and gave them the day off. While the gifts may have dried up in many modern workplaces, the day remains a bank holiday.

  • 27 December: Christmas Day substitute

The Christmas Day bank holiday in 2022 will be taken on the Tuesday after the 25 December, as the day itself falls on a Sunday. 

Is it the same in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Since 2006, Scotland has had an extra day off for St Andrew’s Day on 30 November, although it does not treat Easter Monday as a bank holiday.

There is also an extra bank holiday on 2 January to mark the “extra importance” Scottish people place on the New Year Hogmanay celebrations, says The Sun

North of the border, the summer bank holiday is also held on the first Monday of August rather than the last.

Northern Ireland has the same days off as England and Wales, with the addition of St Patrick’s Day on 17 March and Battle of the Boyne (Orangemen’s Day) on 12 July.

The latter commemorates William of Orange’s crushing victory over James II in 1690, which secured the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland for generations. It still retains huge symbolic importance in Northern Ireland and has been the focus of sectarian unrest in the past.

How does this compare to the rest of Europe?

The average number of bank holidays enjoyed by EU countries is 12.8, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said this year, describing the UK’s allocation as “stingy”. 

The usual eight days allotted to workers in England and Wales are some of the lowest in Europe. Austria celebrates 13 nationally, while Denmark, Norway and France have ten. Switzerland has just four national bank holidays, though there are a total of 16 which are celebrated in different regions around the country.

Will the UK ever introduce more bank holidays?

On the summer bank holiday this year, the TUC called for workers to be rewarded “for getting us through through these tough times” with additional days off “to break the long stretch” between the end of August and the Christmas break. 

Over the years there have been calls to either scrap the early May bank holiday or move it to a different date so breaks are more evenly spread throughout the year.

In 2011 the Coalition government launched a consultation which included the suggestion of moving the May bank holiday to October to be a UK Day or Trafalgar Day to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

There are also political motivations behind the proposed move. Despite its roots as a holiday stretching back to pre-Christian pagan festivals, May Day is strongly associated with International Workers' Rights day, “which some think has marked it out as a political target”, said the BBC.

Some people have also long complained that England and Wales fail to honour St George’s Day and St David’s Day, unlike Scotland and Northern Ireland, which have a day off to mark their patron saint.

Labour’s 2017 general election manifesto pledged to introduce four new bank holidays to mark the patron saints of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland across the whole of the UK.

Under the proposals, the nationwide public holidays would be held on St David’s Day (1 March), St Patrick’s Day (17 March), St George’s Day (23 April) and St Andrew’s Day (30 November).

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