Bank Holiday vs Public Holiday
We hear phrases like bank holiday and public holiday commonly, but hardly pay attention to the difference between them as long as we are getting an off day, whether it is a bank holiday or a public holiday. It is only when on a bank holiday, without knowing that, you go to the bank and find the gates closed, you curse the bank for not informing the public beforehand. However, you will see that different countries have different practices regarding these two holidays though most of the time they follow the same rule. Read on to know the conventions in different countries regarding bank and public holidays.
What is a Public Holiday?
Public holiday is normally the holidays declared by the government of the country. Usually, all the public servants and the banks get this day as a holiday. Whether people belonging to neither of these sections such as people working for private firms, depends on the country. Normally, in every country most important public holidays such as Independence Day or Christmas day, are enjoyed by every person. However, lesser important public holidays may not be holidays for mercantile sector people.
Public holiday is also known as legal holiday or national holiday in some countries. In US, there are no public holidays, but only federal holidays that are 11 in number. These are known as federal holidays because US is a federal government. Most of these are also state holidays and, if any of these falls on a weekend, it is observed on the next weekday. There is a provision in the constitution to allow the President to elevate a day as a holiday with reasoning behind its elevation. However, there is no requirement for businesses to remain closed on such a day. For example, US President George Bush declared September 11 as a National Mourning Day in remembrance of those killed in terror attacks. Such days can be considered as national holidays though these are not public holidays.
Scotland observes bank holidays and public holidays separately based upon traditions and customs whereas, in all other countries of UK, bank holidays are normally public holidays. So the Glasgow Fair and Dundee Fortnight remain public holidays, and not bank holidays in Scotland. In Ireland, the official word is public holiday though people also refer to bank holidays.
What is a Bank Holiday?
Bank holiday, as the name implies, shows the days that are paid holidays for bank employees. The concept or usage of bank holidays started in old Victorian days in UK in the early 19th century when the Bank of England observed holidays on 34 days that were different from saint’s days or other religious occasions. However, all this changed with Bank Holidays Act 1871, when bank holidays were reduced to just 4. However, Sir John Lubbock, who was a cricket enthusiast, added a provision for holidays on days when important cricket matches were scheduled between different regions. A century later, in 1971, Banking and Financial Dealings Act was passed that again specified bank holidays and added New Year’s day and May day as official bank holidays.
In UK, it is an instrument called Royal Proclamation that is used to declare bank holidays every year. It is royal proclamation that declares the day in the coming week of a bank holiday, if it falls on a weekend. This means that bank holidays are not lost in years when they fall on already declared holidays or weekends. Interestingly, these days are referred to as substitute days.
There are some differences with regard to countries like Scotland, where Easter Monday is not declared a bank holiday. Again, though Summer Bank holiday is observed in all of UK, it is observed on the first Monday of August in Scotland, whereas it falls on last Monday of August in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. On all federal holidays in US, banks are normally closed so they can also be considered as bank holidays.
What is the difference between Bank Holiday and Public Holiday?
• Definition of Bank Holiday and Public Holiday:
• Public holiday is a day that is declared a holiday by the government due to some cultural or historical significance.
• Bank holiday is a holiday for bank employees.
• Connection between Bank Holiday and Public Holiday:
• Most public holidays are bank holidays too.
• Other Names:
• Public holiday is also known as legal holiday and national holiday. In US, this is known as federal holiday.
• Bank holiday is known as bank holiday everywhere.
• In UK, bank holidays are treated same as public holidays though not every bank holiday is a public holiday.
• When a bank holiday falls on a weekend, the next weekday is observed as a holiday.
• In US, Federal Holidays are the same as bank holidays.
• In India, there are a few bank holidays when it is not a public holiday.
- Taipei Lantern Festival in the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan by Wdshu (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- A Christmas holiday display with over 3.5 million lights in Clifton, Ohio by Moofpocket (CC BY 2.5)