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Bank Holiday

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In the United Kingdom there are no national holidays as such, to which there is a general legal right to have time off. However, the majority of the population not employed by essential services (utilities, fire, ambulance, police) receive the Bank Holidays as holiday days.

These vary around the UK (see United Kingdom for a list), there are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England, Wales and Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland (including the common law holidays of Christmas Day and Good Friday). They are called Bank Holidays because these are days upon which banks are shut under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971[?], and so upon which (traditionally) no other business could operate. With the growth of electronic banking this distinction is irrelevant, but the name remains.

The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 has a set number of holidays, others can be introduced by annual proclaimation of the monarch and this is routinely done to create substitute days when set holidays occur in weekends. It is also done to celebrate special occasions, notably royal events.

It has been noted (for example in an essay (http://www.fabian-society.org.uk/documents/searchdocument.asp?DocID=32) published by the Fabian Society) that the number of Bank Holidays is relatively small compared to many other European countries.

The USA equivalent is a Federal Holiday

See also the general articles on holiday and public holiday.

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