Public and bank holidays in Scotland

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Bank and public holidays in Scotland are determined under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 and the St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007. Unlike the rest of United Kingdom, most bank holidays are not recognised as statutory public holidays in Scotland, as most public holidays are determined by local authorities across Scotland. Some of these may be taken in lieu of statutory holidays, while others may be additional holidays, although many companies, including Royal Mail, do not follow all the holidays listed below; and many swap between English and local holidays. Many large shops and supermarkets continue to operate normally during public holidays, especially since there are no restrictions such as Sunday trading rules in Scotland.

Bank holidays[edit]

Since Easter 1996 the Scottish clearing banks have harmonised the days on which they are closed with those in England and Wales, and are therefore closed on Easter Monday and the last Monday in August (rather than the first). This has resulted in a number of local authorities creating a public holiday on Easter Monday. Previously Easter Monday had not been a public holiday in Scotland. There have been many protests about banks opening on 2 January since this decision was taken. This has resulted in many banks now providing only a limited service on 2 January, with most members of staff still entitled to the holiday.

Schedule 1 to the 1971 Act states that the following days are official bank holidays in Scotland:

DateName
1 JanuaryNew Year's Day
2 JanuaryNew Year Holiday
variableGood Friday
1st Monday in MayMay Day
Last Monday in MaySpring Holiday
1st Monday in AugustSummer Holiday
30 NovemberSt. Andrew's Day
December 25Christmas Day
December 26Boxing Day
Total9

[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. Certain bank branches in Edinburgh are open on the last Monday in August when the Edinburgh Festival is taking place.
  2. When the stated date falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is normally designated a public holiday instead. When Christmas Day falls on a Saturday (and thus Boxing Day on a Sunday), the following Monday and Tuesday are normally designated public holidays instead.
  3. In 1995, May Day holiday was moved to the second Monday in May – i.e., from 1 May to 8 May – to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE Day.
  4. In 1999, an additional bank holiday was given to enable people to prepare for the festivities to mark the arrival of the year 2000.[2]
  5. In 2002, the Spring Holiday was moved to 4 June. This caused it to follow an extra bank holiday on 3 June, making a four-day weekend to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
  6. In 2011, a public holiday was given to ensure most people would have a chance to celebrate the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, making a four-day weekend as May Day was on the following Monday.[3]
  7. In 2012 the Spring Holiday was moved to 4 June. It was then followed by an extra holiday on 5 June, making a four-day weekend to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately only Fife, Inverclyde and Scottish Borders were affected as they already take the first Monday in June as a public holiday. Most areas in Scotland did not have the four-day weekend and only had the Tuesday official holiday.

If New Year's Day or 2 January fall on a Sunday then the holiday will be on the next weekday. The St Andrew's Day Bank Holiday (Scotland) Act 2007, passed by the Scottish Parliament on 29 November 2006, added * St Andrew's Day (30 November), or the following Monday should November 30 fall on a weekend

Special days and substitute bank holidays[edit]

Section 1 of the 1971 Act also provides that special days may be appointed as bank holidays (either additional or in place of bank holidays which fall on a Saturday or Sunday) subject to Royal Proclamation each year. These include Boxing Day, which has been an additional bank holiday in Scotland since 1974 and the last Monday in May which has been a bank holiday since 1978.

Section 1 of the 1971 Act also enables the Queen to appoint substitute bank holidays in any one year by Royal Proclamation. Substitute days are customarily appointed for all UK bank holidays which fall on a Saturday or Sunday. Where any of the dates fall on a Sunday, the Act substitutes the following Monday for that date. If any fall on a Saturday (or if Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday), the Royal Proclamation includes substitute days for these days.

Public holidays[edit]

DateNameMajor Towns/Cities (not an exhaustive list)
1 JanuaryNew Year's Dayall
2 January
1st Monday in FebruaryWinter HolidayInverness
1st Monday in MarchInverness
Last Monday in MarchLochaber
Easter holiday (variable)Good FridayAyr, Dumfries and Galloway, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Inverclyde, Kilmarnock, Paisley, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire
Easter MondayAyr, Edinburgh, Falkirk, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Kilmarnock, North Lanarkshire, Paisley, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire
1st Monday in AprilSpring HolidayCarnoustie and Monifieth area, Dundee, Fife, Scottish Borders, Inverness, Perth,
2nd Monday in AprilAngus, expect Carnoustie and Monifieth area, Elgin
3rd Monday in April, or preceding week if would otherwise coincide with Easter MondayEdinburgh
Monday in April; date varies from year to yearAberdeen
Last Monday in AprilInverclyde
1st Monday in MayLabour Day or Early May Bank Holidayall
Tuesday after 1st Monday in MayVictoria Day (*)/Spring HolidayClydebank, Stirling
Last Monday strictly before 24 MayEdinburgh*
4th Monday in MayPerth*
Last Monday in MayAyr, Dundee*, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Paisley*, South Lanarkshire
1st Monday in JuneGalashiels, Inverclyde, Fife
Tuesday after 2nd Thursday in JuneLinlithgow MarchesLinlithgow
Second Thursday in JuneLanimer DayLanark area only
Last Monday in JuneFair HolidayElgin
1st Monday in JulyFalkirk, Inverness
1st Friday in JulyBraw Lads GatheringGalashiels
2nd Monday in JulyFair HolidayAberdeen
3rd Monday in JulyArbroath, Fife, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire except Lanark
4th Friday in JulyScottish Borders
Last Monday in JulyDundee
1st Monday in AugustPaisley
1st Monday in SeptemberLate Summer HolidayElgin, Inverclyde
2nd Monday in SeptemberBattle of Stirling BridgeFalkirk, Perth, Stirling
3rd Friday in SeptemberAyr Gold CupAyr, Kilmarnock
Monday after 3rd Friday in SeptemberAyr, Kilmarnock
3rd Monday in SeptemberAutumn HolidayEdinburgh
Last Monday in SeptemberAberdeen, Angus except Carnoustie and Monifieth area, East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Paisley, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire
1st Monday in OctoberCarnoustie and Monifieth area, Dundee, Inverness, Perth
2nd Monday in OctoberScottish Borders
3rd Monday in OctoberElgin, Fife
1st Monday in NovemberSamhain holidayInverness
30 NovemberSt. Andrew's Day To be taken in lieu
of one of the other statutory holidays at discretion of individual companies/authorities.
[4]
an official holiday in Angus, Fife, Scottish Borders
25 DecemberChristmas DayAll
26 DecemberBoxing DayAll

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