UK

Reality Check: Are you getting enough bank holidays?

Image copyright PA

Claim: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says the UK has the fewest public holidays of any European Union nation.

Verdict: It's true of England and Wales, but not Scotland or Northern Ireland.


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's promising four more public holidays for UK workers if his party wins the next general election, arguing they're missing out compared with those in other countries.

England and Wales currently have eight a year, while Scotland has nine and Northern Ireland has 10.


UK bank holidays

Image copyright Getty Images
  • England and Wales (8): New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May bank holiday, Spring bank holiday, Summer bank holiday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day
  • Scotland (9): Similar, but without Easter Monday and with the summer bank holiday at the start of August rather than the end, plus 2 January and St Andrew's Day in addition
  • Northern Ireland (10): Same as England and Wales, plus St Patrick's Day and Battle of the Boyne

Source: Gov.uk


What does Labour say?

Mr Corbyn thinks the current allowances aren't enough. He's promising that 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) will all become UK-wide bank holidays.

The extra days off, he argues, will allow people to "show our pride and celebrate our country's tradition of fairness, inclusivity and social justice".

Speaking to the Communication Workers Union's annual conference in Bournemouth, Mr Corbyn said the UK had the lowest number of public holidays in the European Union.

Is that right?

Mr Corbyn is partially correct on this point, according to Eur-Lex database of EU laws. It says that, in 2015, Spain and England and Wales had the joint lowest number of public holidays in the EU.

Meanwhile, Scotland's nine holidays matched Portugal's annual allowance. And Northern Ireland - with its 10 public holidays - had the same number as the Republic of Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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What else did Mr Corbyn claim?

He said the UK also had the lowest number of public holidays in the G20 group of the world's largest and advancing economies.

In 2014, the human resources company Mercer compiled a table of public holiday allowance across 64 major economies. It found that Mexico - one of the G20 - fared worst, with seven days of public holidays a year.

But Reality Check spoke to the Mexican embassy in London, which said the actual number today was nine - more than England and Wales and the same as Scotland.

Perhaps workers in Mexico deserve a bit of a break. According to the OECD, they put in the longest hours of all the countries it looked at - totalling 2,255 a year on average. That's almost 600 hours more than people in the UK.

So, who gets most public holidays?

Mercer found India and Colombia both had 18 public holidays in 2014.

And Eur-Lex puts Cyprus at the top of the EU league, with 17 public holidays in 2015 - more than twice the number enjoyed in England and Wales.

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