Bank (National) Holidays in Poland versus the UK

Time for a bit of myth-busting. If I were to ask a cross section of gainfully employed public in the UK and in Poland “In which country can you expect to get the most days off work?”, the vast majority would answer, Poland.

Fair enough, traditionally Poland has had a lot more public holidays than the UK, not as big a difference as people think but more nonetheless. Once this thinking is ingrained in people’s minds it is hard to get it out but now is the time for everyone to adjust their opinions because in the coming year, 2011, it is the workers of the UK that will have more time off work!

Okay, to be fair, this is all a matter of the timing of holidays versus calendar days but facts are facts. In Poland, there are 13 public holidays and in the UK there are 8, BUT, in the UK you are given substitute days if these fall on any weekend day and in Poland you do not. Additionally, in 2011 the UK has an extra day off for the wedding of Prince Smug and Kate Welloff and another in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

So, in 2011, the UK will have nine days off and in Poland we will have only eight because five of the holidays fall at the weekend and will not be substituted.

UK Bank Holidays 2011

  • 3rd January (Monday) substitute for New Year’s Day
  • 22nd April (Friday) Good Friday
  • 25th April (Monday) Easter Monday
  • 29th April (Friday) Royal Wedding
  • 2nd May (Monday) Early May Bank Holiday
  • 30th May (Monday) Spring Bank Holiday
  • 29th August (Monday) Summer Bank Holiday
  • 26th December (Monday) substitute for Christmas Day
  • 27th December (Tuesday) substitute for Boxing Day

Poland Bank Holidays 2011

  • 01 January (Saturday) New Year
  • 06 January (Thursday) Three Kings Day (The Epiphany)
  • 24 April (Sunday) Easter
  • 25 April (Monday) Easter Monday
  • 01 May (Sunday) International Workers’ Day
  • 03 May (Tuesday) May-3rd-Constitution Day
  • 12 June (Sunday) Pentecost
  • 23 June (Thursday) Corpus Christi
  • 15 August (Monday) Assumption of Mary
  • 01 November (Tuesday) All Saints
  • 11 November (Friday) Polish Independence Day
  • 25 December (Sunday) Christmas (1st day)
  • 26 December (Monday) Christmas (2nd day)

This all results in situations like today and tomorrow while our UK colleagues bask in the glory of two official days off to recover from Christmas (because it fell over a weekend), my wife and other Polish workers are straight back to work with turkey-laden bellies. I would be too except I’ve taken some of my holiday entitlement to get some rest over the festive season and recharge before 2011 gets started.

And let’s not hear any arguments that Poles get more statutory holiday from their employers either. In the UK most people get 28 days holiday (5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave). In Poland they get a maximum of 26.

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4 thoughts on “Bank (National) Holidays in Poland versus the UK

  1. This is a bit mind boggling. The idea that a significant number of Brits would know or care about the amount of bank holidays in Poland stretches the imagination somewhat. Then loading your question to cover ‘can you expect to get the most days off work’ must leave minimal possibility of more than o.1% of Brits knowing the right answer. Anyway, you’ve convinced me that Poland does have more bank holidays.

    Has the right to an alternative day’s leave for weekend bank holidays now been removed? I know that the government were proposing this in exchange for yet another bank holiday, but I hadn’t heard that it had been passed into law.

  2. I have received plenty of comments over the years from work colleagues about how much time Polish workers have off – “Oh no, not another Polish holiday”. I admit that Aunt Mable may not give a hoot but she wasn’t who I had in mind.

    Poland does have more Bank Holidays but it’s at the whim of the calendar as to how many days off that actually results in for the workers and as you can see, this coming year that means fewer than the UK.

    Yes the right to substitute days for Saturday or Sunday has been removed and in return we get the magnificently badly timed “Three Kings” day on Jan 6th.

  3. You are all a bunch of lazy, socialist Europeans! In the US we get, if we are lucky, the following:

    01 January – New Year Day
    Last Monday in May – Memorial Day
    04 July – Independence Day aka “England, it’s not you, it’s me – but we can still be friends, ok?” Day
    01 September – Labor Day
    11 November – Veteran’s Day
    4th Thursday in November – Thanksgiving
    25 December – Christmas

    In the US, you count yourself lucky indeed if your employer hasn’t combined your sick time and vacation time into a single “time bank” that has, typically, two weeks in it a year and maybe three weeks if you have a good job.

    You can understand how utterly delighted I was when I found out I would get FOUR WEEKS and then some, plus a bunch of national holidays that I will work through and take that time back later. And if you have kids, there’s even extra holiday time! And time off if you get married! It’s a paradise here – a lazy, socialist, European paradise. :)

  4. I should make a correction, or is it an update? Now, 2014 and possibly earlier, you ARE given a substitute day if the holiday is on a Saturday but NOT if it falls on a Sunday.

    Oh, and very belated response to Brad – civilized is the word you’re looking for. I even spelt it like a Yank for you! ;)

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