UK ranks outside of Europe’s top 10 for public holiday pay

09 July 2021 2 min. read

Depending on what happens at the final of Euro 2020, England fans may have another national public holiday. Even then, though, UK residents would still receive far less money for their time off than many of their European counterparts.

According to various reports, the UK Government is considering an extra Bank Holiday Monday if England win the European Championship. The national men’s team are set to face Italy in the final of Euro 2020 on Sunday, and with little prospect of worse-for-wear fans getting work done on Monday in the event of a win for the Three Lions, some ministers and senior government officials are understood for favour a bank holiday on July 12th.

Whether or not England’s football team can end their 55-year trophy drought, however, such a celebration would still see the UK rank lowly in terms of the number of public holidays it currently enjoys. According to new research from HR professional services firm Ezra, the nation is outside the top 30 countries for public holidays in terms of pay and number, while 15 other European countries rank higher.

Estimated annual income for public holidays

Switzerland was the country with the highest number of public holidays, with 24 throughout the year. As such, it is hardly surprising that it also has the world’s highest estimated income for employees during public holidays, with workers taking home around £3,131 each year in pay during public holidays. Luxembourg was a distant second, with its 15 public holidays seeing staff wrack up public holiday pay of £1,802.

The UK, with just eight public holidays, meanwhile ranked 16th in Europe. Employees in Britain only take home an estimated £570 in pay from those holidays. While the amount they take home in public holiday pay is much lower due to the comparative rarity of bank holidays, pay is also proportionally lower than many of the countries higher on the list. UK workers receive an estimated £71.26 per day on this basis, compared to Switzerland at £130.45 per day.

Ireland also sees its public holiday pay outperform the UK. While the country has only one more day of public holiday than the UK, its workers take home an estimated £200 more in pay – or £85.59 per day. Even if the UK should get an extra day of rest in the coming week, then, its workers will still have less free time than many of their European equivalents, while also being paid substantially less.

Founder of Ezra, Nick Goldberg, commented, “Public holidays are a great way to boost national sentiment and offer an opportunity to come together and celebrate as a nation, whether it be in memory of a historic moment or simply a long weekend. It’s interesting to see that those nations offering high levels of income also offer a good level of public holidays and it goes to show that motivation and productivity aren’t solely dependent on working all hours of the day.”