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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Do we need more bank holidays?
Child in Hamleys Toy Shop
Union leaders are campaigning for an extra bank holiday between the end of summer and Christmas, as autumn half-term begins.

The Trades Union Congress is asking the government for three new holidays a year, to bring the UK in line with Europe.

They say it would enable working parents to spend a day with their children during half-term without taking extra leave.

And it would also boost the leisure, retail and tourism sectors.

Do we need more bank holidays? What dates would you choose?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Donna Chisholm, UK
Should we have more bank holidays? What dates would you choose?
and Leah, UK
Do we need another three bank holidays?

As many people have noted, other European countries have far more Bank Holidays than we do. Perhaps, then, we should designate Europe Day as a Bank Holiday, to celebrate all of the great things about Europe, like decent working hours.
Robin, Cardiff

I get 26 vacation days a year: exactly 16 days more than my previous job back in the States. How could I possibly ask for more days off? When I tell my friends back home, they're amazed at how little I work!
Mark Mullervy, London, UK

I can't believe some of you are against us having an extra 3 days off - are you mad or do you just have nothing better to do then work?
Louise, New Malden

All this going on holiday on the same day is outdated Victorian nonsense
David, UK
I say abandon public/bank holidays and include the days into annual leave - all this going on holiday on the same day is outdated Victorian nonsense. Long live freedom!
David, UK

I've lived in North America now for nearly 5 yrs and every year it seems strange to me that Canada and the US has a holiday on Nov 11th to remember those that were killed in war but the UK doesn't. If they want a holiday let's have this one every year to remember.
Chris Marland, Halifax, Canada

How about giving all parts of the United Kingdom the same number of Public Holidays for a start. At the moment England & Wales have 8, Scotland has 9 and Northern Ireland has 10.
Steve R, Chandler's Ford, England

Surely the term 'bank' holiday is already obsolete given 24/7 banking? As for more public holidays I'm all for it. I worked in Germany for two years and enjoyed the extra holidays especially the two that came in May and November respectively. As for the extra holiday entitlement, what use is it to those who cannot afford to take it? At least public holidays put them on the same footing as everyone else.
Trish Wilson, Lonon, UK

Absolutely yes to more Bank Holidays. It's the only time when extended families are all off together, enabling time to catch up, which tends to be left for Easter and Christmas. Maybe a full long weekend, with a Friday and Monday off so that extended families have more time to meet up instead of leaving it just until each Easter and Christmas each year. With most having family scattered across the country, for most two extra days would be a blessing! As for annual leave, I think everyone should have 5 weeks regardless of years spent with a company or their management level. Perhaps with companies offering more annual leave, they might just keep their staff on the payroll longer, then everyone would be happy.
Elaine, Reading, Berks

Armistice Day and St Andrew's/St David's/St George's Day should be public holidays.
Karen Hunter, Scotland

I get double time for bank holidays so let's have one every week!
Mark, Newcastle

As a former UK student and current US citizen, I yearn for the holiday time you guys have there. If you want another bank holiday, take it! Take 5! I applaud the EU's attention to employee personal lives and vacation time, and I hope that sentiment spreads across the Atlantic ASAP! I am sick to death of 2 weeks vacation and limited national holidays. Enjoy what you have, people, and always ask for more!
Lisa Angelo, Boston, MA, USA

The motorways are jammed, all my favorite beaches and country walks are rammed with kids and dogs
Sam, Worcester, UK
Abolish bank holidays altogether and have 10 or 11 extra days tagged on to everyones annual holiday entitlement so we can choose when to take time off. Bank holidays are a real pain because on those I do get off (I have to work most of them because of the nature of my job) the motorways are jammed, all my favorite beaches and country walks are rammed with kids and dogs (plus it usually rains) and last bank holiday weekend I crashed my car and buckled a wheel.
Sam, Worcester, UK

Well it's nice for those who are employees to vote themselves some more paid bank holidays, but spare a thought for the 3.5 million self employed people in the UK. They have to pay for their holidays out of their own earnings !
David, Chichester

In a time where both parents find it essential to work to support their families, bank holidays are important for them to spend quality time together. In our country we work long hours and find the demands of our professions more stressful. The more bank holidays the better.
Jessica Johnson, Shrewsbury, England

Until this country can finance my university education for free, we shouldn't be dicussing more bank holidays for tax payers
William, Essex,UK

Bank holidays mean nothing to me - I am expected to work them
Jo Edwards, Hinckley, Leicestershire
I am a care worker so Bank holidays mean nothing to me, I am expected to work them.I get 24 days annual leave but I work six days every week, that's one extra days holiday for each extra thirteen Saturdays I work! I would rather work bank holidays if I wanted to, on normal pay, and take a day off in lieu at my own leisure. Not likely to happen though!
Jo Edwards, Hinckley, Leicestershire

One extra holiday in the Autumn would be invaluable and benefit many, however we should also bring back May 1st as a national holiday.
Chris, Basildon, Essex

Melanie, any bank holiday is going to result in the children not being at school for the day. It makes no difference if it is in half term or June, unless you are proposing teachers be excluded from taking it and must remain in work?
Chris, UK

What's the point in having more bank holidays? It'll only rain.
Alex Pickard, York, UK

No, we should have more holiday entitlement and take it when we like. It is ridiculous in this day and age for the whole country to have a day off at the same time.
Phillip Holley, Cambs, UK

There should be at least one bank holiday every month
Khalid, UK
There should be at least one bank holiday every month rather than all around summer. Plus four days personal holiday dates. Though the exact dates you took would depend on your faith or preference. See how fair that system is... e.g. if you had no faith or several festivals in your year, you could take them when you wanted.
Khalid, UK

Bank holidays wouldn't do me much good as I'm a police officer. But people here don't have enough bank holidays and in this respect it would be a good thing to be in line with the rest of Europe.
James, UK

Three extra bank holidays - can't come soon enough. I know we have less bank holidays, than the rest of Europe, but don't forget we get an extra day, when Christmas/New Year falls on a Saturday or Sunday. In most of the rest of Europe, that's just hard luck. Christmas could end up just like another weekend.
Lillian, West Ealing

The only person that's going to say "no" to more holiday is the one that's paying for it. Business in the UK is already uncompetitive, without losing another 3 days.
Mark Fulford, Southampton, UK

What we need is for them to be more spread out over the year
Malcolm, Chelmsford, UK
It's not so much that we need more than 8 bank holidays (we do get less than the rest of the EU, mind), what we need is for them to be more spread out over the year. At present we have 1 in January, two at Easter (when ever that is), two in May, 1 in August and two in December. Holidays are also very much based around Christian celebrations. How about we have Christmas Day and New Year's day as "fixed" statutory holidays (they are, in the EU, the only two official target days anyway) and the rest as "floating" statutory dates. This would allow the Hindus to celebrate Deepavali, the Dutch can take Queen's day off, and the non-religious to choose their own long weekends. This would also stop flights and short-break holidays trebling in price on traditional bank holiday weekends when you want to nip off to Madrid or Tallinn.
Malcolm, Chelmsford, UK

We need a bank holiday between the end of August and Christmas - we have 4 months with nothing and it is so very depressing!
Caroline, Plymouth, UK

Hard to imagine anyone really saying no! However it would really important if they could be linked to an important day in the country, something to give them a bit more meaning than just a day off. Like Armistice Day or St George's Day, St Andrew or St David. Something that would give the day a bit of focus and meaning.
Jim, Epsom

It makes little difference to those working in retail: the shops are open through most bank holidays so they are just another working day. Now, if it were illegal to open shops on bank holidays, that would be a much better step, even with our current number of bank holidays.
Diana, London, UK

I would welcome more bank holidays, who wouldn't, but we don't all have children (I know, hard to believe isn't it) so I would prefer a bank holiday when the little darlings are safely tucked away in school.
Melanie, London, UK

To Melanie, London: This may come as a shock to you, but teachers qualify for bank holidays, too. No matter what date a new bank holiday fell on, schools would close for that day.
Joanna, Grimsby, UK

More bank holidays are a great idea; we could have Trafalgar Day for a start and November the 5th.
June Hall, Harlow, Essex

It's worth remembering that bank holidays are only holidays for half the country... everyone working in the retail and service industries still have to work. People still want to do bank holiday shopping, and go for bank holiday meals.
Nathan Hobbs, Luton, UK

St George's Day really should be a bank holiday
Pennie Forthem, Uckfield, East Sussex

I know we're not supposed to be patriotic these days, but St George's Day really should be a bank holiday. All of the other countries in the United Kingdom celebrate their patron saints days, so why not St George? Not to mention Halloween... that should be a bank holiday too! If only to give me a real chance to prepare for the persistent menace of trick or treaters.
Pennie Forthem, Uckfield, East Sussex

I don't think this will boost the economy. There are enough holidays as such; adding would just be harmful to the economy. See what's happening in France. Not only have they removed one bank holiday, they are also planning to extend working hours to boost the economy.
Wendy, UK

We don't need more bank holidays just a four day working week!
Phil Jerry, Newcastle

Having a bank holiday during school half terms would be great! Many workplaces already run a reduced service during this time due to staff taking time off for childcare, so making it official seems like a sensible idea.
Heather, London

Lets go for it and never mind the PC Trafalgar Day in October, Battle of Britain Day in September and Shakespeare's Birthday (also St George's Day incidentally) in April. Let's enjoy our heritage before the EU makes it a law that we celebrate Bastille Day etc.
Jim Kirk, Basildon, UK

Don't think I could stand yet another day in B&Q or IKEA....
David, London, UK

Oh yes - it would give the rail networks more days to carry out essential maintenance on most of the railways in the country!
Anon, London, UK

I'd like to see more emphasis on giving people guaranteed leisure time, rather than the constant urging of Britons to work harder, longer, and older. But the comparison of Public Holidays with Europe is somewhat false. In France for instance, if the public holiday is on a Saturday or Sunday, then that's when it is! Not the Monday (as in Christmas this year in the UK) or Tuesday (in lieu of Boxing Day UK).
John, Le Havre, France

I do not see how we need them really but I will never complain to having more given holidays that are not taken out of my holidays at work. So bring it on.
Nina, UK

Yea I think it's a great idea but deciding when to have them would be difficult. There are so many arguments for having them in summer and winter. Personally I think we should have a Constitution day as many other countries have, maybe coinciding with the Queen's birthday. The other two should be in winter to cheer people up in those cold winter days.
Ric, UK

I'd rather have more holidays than a pay rise. Extra days off are mine to do with as I wish; unlike extra pay, half of which would go straight to the government.
Ken Ricketts, Wokingham, UK

Absolutely! As a nation we're having a pretty miserable time of it on the holiday front. Life should be about working to live not living to work and with all the other problems in this country such as sky high house prices, the ever increasing living costs, fuel prices etc. We could do with a break to take some time out so life is actually worth living.
Kenny, Bicester

Isn't this the kind of thing what our 20 plus days holiday a year is for? We don't need a holiday, particularly one when the weather is wet and cold. Sometimes I wish people would stop being so lazy.
Ed, London, UK

The first Monday of a winter half-term, the day off the grand-children coming round - priceless. If wishing to be at home on that day with your children or grand-kids is being lazy Ed, then I am bone idle, no chaos on the roads, (taking the train is much less stressful) no need to calculate which is contractual actually, just a lazy extra day with the kids. Blissful, you have my vote.
George, Boxgrove UK

More bank holidays would be great. So what if the roads are jammed? Stay at home and enjoy your family and friends...and as for Ed who thinks we're lazy, I know that my time outside of work is more important to that within. Life is a short and precious gift best enjoyed as we wish. Not sat, bored, replying to web based discussions for 1/2 the waking day.
Gareth, Maidenhead, Berks

I would like to see fewer bank holidays and more holiday time which provides more flexibility than being told when to take time off work. A bank holiday does nothing more than cause chaos on the roads!
Carol, Basildon, Essex

We should have the same amount of bank holidays as the rest of the EU - we give so much to it, its about time we started getting back. St Georges day should be a public holiday.
Leigh, Gatwick

When I woke up this morning I would have been overjoyed to find I had a bank holiday! On a serious note, bank holidays are often more trouble than they're worth - it's hell to go away because everyone has the same idea, which means that I often spend the time going nowhere. I would much prefer an extra day's holiday on top of my contractual leave to take as and when I wanted - do away with bank holidays altogether and increase holiday allowance as far as I'm concerned!
Sue, Herts


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