Payrolling Global National Holidays

23rd December 2020

Global national holidays may be universal, but the rules of paid leave are a little harder to follow. It’s important – for both employers and employees – to understand the difference between a global national holiday and a paid one.

Are National Holidays Paid in the UK?

This is a great starting point.

In the UK, for example, bank or public holidays do not have to be given as paid leave. Rather, it is up to the employer whether they choose to include these holidays as a part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.

As per official government information for the UK, for example, employees can expect statutory leave, but bank holidays are left to employer discretion. The official site states how, “almost all workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday a year (known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave).”

But, when referring to bank holidays, the government observes how, “an employer can choose to include bank holidays as part of a worker’s statutory annual leave.”

Although, for different countries, there are of course equally different policies regarding global and national holidays. Where the UK doesn’t entitle its workforce to paid leave, requiring instead a contract to capture this agreement, other countries may interpret this differently. Kuwait, for example, is known for enjoying the most paid leave globally, where workers receive 30 vacation days annually with an additional 13 (paid) public holidays.

When are National Holidays Not Paid?

Holiday leave is most often left to the discretion of the employer, unless otherwise captured in national employment or labour laws. Some countries will require that employers honour national paid holidays.

It’s up to your employer whether or not global national holidays are paid. But, if you’re in doubt, refer to your contract. Citizens advice explained, for example, how an original employment agreement, as captured in a contract, should strictly outline these rules regarding paid leave (including entitlements during global national holidays).

Global National Holidays

Almost all of the countries across the world have their own national holidays, typically these are in honour of an important, patriotic or nationally relevant and historic event.

Iran has the most with a total of 27 national public holidays and Norway has the least, with only two public holidays. This is extremely low compared to other European countries, which can often be generous with leave.

National Paid Holidays for Global Business

For international operating businesses, having employees in different countries can cause some challenges to your payroll function. The question that often arises is whether employees should be entitled to paid days according to where they are based, or where they are from? Or where the business head office is?

Most often, as a rule, employees are paid based on the local employment laws of the country they’re stationed in. Every country will have its own employment laws that will influence how a contract can capture an employments terms and conditions.

For example, if you were operating a national business with employees both working in the UK and Norway, your employees in the UK would have 5 more paid holidays than your employees in Norway. You should ensure your contracts are always compliant with local labour laws.

List of Global National Holidays

The following list observes national holiday allowances per country.

January

1st – Various Countries (New Year’s Day), Cuba (Triumph of the Revolution), Taiwan (Republic Day)
6th – Italy (La Befana), Russia (Bank Holiday)
7th – Egypt (Coptic Christmas Day), Ghana (Constitution Day)
9th – Panama (Martyrs’ Day)
10th – Bahamas (Majority Rule Day)
13th – Japan (Coming-of-age Day)
14th – Tunisia (Revolution and Youth Day)
15th – Sri Lanka (Tamil Thai Pongal Day)
20th – USA (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
21st – Barbados (Errol Barrow Day)
23rd – Vietnam (Tet Eve)
24th – Various (Chinese New Year Eve), South Korea (Korean New Year Holiday), Romania (Unification Day)
27th – Australia (Australia Day)

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February

3rd – Mexico (Constitution Day)
4th – Sri Lanka (National Day)
5th – Pakistan (Kashmir Day)
6th – New Zealand (Waitangi Day)
10th – Malta (Feast of St. Pauls shipwreck)
11th – Japan (National Foundation Day), Cameroon (Youth Day)
15th – Sri Lanka (Tamil Thai Pongal Day), Serbia (Sovereignty Day of Serbia Holiday)
17th – Kosovo (Independence Day)
18th – Gambia (Independence Day)
21st – Bangladesh (Language Martyrs’ Day), Sri Lanka (Mahasivarathri Day), Mauritius (Maha Shivaratree)
24th – Argentina (Lunes de Carnival), Estonia (Independence Day)
26th – Various Countries (Ash Wednesday)
28th – Taiwan (Peace Memorial Day)

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March

1st – Paraguay (Day of Heroes)
2nd – Puerto Rico (American Citizenship day)
3rd – Bulgaria (Liberation Day)
9th – Various Countries (Commonwealth Day)
12th – Mauritius (National Day)
17th – Ireland (St Patrick’s Day), Bangladesh (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birthday
19th – Various Countries (St. Joseph’s Day)
20th – Japan (Vernal Equinox Day), Tunisia (Independence Day)
21st – Mexico (Benito Juarezs Birthday)
23rd – Pakistan (Pakistan Day)
24th – Argentina (Public Holiday)
25th – Greece (Independence Day), Cyprus (Greek Independence Day), Indonesia (Hari Raya Nyepi)
26th – Bangladesh (Independence Day)
31st – Vietnam (Hung Kings Temple Festival)

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April

1st – Cyprus (National Day), Iran (Nature Day)
2nd – Argentina (Malvinas Day)
3rd – Taiwan (Childrens Day Holiday)
6th – Thailand (Chakri Day)
7th – Sri Lanka (Bak Full Moon Poya)
8th – Israel (Pesach)
9th – Philippines (The Day of Valor), Israel (Pesach)
10th – Various (Good Friday)
13th – Various (Easter Monday), South Africa (Family Day), Sri Lanka (Sinhala and Tamil New Year Eve), Thailand (Songkran)
14th – Bangladesh (Bengali New Year)
20th – Egypt (Sham El Nessim)
23rd – Iceland (First Day of Summer)
24th – Various (Ramadan)
27th – Netherlands (King’s Birthday), New Zealand (Anzac Day), Slovenia (Resistance Day), South Africa (Freedom Day), Sierra Leone (Independence Day)
29th – Japan (Showa Day), Israel (Independence Day)
30th – Various (The Buddha’s Birthday), Vietnam (Reunification Day)

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May

1st – Various (Labour Day), Finland (Vappu)
4th – Various (May Day), Japan (Greenery Day)
5th – Netherlands (Liberation Day), South Korea (Children’s Day Holiday)
6th – Japan (Constitution Memorial Day), Thailand (Visakha Bucha Day)
7th – Indonesia (Waisak Day), Singapore (Vesak Day)
8th – Various (Victory in Europe Day), Various (Victory Day Holiday)
14th – Malawi (Kamuzu Day)
19th – Turkey (Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day)
21st – Various (Ascension Day)
22nd – Bangladesh (Jumatul Bidah)
24th – Various (Eid al-Fitr Holiday)
25th – United Kingdom (Spring Bank Holiday), USA (Memorial Day), Argentina (May Day Revolution)

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June

1st – Ireland (June Holiday), New Zealand (Queen’s Birthday), Various (Whit Monday), Various (International Children’s Day)
2nd – Italy (Republic Day)
3rd – Thailand (H.M. Queens Birthday)
5th – Denmark (Constitution Day)
8th – Various (Orthodox Pentecost Monday)
10th – Portugal (Portugal Day), French Guiana (Abolition Day)
11th – Various (Corpus Christi)
12th – Russia (National Day), Philippines (Independence Day), Paraguay (Chaco Armistice Day), Nigeria (Democracy Day)
16th – South Africa (Youth Day)
17th – Iceland (Independence Day),
19th – Finland & Sweden (Midsummer Eve)
21st – Various (Father’s Day)
24th – Various (St. John’ s Day)
29th – Ukraine (Constitution Day Holiday)
30th – DR Congo (Independence Day)

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July

1st – Canada (Canada Day), Hong Kong (Special Administration Region Day)
4th – USA (Independence Day)
6th – Thailand (Asahna Bucha Day)
12th – Northern Ireland (Bank Holiday)
20th – Various Middle East, Africa & Indian Sub Continent (Eid al-Adha Holiday)
23rd – Japan (Marine Day)
26th – Maldives (Independence Day)

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August

1st – Switzerland (National Day)
3rd – Iceland (Commerce Day), Ireland (August Holiday), Scotland (Bank Holiday)
9th – Singapore (National Day)
15th – South Korea (Liberation Day), India (Independence Day)
17th – Indonesia (Independence Day)
21st – Philippines (Ninoy Aquino Day)
31st – United Kingdom except Scotland (August Bank Holiday), Philippines (National Heroes Day)

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September

1st – Uzbek (Independence Day)
7th – Canada, USA (Labour Day)
10th – Gibraltar (National Day)
16th – Saint Kitts and Nevis (National Heros Day)
18th – Chile (Independence Day)
21st – Japan (Respect for the Aged Day)
22nd – Japan (Autumnal Equinox Day)

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October

1st – China (National Day), China (Mid Autumn Festival)
2nd – India (Mahatma Gandhi Birthday)
3rd – Germany (German Unity Day), South Korea (National Foundation Day)
8th – Croatia (Independence Day)
9th – South Korea (Hangeul Day)
10th -Taiwan (National Day), Cuba (Independence Day), Israel (Simchat Torah)
11th – Macedonia (Revolution Day)

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November

4th – Colombia (All Saints Day), Japan (Culture Day), Russia (Day of Unity)
6th – Morocco (Green March Day)
11th – Colombia (Independence of Cartagena), Maldives (Republic Day), Poland (Independence Day)
14th – Singapore (Deepavali Holiday)
16th – Mexico (Revolution Day)
19th – Puerto Rico (Discovery of Day)
22nd – Lebanon (Independence Day)

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December

1st – United Arab Emirates (National Day)
4th – Ghana (Farmer’s Day)
6th – Finland (Independence day), Spain (Constitution Day)
7th – Thailand (King Bhumibol’s Birthday)
10th – Thailand (Constitution Day)
12th – Mexico (The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe)
13th – Malta (Republic day)

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For more information relating to international payroll, read our guide here.