Are bank holidays still relevant in the UK?

May day bank holiday uk

Last week, I conducted a poll on LinkedIn to understand how people feel about public holidays.

Given the rise of remote working, the emphasis on flexibility, and the ever-important work-life balance, I wanted to see if these factors have influenced people's attitudes towards our fixed bank holidays.

I asked, "What would you prefer?"

  • Fixed public holidays
  • Flexible (extra allowance)
  • Mix (some fixed, some flexible)

Before we dive into the results, let's be clear: this was no scientific survey. With a mere 32 votes, it's safe to say that I can't claim to have captured the entire nation's thoughts on the matter. However, the results provide some food for thought and suggest that companies should consider their options regarding bank holidays and whether offering more flexibility could be well received by employees.

So, what did the survey reveal? First, it was interesting that fixed public holidays were the least favoured by only 19% of the sample, with 81% preferring flexibility around when to take them.

Some bank holidays mean more to people than others, with 50% of respondents saying they would prefer a mix of fixed and flexible days.

31% of respondents wanted total flexibility in choosing when to take time off.

One thing is clear: the modern workforce demands more flexible approaches to time off, whether that relates to leave or bank holidays. 

For companies, offering greater flexibility around bank holidays could be a way to attract and retain top talent. In a competitive job market, the ability to tailor time off to suit individual needs could be a powerful incentive as it shows that you value work-life balance and trust employees to manage their time effectively.

There are practical considerations to take into account too. Some industries and essential services rely on the structure provided by fixed bank holidays. Disrupting these schedules could have ripple effects that impact productivity and service delivery. Striking a balance between accommodating individual preferences and ensuring business continuity is vital.

In summary, while the survey sample size was small, it provided some insights into the ongoing relevance of bank holidays in our changing business landscape. As we move forward, companies must listen to their staff and consider their preferences for taking time off against the broader needs of the business. Offering a mix of fixed and flexible bank holidays could be a way to meet the needs of a diverse workforce while maintaining the integrity of our cultural traditions.



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