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English/Welsh Bank Holidays

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UK Bank Holidays

25-Oct-2014: The JavaScript on this page has been updated to reflect modern scripting techniques.

This useful utility will instantly calculate all eight of the English and Welsh Bank (Public) Holidays, from 1994 through to the year 2014. There appears to be a scarcity on the Web, of information about English and Welsh Bank Holidays and this calculation utility could well be unique within it's class.

English/Welsh Bank Holidays

Public Holidays Explained

There are eight public holidays each year in England and Wales and these are generally referred to as bank holidays. However, only six of these holidays are bank holidays because Good Friday and Christmas Day are common law holidays. Most of the bank holidays fall on a Monday but whatever day the public holiday falls on, the banks must legally close. Public holidays like Christmas and New Year, that fall on a Saturday or Sunday have a corresponding public holiday on the first available following weekday. The reason that these public holidays are referred to as bank holidays is because the banks were considered to be the top of the commercial pyramid and if the banks were forced to close then all other organizations would be forced to follow suit.

The other parts of the United Kingdom fare slightly better for public holidays than England and Wales. Scotland enjoys nine public holidays while Northern Ireland has seven bank holidays and two common law holidays. If I ever get time I might use this utility as a basis for writing similar utilities for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Ported From 'C'

Which brings me to the reason that I wrote the utility in the first place. It was a necessary part of a major profit/efficiency calculation program that I was commissioned to write for a well known multi-national company. We had to accurately calculate the working days/hours that elapsed between a customer service call being received and it being finally satisfied. Allowances had to be made for travelling time, nights, weekends and public holidays, with service technicians pay depending on the result of the calculations. I worked hard on that one and we ended up with the biggest database you have ever seen.

The original program was written in 'C' but porting a fairly complex utility like this demonstrates the similarity between the 'C' programming language and JavaScript.

There are minor differences, particularly in the way variables are declared and in the way you handle integer division (JavaScript only has one type of floating point number which leaves the remainder in place). Indeed most of the conversion work I did was replacing the 'switch/case' statements which are supported in JavaScript 1.2 and later but not in earlier versions of JavaScript. We have a policy of supporting Netscape v3 type browsers (where possible) and so we needed to find alternatives for the 'switch/case' statements.

The Calculations

Calculating the individual holidays is for the most part, fairly straight forward. You simply determine the date of the holiday and then in certain cases you check to see if it falls on a weekend. If so you then move the bank holiday to the first available weekday following the weekend upon which the festival falls.

The exceptions are Good Friday and Easter Monday which are both set in relation to Easter Sunday and Easter Sunday proved to be a most difficult date to calculate. It relies on all sorts of different historical factors including the Paschal Full Moon, the Ecclesiastical Full Moon, the Julian Calendar, the Gregorian calendar, various Easter Dating Methods, the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and the vernal equinox.

I gave up in the end and simply used a look-up table for the periods covered in the utility. I have recently discovered a programming algorithm to calculate the dates of Easter, published by the US Naval Observatory and I may try implementing it at some stage (when I have nothing else to do). I just hope that the guy who wrote it wasn't a member of the Orthodox Church.

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Web-Wise-Wizard - English/Welsh Bank Holidays This useful JavaScript utility will instantly calculate all eight of the English and Welsh Bank (Public) Holidays, from 1994 through to the year 2014. Includes Good Friday and Easter Dates.

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UK Public Holidays
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