Is Boxing day 2021 a holiday?

It is an odd day, and notably it is especially odd when on a Sunday.

I have, in the past, had arguments with the likes of BT who were refusing to fix a fault on "7 hour fix, 24/7" on a boxing day Sunday because "that team don't work bank holidays". I kept pointing out it is not a "bank holiday", and got nowhere.

So I was trying to work out what Boxing day actually is!

[England and Wales specific]

The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 defines bank holidays. So that is a good start. It explains "No person shall be compellable to make any payment or to do any act on a bank holiday under this Act which he would not be compellable to make or do on Christmas Day or Good Friday".

From that, I conclude that Christmas Day and Good Friday are already a "holiday" of some sort. These would be common law public holidays.

This explains why the Act does not make either of these "bank holidays". For England and Wales it defines these:-

  • Easter Monday.
  • The last Monday in May.
  • The last Monday in August.
  • 26th December, if it be not a Sunday.
  • 27th December in a year in which 25th or 26th December is a Sunday.

OK, so where does Boxing day come in?

Well, it is clearly not an existing common law public holiday, as it is created as a bank holiday instead by the Act "26th December, if it be not a Sunday".

But when it is a Sunday, it is not a "bank holiday" or a "common law public holiday", it is just a Sunday, a normal Sunday.

So this year, we have :-

  • 25th: Saturday - Christmas day, a common law public holiday
  • 26th: Sunday - A normal Sunday
  • 27th: Monday - A bank holiday
  • 28th: Tuesday - err?

Hang on? I thought Tuesday 28th was a bank holiday. I don't see it. Which law or SI has made 28th a bank holiday?

Update: The Queen can declare days as such, and has done so. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/notice/3846398 for Tuesday 28th.

To be honest, given that a delayed Boxing day is always done as a bank holiday, and so is a New Year's day, it seems odd they would not simply update the Act, and make royal decree only apply to special occasions.

See also wikipedia.

But what we can conclude is that today, Boxing day 2021, is not a "holiday" of either sort, just a Sunday. Even so, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.


At first, the Act seems broken, as some times you seem to have 4 days at a weekend and sometimes 3. Why?

The answer is that the Act clearly sees Saturday as a "normal working day". When you realise that it becomes obvious, near weekends you get Fri/Sat/Sun, Sat/Sun/Mon, or Sun/Mon/Tue. Indeed, when Christmas is Friday, you have an explicit Bank Holiday on a Saturday!

Until now I never realised a Saturday could be a Bank Holiday!

P.S. Saturday 1st is also not a holiday. The Queen made 3rd Jan a holiday. She could have made 1st a holiday but did not. That does not stop half the shops being closed :-(


  1. So.... BT *are* wrong, and do have to fix faults on Boxing Day (when it's a Sunday)?

    1. Well they were *wrong* anyway as the fault service we had was "7 hour fix 24/7" so means they have to fix even if Christmas day. Their stupid "excuse" that "that team don't work on a Bank holiday" was also *wrong*.

  2. I once had a row with some railway station staff who tried to tell me that a Wednesday 27th December was "not a normal working day". Wrong!

  3. As someone born on the 26th, I learnt something else.

    Boxing Day never falls on a Sunday, when the 26th is a Sunday, while it is still St. Stephens day, it is "Christmas Sunday" rather than "Boxing Day".

    As I recall, Boxing Day would then be the Monday. This always used to be printed on various calendars.

    Of late (increasingly over the last 25 years) the lazy habit of simply referring to the 26th as 'Boxing Day' has spread far and wide.

  4. Companies House refused to accept delivery of a set of accounts on a normal working day, 31st December, yesterday, the deadline filing day. The automated email from Royal Mail reads that Co House asked them not to deliver. Will be interesting to hear their reason why. They are normally open 24x7x365.


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