Christian Holy Week Requires Paid Holidays in Dozens of Countries

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By Zeynep Moore

Many employers throughout Europe and the Americas are required to provide employees with paid leave in recognition of events surrounding the Christian Easter holiday, generally observed this year on April 16. Easter holidays also are observed in some African and Asian countries.

The observance of Easter across the globe varies. Some countries, such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, mandate that Good Friday, April 14, be a paid holiday. Other countries include Easter Monday, April 17, and the Thursday (sometimes called Maundy Thursday) before Good Friday.


Good Friday is a mandated holiday in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The day after Easter, commonly known as Easter Monday, is celebrated in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the U.K.

This year in Bulgaria and Greece, Easter is April 16. Employees in the two countries are mandated to receive both Good Friday, April 14 and Easter Monday, April 17, off. Employers in Greece must pay all employees bonuses at Easter, typically equal to half a month’s salary.

Central and South America

Good Friday, April 14, is mandated in Argentina, Aruba, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

In Venezuela, the Thursday before Good Friday also is a mandated holiday.

Easter Monday is mandated in Aruba, the Bahamas, Costa Rica and Jamaica.


Good Friday is mandated in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Easter Monday is mandated in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

This year in Ethiopia, employees are mandated to receive both Good Friday, April 14, and Easter, April 16, off.


Good Friday, April 14, is a mandated holiday in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Singapore.

Easter Monday is mandated in Australia, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zeynep Moore in Washington at

To contact the editor on this story: Mike Baer at

With assistance from Molly Ward and Jared Mondschein.

For More Information

More information on payroll issues in the countries mentioned can be found within the International Payroll Decision Support Country Primers .

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