End of Year Holidays Around the World

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By Jared Mondschein

Dec. 21— More than 70 countries have designated Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, and New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2016, as paid holidays. Others require additional time off or have designated a different day as the holiday. In summary, the holiday celebrations are as follows:

Christmas Eve

Employees in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia and Venezuela are entitled to a public holiday on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

A number of other nations have designated Christmas Eve as either a bank, government, regional, partial or special holiday, including Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Finland, Germany, Iceland, India, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal and Sweden.

In the Philippines, Christmas Eve is designated a “special nonworking day,” meaning it is not a paid holiday but if employees do work on the day they are entitled to 30 percent extra pay for the hours worked.

Christmas Day

More than 70 countries have designated Dec. 25, 2015, a paid holiday.

Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015

A number of countries have also designated Dec. 26 as a paid holiday, sometimes referred to as Boxing Day or Saint Stephen's Day, including Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Namibia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia and South Africa.

Boxing Day in Canada is only a statutory holiday in Ontario despite federal offices being closed for the day.

Monday, Dec. 28, 2015

Because Dec. 26 is a Saturday, a handful of countries have designated the following Monday, Dec. 28, as a paid holiday, including Australia, Ghana, New Zealand, Nigeria and the U.K.

New Year's Eve

Employees in Cuba, Latvia, Thailand and Venezuela are entitled to a paid holiday on Dec. 31, 2015.

Many other nations have designated New Year's Eve as either a bank, government, regional, partial or special holiday, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.

New Year's Day

Over 70 countries have designated Jan. 1, 2016, a paid holiday.

Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016

A handful of countries mark Jan. 2 as an additional paid holiday, including Armenia, China, Cuba, New Zealand and Romania.

In addition, Jan. 2 is a special nonworking day in the Philippines and a holiday in many Swiss cantons. In China, Jan. 3 is a paid holiday.

Monday, Jan. 4, 2016

Because the day after New Year's Day occurs on a Saturday, New Zealand and Scotland have designated the following Monday, Jan. 4, a paid holiday.


A number of countries designate Epiphany—Jan. 6, 2016—a paid holiday, including Austria, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and numerous Swiss cantons.

Eastern Orthodox / Coptic Christmas

Countries with Eastern Orthodox or Coptic populations have designated Christmas a paid holiday on Jan. 7, including Armenia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia.

Extended Paid Holidays

Russia has designated Jan. 1 through Jan. 8 as New Year's and Christmas holidays, Armenia Dec. 31 through Jan. 8.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jared Mondschein at jmondschein@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Baer at mbaer@bna.com

For More Information

More information on HR issues in the countries mentioned can be found in our International HR country primers.

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