Privilege day

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A Privilege day in the United Kingdom is a day of annual leave granted to employees of the Civil Service. These are in addition to bank holidays.

Prior to 2013, there were 2.5 privilege days each year:[1][2][3]

  • The Queen's Official Birthday. This is a full day usually attached to the Spring Bank Holiday, the last Monday in May, on either the Friday before the Bank Holiday or the Tuesday after (in order to create a long weekend), originally allocated in respect of the Queen's Official Birthday.[2]
  • Maundy Thursday. This was a half day on the afternoon of the Thursday of Holy Week.[2]
  • Christmas. This was an extra full day of leave at Christmas, in addition to the bank holidays of Christmas and Boxing Day. It is often arranged so as to connect the Christmas bank holidays to an adjacent weekend.[2]

Since reforms by the Cabinet Office in 2013, the Maundy Thursday (Easter) and Christmas privilege days are no longer available for new civil servants. For civil servants who were in their positions when the changes came into force, these 1.5 days have been converted into additional annual leave. Because the Queen's Birthday privilege day was granted by the Queen, it would have been difficult for the Cabinet Office to abolish it by an administrative measure, so the Cabinet Office decided to retain this day as a privilege day.[3][4]

FOI practice[edit]

Privilege days still count as "working days" for the purpose of freedom of information requests.[5]


  1. ^ "FOI release: How many staff have a contracted day off for Christmas shopping?". Department for International Development. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Public and privilege holidays" (PDF). Office of Fair Trading. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b Robert Verkeik (8 June 2013). "Civil servants' holiday which ministers wanted to abolish is saved by the Queen". Daily Mail. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  4. ^ Steven Swinford and Christopher Hope (26 October 2013). "Civil servants keep extra holidays despite mandarin's pledge". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Time-limit for responding". Ministry of Justice. 24 February 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2013.