Closed petition Make the day of Diwali a public holiday

Hindus form the third largest religious group in UK. As Diwali is one of the most important festival for Hindus, similar to Christmas, we would like it to be a Public Holiday.

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Diwali is a symbol of hope for Hindus, and for believers is connected with universal compassion, inner joy of peace and awareness of unity. Legislation to make Diwali a nationally recognised holiday is being considered in the United States of America, on similar grounds this petition is being put forward.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 December 2021

The Government values the contribution the Indian diaspora makes to this country and the importance of Diwali. However, there are no plans to create a public holiday for Diwali.

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The Government is committed to bringing people together in strong, united communities. We encourage and support people to have shared aspirations, values and experiences. Festivals such as Diwali contribute towards this objective. We regret however that we cannot agree to create a new bank holiday for Diwali.

The Government regularly receives requests for additional bank and public holidays to celebrate a variety of occasions. However the current pattern of bank holidays is well established and accepted. The Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 provides the basis for UK bank holidays each year and contains provisions for appointing additional or substitute days. Additional bank holidays, including those created after 1971, and some substitute days (for example when bank holidays fall at a weekend) are appointed by Royal proclamation.

There are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England and Wales. There are nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland. 

While an additional bank holiday may benefit some communities and sectors, the cost to the economy of an additional bank holiday remains considerable. An assessment following the additional bank holiday for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 saw that (across the UK as a whole) it can cost the economy around £1.2 billion.

Full-time workers in the UK are entitled to 28 days statutory paid holiday each year and legislation does not give employees a right to time off or extra pay on bank holidays.  Employers are under no legal obligation to grant a religious based request for time off. However, the Government’s policy is to encourage employers to respond flexibly and sympathetically to any requests for leave including requests for religious holidays, bearing in mind business needs.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy