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Half-Day Holiday

On half-day holidays, people have half a day off from work, either the morning or the afternoon. They often occur on the day before a public holiday.

Christmas Pageant in Adelaide, South Australia. Residents in Adelaide get a half-day holiday on Christmas Eve.


What Is a Half-Day Holiday?

Half-day holidays are days when people have half the day off from work, usually the afternoon. These half-days can be public holidays by law, or it can simply be common practice to take half a day off from work. These common-practice holidays are known as de facto holidays.

Don’t Have to Be Legal Holidays

  • In Sweden, for example, half-day holidays are often observed as a common practice the day before a public holiday. People usually stop working after lunch to prepare themselves for the coming festivities.
  • In Turkey, the eves of Eid-al-Adha (Kurban Bayramı) and Eid-al-Fitr (Şeker Bayramı) are half-day holidays according to the country’s public holiday law.

Can Be Optional Holidays

Some countries offer half-day holidays for specific groups, making it an optional holiday. In China, for instance, female employees enjoy a half-day off on International Women’s Day.

At timeanddate.com, we report a holiday as a half-day holiday if:

(a) It is a public holiday by law or government decree, or

(b) It is common practice for businesses to give their employees a half-day off from work, even if not required by law.

What Is Closed and Open?

What is closed and open during a half-day holiday depends on the sectors enjoying the time off. If it is a half-day public holiday or a de facto half-day, most workplaces and schools may close for part of the day, though essential service employees may have to work regular hours. Stores, restaurants, and public transport may also have reduced hours.

Half-Day Holidays in Law

Governments can declare half-day holidays by ad-hoc proclamations or decrees. In other countries, such as Australia, half-day holidays can be set in the legal framework.