If you have ever worked on a Saturday – and let’s face it, many of us have – you might have thought it was a business day. In fact, it might well have been, but this is not always the case. Here at Business Leader, we have investigated the idea of Saturday as a business day, and whether it is depending on the sector of work, the country, company and other defining factors.
What is a business day?
A business day is typically defined as any day in which normal business operations are conducted. In the UK and many other Western countries, the days ranging from Monday to Friday are classed as business days for many businesses, with weekends and public holidays not defined as such.
What bank holidays are there in 2021/22?
In England and Wales, there 8 bank holidays each in 2021 and 2022:
- New Year’s Day – Friday 1st January
- Good Friday – Friday 2nd April
- Easter Monday – Monday 5th April
- Early May Bank Holiday – Monday 3rd May
- Spring Bank Holiday – Monday 31st May
- August Bank Holiday – Monday 30th August
- Christmas Day – Monday 27th December (substitute day)
- Boxing Day – Tuesday 28th December (substitute day)
- New Year’s Day – Monday 3rd January (substitute day)
- Good Friday – Friday 15th April
- Easter Monday – Monday 18th April
- Early May Bank Holiday – Monday 2nd May
- Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd June
- August Bank Holiday – Monday 29th August
- Christmas Day – Monday 26th December (substitute day)
- Boxing Day – Thursday 27th December (substitute day)
What is the working week in the UK?
For many in the UK, the typical working week involves working between nine in the morning and five in the evening from Monday to Friday. However, with flexible working practices becoming more commonplace, the hours of work may vary considerably and can include weekend work.
It’s also important to point out that the working week varies enormously between sectors. For example, if you work in the hospitality sector, evenings and weekends are periods where you’re expected to work. Many retail businesses also operate on the weekends, whilst those working in the emergency services can be expected to work 24/7.
Therefore, for these sectors, Saturday is almost certainly another business day.
Are business days the same as working days?
Even though you might have worked a Saturday in the UK, this does not necessarily mean it was a business day. For example, many UK banks are open until 1/2pm on a Saturday, but they do not process payments that day.
This means that, if you were to deposit a cheque that day, it does not go into the bank clearing cycle until the Monday and the value may not appear in your account until the Thursday.
As processing payments usually forms a regular part of a bank’s business, you could argue in this case that whilst Saturday is a working day, it is not a business day.
Is Saturday only a business day in the Western world?
Religious practices are one of the biggest factors affecting what is classed a business day across the world. Countries where Islam is the dominant religion do not follow the Monday to Friday working week that we do in the UK and many other countries in the Western World.
For example, in Kuwait, a country that is nearly 75% Islam, they have a Sunday to Thursday working week, meaning the weekend falls on Friday and Saturday.
The Jewish Shabbat (day of rest) also begins on Friday evening, meaning the weekend in Israel extends over Friday and Saturday with Sunday being a working day.
Is a 4-day week a good thing?
This will depend on who you ask, but there are plenty of studies and surveys suggesting that the 4-day working week is a good thing; in a study by E-commerce firm ParcelHero, they found a 4-day week will increase high-street sales by 20%; digital estate planning solution firm Akren.legal have also successfully implemented a 4-day working work; and a study in Iceland that took place from 2015-2019 was also a remarkable success.
However, a 4-day working week might not suit every business model. Many companies might also expect employees to work the same number of hours over less days. So, instead of five 8-hour days, they work four 10-hour days, which might increase stress and reduce productivity.
Companies need to also bear in mind that if there employees were to reduce the number of hours they work each work, their holiday entitlement will also be affected.
Will Saturday be a business day on a 4-day working week?
If the 4-day working week was to become the norm, it’s feasible to think that Monday-Thursday would be the standard business days for most companies.
However, with business days varying between sectors, countries and even amongst individual businesses, Saturday would likely be a business day for many working a 4-day week, especially during a time when the demand for more flexible work practices seems to be on the rise.