India's public holidays include gazetted and restricted days, as is the norm. The country’s holiday schedule is divided across three classifications: gazetted, restricted, as well as state and union territory. Commercial establishments should note the schedule for the respective states where they are located.
Many foreign human resource managers struggle with India’s holiday schedule. That is no surprise – the federal and state governments have acknowledged a number of holidays every month to accommodate over 1.3 billion people spread over 36 diverse states and union territories and subscribing to different religious faiths, ethnic, and cultural traditions.
[tips title="Important Tip"]Although there are many ways to manage this schedule, most companies in India offer 10 to 14 public holidays, depending on the company’s past practices and industry norms, as well as the discretion of the concerned states.[/tips]
Companies doing business with state and government authorities, however, must note their respective holiday calendars. For example, government offices in the National Capital Territory of Delhi will be closed for 33 days in 2021.
Overall, holidays in India are governed primarily through the following laws:
- The Weekly Holidays Act, 1942;
- The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946;
- The National and Festival Holidays Act, 1963;
- The Negotiable Instruments Act 1981;
- The Companies Act 2013; and
- The Shops and Commercial Establishments Act.
However, among these, The National & Festival Holidays Act is applicable to all establishments in the country, and mandates three holidays in India: Republic Day, January 26; Independence Day, August 15; and Gandhi Jayanti, October 2. Irrespective of the law a company, industry, or organization follows, or whether they are public, private organizations or MNCs, every entity must necessarily remain closed on these days. Organizations that need to work on those days need to take prior approval from concerned authorities.
Many businesses in India close offices on the gazetted holidays and grant employees several optional holidays that they may select to observe a non-gazetted holiday of their choosing.
Other businesses simply mirror the holiday schedule observed by the management of their office building.
Gazetted holidays for 2022
January 26, Wednesday: Republic Day
March 1, Tuesday: Maha Shivratri
March 18, Friday: Holi
April 14, Thursday: Mahavir Jayanti
April 15, Friday: Good Friday
May 3, Tuesday: Id-ul-Fitr
May 16, Monday: Buddha Purnima
July 10, Sunday: Id-ul-Zuha
August 9, Tuesday: Muharram
August 15, Monday: Independence Day
August 19, Friday: Janmashtami
October 2, Sunday: Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday (Gandhi Jayanti)
October 5, Wednesday: Dussehra
October 9, Sunday: Birthday of Prophet Mohammad
October 24, Monday: Diwali
November 8, Tuesday: Guru Nanak’s Birthday
December 25, Sunday: Christmas Day
Non-gazetted / restricted holidays for 2022
January 1, Saturday: New Year’s Day
January 9, Sunday: Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday
January 13, Thursday: Lohri
January 14, Friday: Makar Sankranti/Pongal/Magha Bihu
February 5, Saturday: Basant Panchami/Sri Panchami
February 15, Tuesday: Hazrat Ali’s Birthday
February 16, Wednesday: Guru Ravidas’s Birthday
February 19, Saturday: Shivaji Jayanti
February 26, Saturday: Swami Dayanand Saraswati Jayanti
March 17, Thursday: Holika Dahan
March 18, Friday: Dolyatra
April 2, Saturday: Chaitra Sukladi/Gudi Padava/Ugadi/Cheti Chand
April 14, Wednesday: Vaisakhi/Vishu/Meshadi
April 15, Friday: Vaisakhadi (Bengal)/ Bahag Bihu (Assam)
April 17, Sunday: Easter Sunday
April 29, Friday: Jamat-Ul-Vida
May 9, Monday: Guru Rabindranath’s Birthday
July 1, Friday: Rath Yatra
August 11, Thursday: Raksha Bandhan
August 16, Tuesday: Parsi New Year’s Day (Nauraj)
August 18, Thursday: Janmashtami – Smarta
August 31, Wednesday: Ganesh Chaturthi / Vinayaka Chaturthi
September 8, Thursday: Onam or Thiru Onam Day
October 2, Sunday: Dussehra – Maha Saptami
October 3, Monday: Dussehra – Maha Ashtami
October 4, Tuesday: Dussehra – Maha Navmi
October 9, Sunday: Maharishi Valmiki’s Birthday
October 13, Thursday: Karva Chouth
October 24, Monday: Naraka Chaturdasi
October 25, Tuesday: Govardhan Puja
October 26, Wednesday: Bhai Dhuj
October 30, Sunday: Chhat Puja
November 24, Thursday: Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom
December 24, Saturday: Christmas Eve
December 29, Thursday: Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday
State and union territory holidays in India
The list of state and union territory holidays is quite large. Please click here – https://www.india.gov.in/state-and-ut-holiday-calendar – to review local holidays that apply to your place of business.
In addition to office closures, governments in the state and union territories often observe “dry days” or days when the sale of alcohol is not permitted, on gazetted and state and union territory holidays. Dry days also routinely occur on local election dates.