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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

January 26, Wednesday: Republic Day

March

March 1, Tuesday: Maha Shivratri

March 18, Friday: Holi

April

April 14, Thursday: Mahavir Jayanti

April 15, Friday: Good Friday

May

May 3, Tuesday: Id-ul-Fitr

May 16, Monday: Buddha Purnima

July

July 10, Sunday: Id-ul-Zuha

August

August 9, Tuesday: Muharram

August 15, Monday: Independence Day

August 19, Friday: Janmashtami

October

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

November 8, Tuesday: Guru Nanak’s Birthday

December

December 25, Sunday: Christmas Day

Non-gazetted / restricted holidays for 2022

January

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

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

March 17, Thursday: Holika Dahan

March 18, Friday: Dolyatra

April

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

May 9, Monday: Guru Rabindranath’s Birthday

July

July 1, Friday: Rath Yatra

August

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

September 8, Thursday: Onam or Thiru Onam Day

October

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

November 24, Thursday: Guru Teg Bahadur’s Martyrdom

December

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.

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