These Countries Are Getting A Day Off Work To Mourn The Queen & Here's How Much It'll Cost

We're talking up to 10-figure price tags!

Senior Editor
Queen Elizabeth II visits Australia in 2000. Right: Queen Elizabeth II with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern in 2018.

Queen Elizabeth II visits Australia in 2000. Right: Queen Elizabeth II with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern in 2018.

A few major countries in the Commonwealth will give their workers a day off to mourn Queen Elizabeth II’s death, although each one will be doing it a little differently.

Early numbers suggest each country will lose hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more, by giving everyone the extra holiday, which might explain why other Commonwealth nations have been slow to do it.

Naturally, the United Kingdom will give everyone a one-time bank holiday to mark the monarch’s passing, and that’ll fall on September 19.

That also happens to be the day of the queen’s funeral, so the entire country will be free to swarm over London or tune in on the telly to watch the whole thing.

"We would encourage employers to respond sensitively to requests from workers who wish to take time off," the U.K. government says on its website. It adds that for those who can't take that day off, it's between them and their employer to decide if they get another day off or are paid extra.

"There are no statutory rules regarding extra pay on bank holidays," the U.K. government says.

In other words, it's a one-time, one-day-only deal for workers who want to go to mourn the queen on the day of her funeral.

Three of the largest Commonwealth countries have also announced plans to give workers a day off to mourn the queen, although not all of them will coincide with the funeral.

Canada declared September 19 a national day of mourning on Tuesday, making it the largest nation outside of the U.K. to do so on the queen's actual funeral day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the move in a speech, though he did not immediately put a price tag on the holiday.

"There are still a few details to be worked out," he said. "We will be letting federal employees know that Monday will be a day of mourning where they will not work."

Australia is giving people a day off to mourn the queen on Thursday, September 22, which makes it a bit awkward because it can't be turned into a long weekend.

"It will be a one-off national public holiday to allow people to pay their respects for the passing of Queen Elizabeth," Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told Australia's ABC News.

Australia's PM will reportedly be going to London for the queen's actual funeral on the 19th and will also be part of a memorial service to honour her when he returns on Thursday.

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern is also giving her people a day off, though it'll fall a full three weeks after the queen's actual death.

"As New Zealand’s Queen and much loved Sovereign for over 70 years, it is appropriate that we mark her life of dedicated public service with a State Memorial Service and a one-off public holiday," Ardern said, per New Zealand's News Hub.

New Zealanders will get Monday, September 26 off to mourn the queen. There'll also be a state memorial service held that day, which will be televised and live-streamed.

Ardern is also planning to be at the queen's U.K. funeral.

New Zealand's opposition party says the day of mourning will cost their country $450 million. That translates to about CA $359 million or US $277 million.

Australian economist Stephen Koukoulas estimates the holiday will cost his country $1.5 billion.

The U.K. hasn't yet put a price tag on its mourning holiday, but an analysis done last year estimated that an extra day off would cost the U.K. economy about £2.3 billion.

So while we don't have a final price tag for these days off, it's safe to say that it'll be a lot!

As of Monday, most other countries in the Commonwealth, including Canada, had not announced holidays for mourning.

Josh Elliott
Senior Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity Media focused on celebrity interviews and is based in Toronto, Ontario.