Difference Wiki

Holiday vs. Leave: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 10, 2024
Holiday refers to a specific day of celebration or relaxation, recognized by society or religion. Leave is a period of absence from work or duty, granted for various personal reasons.

Key Differences

Holiday is a designated day of festivity or relaxation, often celebrated by many people, such as national or religious occasions. Leave, in contrast, is an authorized absence from professional duties, often used for personal reasons, vacation, or medical purposes.
Holidays are usually fixed dates or periods recognized publicly, while leave is a more personal and flexible arrangement, depending on individual circumstances and workplace policies.
Holidays often involve cultural or communal activities and are seen as a break for everyone involved, like Christmas or Independence Day. Leave, however, is specific to an individual's request and may not coincide with a public holiday.
In the context of work, holidays are generally days when the workplace is closed, and everyone is off. Leave, on the other hand, is taken at the discretion of the employee and requires approval from the employer.
Holiday celebrations can be secular or religious and often have historical or cultural significance. Leave is more about personal time off, whether for rest, travel, health, or family matters.

Comparison Chart


Fixed, public or religious
Personal, granted by employer


Regular, often annually
As needed, per individual


Celebration, relaxation
Personal reasons, e.g., health, vacation


Not required
Requires employer's approval

Impact on Work

Usually involves everyone
Specific to the individual

Holiday and Leave Definitions


Celebration Day.
Thanksgiving is a holiday where families gather to give thanks.


Military Permission.
He was granted leave to visit his family.


Public Rest Day.
Banks and schools are closed on this national holiday.


Authorized Absence.
She took a leave of absence for her maternity leave.


Religious Festival.
Eid is a significant holiday in the Islamic calendar.


Vacation Time.
I have two weeks of annual leave coming up.


Cultural Observance.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is a major holiday in India.


Medical Break.
He is on sick leave due to surgery.


Vacation Period.
We're going on a two-week holiday to Hawaii.


The professor is on leave for a year to write a book.


A day free from work that one may spend at leisure, especially a day on which custom or the law dictates a halting of general business activity to commemorate or celebrate a particular event.


To go out of or away from
Not allowed to leave the room.


A religious feast day; a holy day.


Can I choose my holidays?

Holidays are usually fixed and not chosen by individuals.

Do I get paid during leave?

Depends on your employer's policy; some leaves are paid, some are not.

How do I request leave?

Submit a leave request to your employer, usually in advance.

Are holidays the same everywhere?

No, they vary by country, culture, and religion.

Are holidays paid?

Mostly, holidays are paid days off in many workplaces.

What is leave?

Authorized time away from work or duty for personal reasons.

Can leave be denied?

Yes, depending on workplace policies and circumstances.

Can holidays be moved?

Some holidays are fixed, but others can be moved or observed on different days.

What is a holiday?

A day set aside for celebration or rest, often recognized by society or religion.

Can I work during a holiday?

It depends on the job and employer's policies.

What's a bank holiday?

A public holiday when banks and many businesses are closed.

Is leave guaranteed for all jobs?

Varies by country, type of job, and employer.

Is every public holiday a day off?

Not always, it depends on the country and employer.

How long can leave last?

Varies widely, from a day to several months or more.

Is unpaid leave a right?

This depends on the labor laws and employer policies.

Do all religions have the same holidays?

No, different religions have different specific holidays.

What is emergency leave?

Leave taken unexpectedly for unforeseen personal reasons.

What types of leave exist?

Sick leave, annual leave, maternity/paternity leave, etc.

Do holidays affect leave entitlement?

Generally, public holidays do not count as leave days.

Can I take leave during holidays?

Yes, but it's subject to employer approval.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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