Every year there are misunderstandings around the calculation of working days over the Christmas and New Year period for contract purposes. Traditionally people think of a working day as a day “when the banks are open”. However that is no longer a useful distinction with the introduction of 7-day bank openings, Mondayised holidays and Christmas shutdown periods.
To add confusion to this working day scenario many key contracts including those relating to the Sale and Purchase of Real Estate and Business have a bult-in time period where even traditional business days are not to be counted as a working day. This means that in some contracts there will be traditional working days say between Christmas and New Year but for real estate transactions those days are not counted working days.
You will need to check the terms of your specific contract as to whether there is a period at Christmas excluded as working days. If there is no definition in the contract, or the definition includes usual business days, then normal working day calculations will apply.
To help clarify what constitutes a working day for contract purposes we have provided a summary of the dates for the 2021 Christmas period for both standard contracts and for real estate contracts (including business sale and purchase:
For any real estate contract that is signed and dated between 24 December 2021 and 5 January 2022 the first working day will be 6 January 2002. For example an agreement signed in that period with a 10-working day condition (say finance) will have that condition due on 19 January 2022.
We usually find that the confusion around dates is for those real estate contracts signed in the week or so leading up to Christmas. For example an agreement dated 20 December 2022 with a 10-working day condition will have a due date of 14 January 2022. This is because as you can see by the table, there are normal working days within that period, however for the real estate contract they are not counted as working days.
If you are signing a contract in the Christmas or New Year period you need to be aware of the working day definitions. To avoid confusion and delays you may simply want to specify an actual date for satisfying any conditions. If in doubt, specify a date, or contact us to ensure your calculations are correct.