Holiday Entitlements - Useful Information

Holiday pay is earned against time worked. All employees, full-time, part-time, temporary or casual earn holiday entitlements from the time work is commenced.

The Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 provides that most employees are entitled to four weeks’ annual holidays for each 'leave year' with pro-rata entitlements for periods of employment of less than a year. 

Employees’ holiday entitlements should be calculated by one of the following methods:

  1.  4 working weeks in a leave year in which the employee works at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which he or she changes employment)

  2. 1/3 of a working week per calendar month that the employee works at least 117 hours

  3. 8% of the hours an employee works in a leave year (but subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks) 

The time at which annual leave may be taken is determined by the employer having regard to work requirements and subject to the employer taking into account the need for the employee to reconcile work and family responsibilities and the opportunities for rest and recreation available to the employee.

The Organisation of Working Time Act provides that the employees concerned or their trade unions are consulted at least one month beforehand and that the leave is taken either during the current leave year or within six months after it ends. The pay for annual leave must be given in advance, calculated at the normal weekly rate.

The Act also provides the following nine public holidays:

  1.  1st January (New Year’s Day)

  2. St. Patrick’s Day

  3. Easter Monday

  4. First Monday in May

  5. First Monday in June

  6. First Monday in August

  7. Last Monday in October

  8. Christmas Day

  9. St. Stephen’s Day

In respect of each public holiday, an employee is entitled to:
  • a paid day off on the holiday, or

  • a paid day off within a month, or

  • an extra day’s annual leave, or

  • an extra day’s pay

 as the employer may decide.

Therefore, if a public holiday falls on a Saturday, and the employee does not normally work Saturdays, options (b), (c) or (d) apply as the employer may decide.

There is no service requirement in respect of public holidays for full- time employees.

Other categories of employees (part-time) qualify for public holiday entitlement, provided they have worked at least 40 hours during the five weeks ending on the day before a public holiday.

Employees who leave employment during the week ending before the public holiday and have worked the 4 weeks prior to the week, are entitled to receive the usual benefits for that public holiday.  This also applies to part-time employees who have established a right to the public holiday by working at least 40 hours in the previous 5 weeks.

An employer must keep, and retain for at least three years, whatever records are necessary to show that the Act is being complied with.

(Please note: this Act refers to 'public holidays' not 'bank holidays'. Not every official bank holiday is a public holiday though in practice most of them coincide.)

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