Annual Leave and Holidays

This page was last updated on: 2021-09-23

Paid Vacation / Annual Leave

The legislation provides a basic annual leave entitlement of 4 weeks. There are 3 different ways of calculating the duration of the annual leave entitlement;

- Based on the employee’s working hours in one year. An employee who has worked at least 1,365 hours in the leave year is entitled to the maximum of 4 working weeks’ annual leave.

- By allowing 1/3 of a working week for each calendar month in which the employee has worked at least 117 hours 

- 8% of the hours worked in the leave year, subject to a maximum of 4 weeks.

An employee may use whichever of these methods gives the greater entitlement. If the normal working week is 5 days, the employee entitlement is 20 days. However, if the normal working week is 6 days, the holiday entitlement is 24 days.

The annual leave of an employee who works 8 or more months in a leave year includes include an unbroken period of 2 weeks unless provided otherwise under an employment regulation order, registered employment agreement, collective agreement or any agreement between the employee and his or her employer.

 The annual leave pay is paid to the employee in advance and at the normal weekly rate. The employer determines the times at which annual leave is granted to an employee, taking into account, after consultation with the employee or trade union,: 

(1) the need for the employee to reconcile work and family responsibilities; 

(2) the opportunities for rest and recreation available to the employee

Annual leave must be granted to the worker within the following leave year or, with the employee’s consent, within 06 months of the following leave year (annual leave must be granted within 18 months of its eligibility). Employee, with the consent of employer, can also carry over holidays in excess of statutory minimum leave to a following leave year. An annual leave carryover period of 15 months after a leave year now applies to those employees who could not, due to illness, take annual leave during the relevant leave year or during the normal carryover period of 6 months.

On termination of employment, payment in lieu of untaken accrued annual leave applies to leave which was untaken as a result of illness in circumstances where the employee leaves the employment within a period of 15 months following the end of the leave year during which the statutory leave entitlement accrued. These changes were brought under the Workplace Relations Act and are applicable since August 2015.

Source: §19-20 of the Organization of Working Time Act

Pay on Public Holidays

Public holidays are paid rest days. Full time employees are entitled to public holiday benefits for the following nine public holidays:  New Year Day (1st January), St Patrick’s day (17th March), Easter Monday, The first Monday in May, the first Monday in June, The first Monday in August and The last Monday in October, Christmas day (25th December), St Stephens day (26th December). Part time employees are only entitled to a public holiday benefit if they have worked at least 40 hours in the five weeks preceding the day before the public holiday. When a public holiday falls on a working day (a day on which employee normally works), employee is entitled to a day’s pay for the public holiday. However, if the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee does not normally work, employee is entitled to one-fifth of his normal weekly wage for the public holiday. In respect of a public holiday, an employee has following 4 options as determined by his/her employer: (i) a paid day off on that day; (ii) a paid day off within one month of that day; (iii) an additional day of annual leave; and (iv) an additional day’s pay. If a worker has submitted a request at least 21 days before the public holiday and employer has not nominated any of the above options, employee is entitled to a paid day off on the day of public holiday.  

(Organization of Working Time Act §21-22)

Weekly Rest Days

An employee shall be entitled to enjoy at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in each period of 7 days, and this should normally follow on from the daily rest period of the preceding shift. An employer may, in lieu of granting the weekly rest period to an employee, provide 2 periods each of at least 24 consecutive hours, in a period of 14 days. The 1 day per week requirement is not applicable where an employer provides for at least 4 rest days during a 4 week period. The minimum weekly rest period does not apply to certain categories of work or workers. The weekly rest day (or days if they are provided as a lump sum over 2 week or 4 week periods) shall be the Sunday unless otherwise provided in the labour contract.

Workers are entitled to a 15-minute rest break after 4.5 hours of work. The rest break is 30 minutes for a 6-hour work period. Rest breaks cannot be granted at the end of the working day. Young workers are entitled to a rest break of at least 30 consecutive minutes after 4.5 hours of work.

The minimum daily rest period is at least 11 consecutive hours in a 24-hour period. Young workers are entitled to at least 12 consecutive hours of rest in a 24-hour period. 

Source: § 13 & 35(2) of the Organization of Working Time Act; §6 of the Protection of Young Persons Act

Regulations on Annual Leave and Holidays

  • Organisation of Working Time Act, No. 20 of 1997, last amended 2003
  • Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay for Holidays) Regulations 1997, S.I. No. 475/1997

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