The general position is governed by the Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay for Holidays) Regulations 1997 (the “Regulations”). As the legislation can be quite complex, we have separated the categories/types of employees and appropriate bases for calculating public holiday pay into separate categories, as employee entitlements will vary depending on the hours worked by the employee and associated payment arrangements.
In general, employees (other than part time employees) have an immediate entitlement to public holiday benefits, whereas, part-time employees must have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks ending on the day before the public holiday in order to qualify for such benefits. There are nine public holidays in Ireland as follows:-
- Christmas Day
- St. Stephen’s Day
- New Years Day (1 January)
- St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)
- Easter Monday
- The first Monday in May
- The first Monday in June
- The first Monday in August; and
- The last Monday in October
Salary/Wages Based Employees
The Regulations provide that employees who work or who are normally required to work during any part of a day which is a public holiday, are entitled to a day’s pay for the public holiday. This will apply to employees who are paid on the basis of a time rate or fixed rate or salary which does not vary. The calculation of payment is based on the normal daily hours last worked by the employee prior to the public holiday. While this includes any bonus or allowance or premium rates, overtime is excluded from the calculation. This provision would seem to include categories of employees who work part time, once their remuneration is calculated at a fixed rate per hour.
Commission/Productivity Based Employees
Where an employee is paid on any other basis than a fixed rate or salary, for example by way of commission, the relevant rate for the purposes of public holiday calculations is equal to the average daily pay over a period of 13 weeks ending immediately before the public holiday (or if no time was worked by the employee during this period, during the period of 13 weeks ending on the last day worked by the employee).
Employees Not Required to Work
Where an employee is not normally required to work (and does not in fact work) on a public holiday, he or she will be entitled to one fifth of the amount payable to the employee in respect of normal weekly hours last worked by the employee prior to the public holiday. This will again include any bonus, allowance or premium rate and will exclude any overtime worked by the employee (or if no time was worked by the employee during this period, during the period of 13 weeks ending on the last day worked by the employee).
An employer retains the discretion to determine whether an employee who is entitled to public holiday pay will be provided with:
(a) a paid day off on the day of the public holiday
(b) a paid day off within a month of that day
(c) an additional day of annual leave or
(d) an additional day’s pay.
Where a specific request is made by an employee no later than 21 days before a public holiday as to which method of payment will be used, this must be taken into consideration by the employer and any such request should not be unreasonably refused. Where the employer does not nominate one of the options mentioned, the employee who satisfies the general requirements will automatically be entitled to a paid day off on the day of the public holiday.
It should also be noted that the Regulations require employers to retain records relating to public holidays for a period of three years.