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Guest Blog by Peninsula Ireland: Compensation for Employees Working on Public Holidays

Aug 08, 2017

Following the August bank holiday, our 24-hour Advice Service was busy with queries in respect of public holiday entitlements, so we thought we’d help you employers with this useful guide to compensation for employees.

So when should employees be compensated when it comes to public holidays?

An employee should be compensated for a public holiday providing they are full-time employees, or they worked 40 hours in the previous five-week period ending before the public holiday itself.

The organisation of Working Time Act 1997 states that an employer may determine which of the following methods of remuneration apply:

  • A paid day off on the holiday
  • A paid day off within one month
  • An extra day’s annual leave
  • An extra day’s pay

If the public holiday falls on a day the employee has (a) actually worked, or (b) would normally have worked, then they are entitled to remuneration equivalent to their last working day before the public holiday (excluding overtime).

If the public holiday falls on a day that (a) the employee didn’t work on that day, and (b) the employee wouldn’t normally work on that day, then they are entitled to remuneration equivalent to one-fifth of their last normal working week.

When are employees not entitled to be compensated for Public Holidays?

  • In the case of part-time employees, where they haven’t worked 40 hours over the 5 week period ending before the public holiday
  • Where the employee is on a period of layoff that exceeds 13 weeks
  • Where the employee is on a period of authorised leave that exceeds 13 weeks
  • Where the employee is absent in excess of 26 weeks by reason of non-occupational illness or injury
  • Where the employee is absent in excess of 52 weeks due to an occupational illness or injury
  • Where the employee is on a period of carer’s leave that exceeds 13 weeks
  • Where the employee is on statutory health and safety leave
  • Where the employee has been absent by reason of strike action

Calculating public holidays can be fairly straight forward for full-time employees with the same hours every week. However, if the employee is part-time or works variable hours, then the public holiday entitlement will vary from one public holiday to the next – so ensure to take advice if you’re uncertain.

If you have any questions regarding the issues in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact Peninsula’s 24 Hour Advice Service on 01 855 50 50


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