Public Holiday Payments

As we approach another public holiday just a short reminder about employers legal obligations with regard to public holidays and the potential cost of non compliance in this area. The Labour Court (DWT 1673) recently ordered an employer to pay compensation of €1,000 to an employee in addition to an outstanding amount of €210.64 due for public holiday entitlement.

As provided for under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, employees should receive one fifth of their normal weekly pay when a statutory public holiday falls on a day that an employee is not rostered to work. In this case the employee had received the same public holiday entitlement payment i.e. one fifth of her weekly working hours regardless of whether the public holidays fell on days that the employee was or wasn’t rostered to work. The Court found that the employee had been paid the wrong amount for three public holidays that fell on a Monday when she was rostered to work and the Company was ordered to pay the shortfall of €210.46 as well as €1,000 compensation.

With the potential for compensation to be awarded in addition to actual underpayments, employers should particularly ensure that part time staff whose days of work vary receive their correct entitlement. Whilst the majority of public holidays fall on Mondays, some of them do not and the actual day that the public holiday falls on is relevant to the calculation of the benefit. 

Otherwise, the general entitlement to public holidays for full time staff or part staff who normally work on the day that a public holiday is as follows:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday