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Your definitive annual leave guide - Ireland

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In Ireland, thanks to the Organisation of Working Time Act, all full-time workers receive 20 paid holiday days each year. If you’re lucky you’ll receive more, and this information will be listed in your contract.

Ireland’s Holiday entitlement policies are straightforward but they can get confusing if you’re situation varies from the norm – e.g you work part-time or you end up sick for a period during the working year.

To help ensure you get the holidays you deserve we’ve gathered all the necessary annual leave entitlement information for workers in Ireland.

Annual leave & holiday pay – the basics

We regularly hear about the increase in “unlimited holiday days” and extra annual leave reward schemes, but what are the normal annual leave entitlements in Ireland?

20 days is the average. During these holidays, you are entitled to be paid your normal wages on your regular pay day. If you work in sales or recruitment and your pay varies because of commission or bonus payments, you’re entitled to the average of your wages over the 13 weeks before your holidays.

Other forms of leave provided by law – paternity and maternity leave, public holidays, carers leave etc. – don’t affect these annual leave rights. Your employer can have input on when you can or cannot take holidays but they are required to follow regulations and take into consideration:

  • Your family responsibilities
  • Opportunities to rest and avoid burnout
  • Appropriate time frames – you must be informed of any changes to booked annual leave at least a month before.

Some responsibility also lies with you. Annual leave ought to be taken within the appropriate leave year, so book ahead and make the most of your annual leave rights. Many companies will allow you to carry over holidays, but this is a courtesy so check before you decide to stockpile your days for the following year.

What happens if you’re sick when you’re on holidays

If you’re sick while on holidays these are technically sick days, not annual leave days. To reclaim this annual leave get a medical certificate as soon as possible and give it to your employer once you return to work. The same rules apply if you are on sick leave during a public holiday.

If you are unfortunate enough to be on long-term sick leave, you can keep any annual leave you missed out on for up to 15 months after the end of the year in which you were ill. Holiday days and sick leave days aren’t interchangeable and it is illegal for an employer to force you to use annual leave entitlement to cover sick days.

If you’re sick when on annual leave, get a doctor’s note and tell your employer asap.

Public holidays everyone is entitled to

Public holidays are separate to your 20, or 20+, annual leave days. These are extras paid days-off that are used to celebrate a national holiday or event and apply to all workers. In Ireland, we receive one third less public holidays than the EU average with just 9 yearly public holidays. These include:

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)
  • Easter Monday (date varies yearly –  the earliest possible date for Easter Sunday in any year is 22 March, the latest is 25 April)
  • First Monday in May, June, August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)

Many businesses also close on Good Friday, but this isn’t an official paid public holiday.

If you must work on a public holiday, you’re entitled to either of the following:

  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay

Most part-time (at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday) workers are just as entitled to public holiday perks. If you normally work on the day that the public holiday falls, and you are required to work, you are entitled to an additional day’s pay. If you don’t usually work on that day you’re entitled to 1/5th of your weekly pay.

Part-time employees who have not worked 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks before the public holiday aren’t entitled to the day off or any additional pay.

Public holidays add an extra 9 days to most worker’s annual leave entitlement in Ireland. Use in conjunction with the rest of your annual leave to gain the most time off each year.

What happens to holiday pay if you leave your job

If you are leaving a job you must receive payment for any outstanding annual leave and public holidays due to you. For instance, if you leave your job in June but have 5 holiday days left then you are entitled to the equivalent of those 5 days in wages.

What holidays you’re entitled to if you work part-time

Holiday entitlement varies slightly for anyone in part-time work. If you work part-time your holiday days are equal to 8% of the hours worked in the leave year, subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks. If you work both full and part-time, you should calculate the leave for the full-time and the part-time periods of work separately.

Whether you are in full-time work or part-time work you are entitled to take paid holidays. The benefits to taking your annual leave include increased productivity and happiness, and taking your holidays even benefits the economy. Double check what you are due and book your time off in advance to ensure you get the days off you want.

Want to take a permanent holiday from your current job? Cpl can talk you through your options. Contact a recruiter now.