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How does holiday pay work? Holiday pay Ireland guide

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​If you’re a full-time worker who works regular hours your holiday pay entitlements tend to be quite straightforward. If you work shift work, part-time or irregular patterns it can get a bit more complicated.

The below information outlines how holiday pay in Ireland works for all workers and what to do if you’re unsure about your holiday pay entitlements.

All workers in Ireland, no matter what your industry, qualify for paid holiday time. Like your annual leave entitlements, annual leave or holiday pay is regulated by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.

This means it’s a right for all employees – both part-time and full-time and no matter what your level of seniority is.

(However, the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 has some exceptions, such as Gardaí, members of the defense forces, shift workers and trainee doctors – you can see the full list in the Act.)

In brief, if you take official annual leave you are entitled to the equivalent pay. For example, if you always work Monday – Friday and book a Monday – Friday off for a week, you are entitled to the same pay you would have received otherwise. (If you do shift or temp work just make sure to make a written payment request.)

There is in most cases a limit to the number of paid holiday days you can take unless your employer offers unlimited holiday days.

We’ve answered some of the most commonly asked questions around holiday pay in Ireland below.

If you’re still unsure check your contract or get in touch with your own internal HR team, or whoever is responsible for annual leave in your company.

How to do you calculate holiday pay?

Most full-time workers (who work at least 1,365 hours annually) in Ireland receive a minimum of 4 working weeks of paid annual leave.

4 working weeks usually adds up to 20 days but can differ depending on your “work week”. Holiday pay can also be built up of monetary value or a pro rata percentage. For full details see section 19 of the act.

When do you receive your annual leave pay?

Annual leave pay is paid at the same rate as your regular pay. Basically, you shouldn’t see any difference in your payslip if you have enough time built-up. For instance, if you’ve only been in your job a month or two you may not have enough time worked up.

If you’re paid monthly, you’ll get your wages as normal at the end of the month. If you’re paid bi-weekly, you’ll be paid the same as normal and so on.

What happens if you usually get paid commission or bonus payments?

If you work in a job where you earn commission or bonus payments, you will be paid only your normal salary during paid annual leave.


Does an employer have to pay holiday pay?

Annual leave pay is regulated by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. This means it’s a right for all employees – both part-time and full-time and no matter what your level of seniority is.

There are some exceptions, such as shift workers, but in general yes, your employer is obliged to pay holiday pay.

Are part-time workers entitled to holiday pay?

Both part-time and full-time workers are entitled to holiday pay.

What happens to holiday pay if you don’t use all your holiday days?

This differs from company to company so it’s best to check your contract for full details. Generally, left-over annual leave days are forfeited, and you won’t receive any extra pay for not using all your annual leave.

In some companies, your annual leave days can be carried over and added on to your holidays for the next year, but you will have to check this with your manager or your annual leave authoriser.

Usually, you will have to apply for this to happen so make sure to check in advance if you think you’ll have extra days at the end of the year.

Holiday pay when leaving a job

If you leave your job or are let go, you should be paid the annual leave you did not use.

If on the other hand you leave a job or are let go, and you’ve taken more annual leave than you’ve accumulated then your employer will claim that back in your final salary payment.

In the unfortunate circumstance of an employee passing away during employment, any compensation will be paid to a relative. Specific details on this should be listed in your contract.

Statutory holidays / Public Holiday Pay

As listed in our in-depth annual leave guide, public holidays are separate to your 20, or 20+, annual leave days. These are extras paid days-off and apply to all workers.

Public holidays in Ireland – how does bank holiday pay work?

In Ireland, we receive 9 yearly public holidays which are listed below.

  • New Year’s Day (1 January)

  • 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

  • First Monday in June

  • First Monday in August

  • Last Monday in October

  • Christmas Day (25 December)

  • Stephen’s Day (26 December)

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

If the business you work for is closed on any of these public holidays, and you were due to work on that day, you should still be paid as normal.

If you work on a public holiday you’re entitled to:

  1. An additional day’s pay

  2. An additional day of annual leave

  3. A paid day off within a month of that day

Overall, in Ireland, no matter what your industry holiday pay entitlements are quite straightforward. It’s only when your hours vary or if you’re in a non-typical role that things get a bit trickier.

Regardless all workers are entitled to annual leave. If you have any further queries, ask your payroll or HR team who will be able to answer any more specific queries.

To learn more visit our Definitive Annual Leave Guide for Ireland – which is one of our most read articles on the Cpl website.