Annual leave, like minimum rest periods for employees, is covered by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.
The first thing to note about annual leave is that all employees are entitled to paid holidays/annual leave. There is no qualification requirement and part time employees are also protected by the Protection of Employees (Part Time) Work act, 2001. The best way to deal with holidays for part timers is to give them holidays on a pro-rata basis with their full time colleagues.
How to Calculate Holiday Entitlements
The relevant section of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 is section 17. It states:
|19.—(1) Subject to the First Schedule (which contains transitional provisions in respect of the leave years 1996 to 1998), an employee shall be entitled to paid annual leave (in this Act referred to as “annual leave”) equal to—
|(a) 4 working weeks in a leave year in which he or she works at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which he or she changes employment),
|(b) one-third of a working week for each month in the leave year in which he or she works at least 117 hours, or
|(c) 8 per cent. of the hours he or she works in a leave year (but subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks):
|Provided that if more than one of the preceding paragraphs is applicable in the case concerned and the period of annual leave of the employee, determined in accordance with each of those paragraphs, is not identical, the annual leave to which the employee shall be entitled shall be equal to whichever of those periods is the greater.
|(2) A day which would be regarded as a day of annual leave shall, if the employee concerned is ill on that day and furnishes to his or her employer a certificate of a registered medical practitioner in respect of his or her illness, not be regarded, for the purposes of this Act, as a day of annual leave.
|(3) The annual leave of an employee who works 8 or more months in a leave year shall, subject to the provisions of any employment regulation order, registered employment agreement, collective agreement or any agreement between the employee and his or her employer, include an unbroken period of 2 weeks.
|(4) Notwithstanding subsection (2) or any other provision of this Act but without prejudice to the employee’s entitlements under subsection (1), the reference in subsection (3) to an unbroken period of 2 weeks includes a reference to such a period that includes one or more public holidays or days on which the employee concerned is ill.
|(5) An employee shall, for the purposes of subsection (1), be regarded as having worked on a day of annual leave the hours he or she would have worked on that day had it not been a day of annual leave.
|(6) References in this section to a working week shall be construed as references to the number of days that the employee concerned usually works in a week.
As you can see there are a number of different methods of calculation. However you must use the one which gives the employee the biggest entitlement.
In summary therefore all employees are entitled to:
- 4 working weeks where at least 1365 hours have been worked in the leave year OR
- One third of a working week where the employee works at least 117 hours in a calendar month OR
- 8% of the hours worked in a leave year (subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks)
Note 1: the maximum entitlement is four of the employee’s normal working weeks and NOT twenty days; this can be significant because the “working week” itself is not defined in the Act and must be construed by reference to the number of days/hours encompassing a work cycle.
Note 2: pay must be paid in advance of the annual leave.
Note 3: periods of sick leave are not counted as hours worked but parental and maternity leave are.
(a) 4 working weeks where the employee works at least 1,365 hours in the year
Sheila works a 39 hour, 5 day week.
She has worked 1400 hours at the end of September. As this exceeds 1,365 hours she is entitled to 4 weeks paid holidays.
Her normal working week is 5 days. She is entitled therefore to 20 days (4 weeks @ 5 days) paid annual leave.
(b) One third of a working week per calendar month in excess of 117 hours
Michael works a four day week at 39 hours per week. This is in excess of 117 hours per month (over 600 hours in fact).
So Michael accumulates annual leave at a rate of 1.34 (one and one third) days per month worked, that is, one third of four days = 1.34.
In a full year (12 months) Michael will accumulate 1.34 * 12 = 16.08 days annual leave.
( c) 8% of the hours worked
Jonathan works for 8 weeks and did 200 hours over the 8 weeks and then quit.
Jonathan is entitled to 8% of hours worked, that is, 16 hours of paid leave which he is entitled to receive when leaving the employment.
NOTE: if more than one of these methods of calculation is applicable, the employer must use the method which gives the greatest entitlement.
What if the employee gets sick during annual leave?
If the employee provides a sick certificate then his leave should not be counted for the days of his certificate and the employees will be allowed carry over his leave, even where it takes him/her into another leave year.
Timing of leave
The employer can decide when annual leave can be taken. By the same token it is the employer’s responsibility to see that the employee takes his/her full entitlement within the leave period.
Leave must be given and taken within the leave year unless the employee consents to getting leave in the first six months of the following leave year. Any leave not taken is forfeited.
How much pay?
Annual leave is paid leave and the obligation is to pay the normal weekly rate of pay. A statutory instrument, 475/1997 sets out in detail how to calculate payment which will depend on a number of factors and need to account for bonuses (may be included), allowances (may be included), and overtime (not included).
How to Calculate Holiday Pay
Firstly, if the employee is paid by reference to a salary or a time rate, the amount due for one week of annual leave will be the amount paid to him/her for a normal working week prior to the commencement of holidays.
This payment includes any regular allowance and bonus but does not include overtime.
Secondly, if the employee is not paid by reference to a time rate but by reference to commission or a piece or productivity rate, then his/her holiday pay for one week of annual leave is calculated by reference to the average pay for that employee calculated over the 13 weeks immediately prior to taking leave.
Public Holiday Pay
For an employee who is normally required to work on the day on which a public holiday falls
If the employee’s pay is calculated by reference to a time rate or salary, he is entitled to a day’s pay according to his normal daily hours prior to the holiday;
If the employee’s pay is calculated by reference to a piece rate or commission, he is entitled to the average daily pay calculated over the 13 weeks prior to the public holiday.
For an employee who is not normally required to work on the day on which the public holiday falls
If the employee’s pay is calculated by reference to a time rate or salary, he is entitled to pay equivalent to one fifth of the normal weekly hours last worked before the holiday;
If the employee’s pay is calculated by reference to a piece rate, he is entitled to one fifth of the average weekly pay calculated over 13 weeks prior to the public holiday.
Losing the job?
The employee is entitled to compensation for any leave that they have not taken in the leave year.
Public holidays in Ireland are set out in the act as follows:
|1. Each of the following days shall, subject to the subsequent provisions of this Schedule, be a public holiday for the purposes of this Act:
|(a) Christmas Day,
|(b) St. Stephen’s Day,
|(c) St. Patrick’s Day,
|(d) Easter Monday, the first Monday in May, the first Monday in June and the first Monday in August,
|(e) the last Monday in October,
|(f) the 1st day of January,
|(g) any other day or days prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph.
|2. The Minister may by regulations vary paragraph 1 by substituting for any day referred to in that paragraph another day.
|3. An employer may, for the purpose of fulfilling any relevant obligation imposed on him or her by this Act, treat as a public holiday, in lieu of a public holiday aforesaid, either—
|(a) the Church holiday falling in the same year immediately before the public holiday, or
|(b) the Church holiday falling in the same year immediately after the public holiday or, if the public holiday is a day which is a public holiday by virtue of paragraph 1 (b), the 6th day of January next following,
|by giving to the employee concerned notice of his or her intention to do so not less than 14 days before the Church holiday (where that holiday is before the public holiday) or before the public holiday (where that holiday is before the Church holiday or, as the case may be, the said 6th day of January).
|4. Each of the following days shall be a Church holiday for the purposes of paragraph 3:
|(a) the 6th day of January, except when falling on a Sunday,
|(b) Ascension Thursday,
|(c) the Feast of Corpus Christi,
|(d) the 15th day of August, except when falling on a Sunday,
|(e) the 1st day of November, except when falling on a Sunday,
|(f) the 8th day of December, except when falling on a Sunday,
|(g) any other day or days prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph.
Public holidays confer public holiday benefits on employees and the employer has a choice of
- A paid day off on that day
- An additional day’s pay
- An additional day of annual leave
- A paid day off within a month of that day.
How much you are entitled to be paid will be roughly similar to the calculation of annual leave pay as set out in SI 475/1997, Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay for Holidays) Regulations, 1997.
A claim may be brought in the first instance to a Rights Commissioner (within 6 months of alleged breach, 12 months allowed in exceptional situations) and thereafter appealed to the Labour Court.
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