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Blog  »  August 2012  »  Public Holiday Entitlements - Blog
Aug 12

Posted by
Ciaran Loughran

Public Holiday Entitlements

Public Holidays
I’ve had some queries recently about what employees are entitled to for public holidays. In particular there seems to be some confusion as to what rules apply to part-time employees and I am aware that some employers are applying the rules incorrectly.
The rules on Public Holiday entitlement are set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. Employees are entitled to nine official public holidays per year. These days are as follows:

1. New Years Day
2. St Patrick’s Day
3. Easter Monday
4. May Bank Holiday
5. June Bank Holiday
6. August Bank Holiday
7. October Bank Holiday
8. Christmas Day
9. St. Stephen's Day

Employer’s Options
In respect of a public holiday the employee is entitled to whichever of the following the employer determines:
(a) a paid day off on the day in question; or
(b) a paid day off within a month of that day; or
(c) an extra day's annual leave; or
(d) an extra day's pay.

For example, if one of the public holidays listed falls on a day that is not usually worked by employees, such as Saturday or Sunday, the employer may decide on which of options (b) to (d) to apply, depending on the circumstances.

The employee can request, not later than 21 days before the public holiday, that the employer nominate which of the above options will apply to the employee in regard to an upcoming public holiday. If the employer fails to nominate one of the options 14 days prior to the public holiday, then the employee will automatically be entitled to a paid day off on the public holiday.

Determining Entitlement
All full-time employees are automatically entitled to public holiday benefit. Part-time employees qualify for public holiday entitlement provided they have worked at least 40 hours during the five weeks ending on the day before a public holiday. Employees who work or are normally rostered to work on the public holiday are entitled to a day's pay for the public holiday. Employees who are not normally rostered to work on the public holiday are entitled to one fifth of their normal weekly rate of remuneration for the public holiday.
Take, for example a public holiday that occurs on a Monday. An employee who normally works 24 hours a week based on 8 hours each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday is entitled to 8 hours public holiday entitlement as the public holiday occurs on Monday, one of his/her normal working days. An employee who works 24 hours per week based on working 8 hours each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be entitled to 4.8 hours, which is one fifth of his/her normal working week as the public holiday falls on a day that he/she would not normally work.


Absence and Public Holiday Entitlement
Employees absent due to maternity leave, adoptive leave, parental leave, annual leave and jury duty accrue public holiday entitlement as if they were at work. Employees on carer’s leave continue to accrue public holiday entitlement for the first 13 weeks absence on carer’s leave.
The following type of absences occurring immediately before the public holiday will not be entitled to public holiday benefit.
• Absence in excess of 52 weeks due to occupational injury;
• Absence in excess of 26 weeks due to illness or injury;
• Absence in excess of 13 weeks by reason not referred to above authorized by the employer including lay off;
• Absence by reason of strike.


Termination of Employment
Employees who leave the employment during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, having worked the 4 weeks proceeding that week, are entitled to receive benefits for that public holiday.

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Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook