Public holidays

Introduction

There are 9 public holidays in Ireland each year.

Public holidays may commemorate a special day or other event, for example, Saint Patrick's Day (17 March) or Christmas Day (25 December).

On a public holiday, sometimes called a bank holiday, most businesses and schools close. Other services (for example, public transport) still operate but often have restricted schedules.

Dates of public holidays

Public holidays are:

  • New Year's Day (1 January)
  • Saint Patrick's Day (17 March)
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May
  • First Monday in June
  • First Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (25 December)
  • Saint Stephen's Day (26 December)

Public Holiday dates in Ireland

2021 2022
1 January 1 January
17 March 17 March
5 April 18 April
3 May 2 May
7 June 6 June
2 August 1 August
25 October 31 October
25 December 25 December
26 December 26 December

Good Friday is not a public holiday. While some schools and businesses close on that day, you have no automatic entitlement to time off work on that day.

How is the date of Easter Monday determined each year?

Easter Monday is the only public holiday that can vary significantly from year to year. The date of Easter moves every year.

Easter should be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after 21 March. This means the earliest possible date for Easter Sunday in any year is 22 March, and the latest is 25 April.

Easter Monday falls on 18 April 2022 and 10 April 2023.

Public holidays and your entitlements

Most employees are entitled to paid leave on public holidays. There is an exception for certain part-time employees – read about ‘Part-time employees’ below.

If you qualify for public holiday benefit, you are entitled to one of the following:

  • 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

You can ask your employer at least 21 days before a public holiday, which of the alternatives will apply. If your employer does not respond at least 14 days before the public holiday, you are entitled to take the actual public holiday as a paid day off.

Your public holiday entitlements are set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. You can also read about the appropriate rate of daily pay in the Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay For Holidays) Regulations (SI 475/1997).

Part-time employees

You are entitled to a day's pay for the public holiday if you meet both these conditions:

  • You have worked for your employer at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday
  • The public holiday falls on a day you normally work

If you are required to work that day you are entitled to an additional day's pay.

If you do not normally work on that particular day, you should get one-fifth of your weekly pay. Even if you are never rostered to work on a public holiday, you are entitled to one-fifth of your weekly pay as compensation for the public holiday.

When public holidays fall on a weekend

If the public holiday falls on a day which is not a normal working day for that business (for example, on Saturday or Sunday), you are still entitled to benefit for that public holiday. However, you do not have any automatic legal entitlement to have the next working day off work.

Read more about public holidays and your employment rights on the Workplace Relations Commission website.

If you are on ‘sick leave’ on a public holiday

You are a full-time worker

If you are on sick leave during a public holiday, you are entitled to benefit for the public holiday you missed. Your employer can also choose to regard you as not on sick leave on the public holiday and pay you as normal for the public holiday. If this is the case, the public holiday is not counted as a sick leave day.

You are a part-time worker

If you are on sick leave during a public holiday, you are entitled to benefit for the public holiday, once you worked for your employer for at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period - see 'Part-time employees' above.

However, you are not entitled to pay or time off for the public holiday if you are on sick leave immediately before the public holiday, and either of the following apply:

  • You have been off work for more than 26 weeks due to an ordinary illness or an accident
  • You have been off work for more than 52 weeks due to an occupational accident

If you are on maternity, adoptive, paternity, parent’s or parental leave

You are entitled to leave for any public holidays that occur while you are on maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave, adoptive leave or parent's leave.

However, you are not entitled to public holiday benefits if you were absent from work immediately before the public holiday and your absence is:

  • Over 13 weeks, due to lay off or some other reason and authorised by your employer
  • Due to a strike
  • After the first 13 weeks of carer's leave

These rights are set down in the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004, the Parental Leave Acts 1998 - 2019, the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, the Adoptive Leave Acts 1995 and 2005, and the Parent's Leave and Benefit Act 2019 respectively.

If you are on lay-off, short-time work, or lose your job

During lay off or short-time working, you still are employed by your employer and your contract of employment remains in force. This means that you are entitled to benefit for any public holidays that occur during the first 13 weeks of lay off.

Part-time employees must have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday.

If you lose your job

If your employment finishes during the week, ending on the day before a public holiday, and you have worked for your employer for the previous 4 weeks, you should get an additional day's pay for the public holiday. This also applies to part-time employees who have worked at least 40 hours in the previous 5 weeks.

For example:

In the case of Gazboro Ltd. -v- BATU (DWT9916), the claimants finished their employment on 18 December 1998. They claimed an entitlement to be paid for the public holiday’s on 25 and 26 December.

As the Court interpreted the wording of Section 23(2)(a) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, the week ending at midnight on 24 December began at midnight on 18 December. Since the claimants worked for the employer during the 4 weeks before that week, they were entitled to an additional day's pay for 25 December.

The week ending on 25 December began at midnight on 19 December. Since the claimants ceased to be employed on 18 December, they had no entitlement to be paid for 26 December.

I am not getting my public holiday entitlements

If you are not getting your public holiday entitlement, you should discuss this with your employer.

You can also complain to the WRC under the Organisation of Working Time Act. You must make your complaint using the WRC’s online complaint form within 6 months of the dispute or complaint occurring. This time limit may be extended for a further 6 months, but only where there is a reasonable cause which prevented you from bringing the complaint within the normal time limit.

Further information on public holidays

You can find out more about public holidays in the explanatory booklet on holidays and public holidays (pdf) from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

You can also contact the WRC’s Information and Customer Service:

Workplace Relations Commission - Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road
Carlow
R93 E920

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 1890 80 80 90


Page edited: 16 September 2021