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Public Holiday Entitlements for Employees (Ireland): Employer’s Guide

Understand public holiday entitlements for full and part-time staff in Ireland. HR Buddy is your trusted HR partner. Contact our team for business HR advice.
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Bank Holiday Entitlements: Employer’s Guide

Bank holiday weekends provide a welcome opportunity for many to relax and recharge, to celebrate significant occasions throughout the year and to attend community events and gatherings. However, understanding public holiday entitlements can at times be tricky both for employers and employees.

This guide aims to clarify employee rights and employer obligations regarding public holidays in Ireland, as outlined in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 legislation.

Contact our team for holiday calculation queries and employment entitlements unique to your business, or to find out more about our full range of HR services.

Bank holiday entitlements

Ireland has 10 public holidays annually. Employees, whether full-time or part-time, are entitled to a benefit for each public holiday. This benefit, determined by the employer, can take one of the following forms:

  • Paid day off: A day off work with full pay on the public holiday itself.
  • Substitute day off: A paid day off within a month of the public holiday.
  • Additional annual leave: An extra day added to the employee’s annual leave allowance.
  • Extra day’s pay: An additional day’s pay at the employee’s normal weekly wage.

Working on public holidays

If your business operates on a public holiday, employees who work are entitled to be paid for the day at their normal daily hours in addition to their public holiday benefit.

This benefit can vary depending on the employee’s work schedule (full-time or part-time) and the specific public holiday, provided the employee receives appropriate notice.

Public holidays falling on weekends

If a public holiday falls on a weekend day (e.g., Easter Monday or Christmas Day), the substitute day off or additional annual leave can be taken on another date. However, there’s no automatic entitlement to have the next working day off.

Public holidays and business closures

If your business closes on a public holiday on which a full-time employee would normally work, the employee is entitled to their regular day’s pay.

Part-time employee entitlements

Full-time employees have an immediate right to the public holiday benefit from their first day. Part-time employees qualify only if they have worked a minimum of 40 hours in the 5 weeks preceding the public holiday.

How to calculate public holiday benefit for part-time staff

Here’s how public holiday benefit is calculated for part-time employees in Ireland:

  • Public holiday on a work day (meeting 40-hour threshold): The employee receives the full benefit (extra day’s pay, paid day off, etc.).
  • Public holiday on a non-work day (meeting 40-hour threshold): The employee receives one-fifth of their normal weekly wage for that day.
  • Public holiday on a non-work day (not meeting 40-hour threshold): No public holiday benefit is awarded.

Bank holidays and leave

Employees on leave for various reasons (Maternity Leave, Adoptive Leave, Parental Leave, Domestic Violence Leave) retain their public holiday entitlement for the leave duration. Public holidays during Paternity Leave or Parent’s Leave are added to the leave period.

Employees on Carer’s Leave receive the benefit for bank holidays within the first thirteen weeks of their temporary lay-off.

However, employees on sick leave exceeding 26 consecutive weeks (or 52 weeks for occupational accidents) forfeit their public holiday benefit if absent immediately before the holiday.

What employers in Ireland need to know about bank holidays in Ireland:

  • Public holidays do not count towards annual leave entitlement.
  • Good Friday is a normal working day, not a public holiday.
  • Employees on temporary lay-off during a public holiday receive the benefit for holidays within the first thirteen weeks of lay-off.
  • Employees leaving within a week before a public holiday, having worked the previous four weeks, are entitled to public holiday payment.

Frequently asked questions

Do you have to pay double time on bank holidays? 

No, employers are not obligated to pay double time on bank holidays. The employee receives their normal pay rate for working on a public holiday, on top of their public holiday benefit.

Do all employees get bank holiday pay? 

All employees who meet the qualifying criteria (full-time employees or part-time employees meeting the 40-hour threshold) are entitled to public holiday benefits.

Are part-time workers entitled to bank holidays? 

Yes, part-time workers who meet the 40-hour threshold in the preceding 5 weeks are entitled to public holiday benefits.

Need more support?

For employers:  This guide provides a general overview of public holiday entitlements in Ireland.  If you have further questions or require specific guidance regarding your business’s situation, the friendly HR Buddy team is here to help.

We offer a comprehensive suite of HR services for small businesses, ensuring you have the support you need to navigate complex employment issues and remain compliant with Irish regulations.

Contact our team of HR experts by phone at 064 669 8034 or email us at for tailored advice on managing public holiday entitlements for your employees.