There can be some confusion about entitlement to public holiday pay or time-off. For example – many people are unsure if Christmas Eve is a public Holiday. It is not.
Every year there appears to be great confusion about public holiday entitlements of workers at Christmas time.
Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day are public holidays.
Even when a public holiday falls on a day which is not a ‘normal working day’ for that business (for example, on Saturday or Sunday), employees are still entitled to benefit for that public holiday.
Pay On Public Holidays
All workers are entitled to one of these benefits on a public holiday :
- 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
Full-time workers have immediate entitlement to these benefits for public holidays, regardless of how long they have worked for that employer.
Part-time workers must have worked for the employer for at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period to have one of these a public holiday entitlements. ( That is a TOTAL of 40 hours in the past 5 weeks – NOT 40 hours per week.)
Part Time Workers
Where the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee normally works, the employee is entitled to a full day’s pay for the public holiday. (As if they had done their normal hours on that day.) If they work on the holiday they should also get their usual pay on top of the public holiday pay.
Where the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee does not normally work, the employee is entitled to one-fifth of his/her normal weekly wage for the public holiday.
If weekly pay varies – then the employer should use an average of the weekly pay over the last 13 weeks prior to the public holiday and divide it by five.
Public Holiday on a Weekend
Where a public holiday falls on a weekend, you do not have any automatic legal entitlement to have the next working day off work.
At Christmas 2022 – you do not have any automatic entitlement to a day off on Tuesday 27th December 2022. (Although some employers will give this as a paid day off.)
What if an employee is ceased the week of a Public Holiday?
If an employee ceases to be employed during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, having worked during the 4 weeks preceding that week, he/she is entitled to receive pay for the public holiday.
The Organisation of Working Time Act provides that you may ask your employer at least 21 days before a public holiday, which of the alternatives will apply. If your employer fails to respond at least 14 days before the public holiday, you are entitled to take the actual public holiday as a paid day off.