Minimum holiday entitlement
Paid public holidays per year
Additional leave compliance rules and complexities
An employee is not allowed to work on average for more than 48 hours per week. This does not mean they are not allowed to work more than 48 hours in a week, but they must not exceed this average. The average is calculated over the following time periods:
- 4 months
- 6 months: for employees working in; agriculture, airports, docks, electricity, gas, hospitals, prisons, security, or in a business that has peak periods, like tourism
- 12 months: must have been agreed between the employer and employee and must be approved by the Labour Court
There are no regulations on overtime, this is decided by the business if they allow it.
A night worker is defined as someone who works at least 3 hours between 12 am and 7 am. For an employee to be classed as a night worker, they must work more than 50% of their total hours in a year during 12 am and 7 pm.
Night workers should not work more than 8 hours on average during a 24-hour period. The average is calculated over a 2-month period (longer if it is part of a collective agreement).
Time worked cannot exceed 8 hours in a 24-hour period if the work undertaken involves special hazards or physical mental strain.
Employees are entitled to varying lengths of breaks depending on continuous hours worked.
- 4 ½ hours worked = 15-minute break
- 6 hours worked = 30-minute break
Shop employees who work more than 6 hours, which includes the period 11.30 am to 2.30 pm, are entitled to a one-hour break which must occur between 11.30 am to 2.30 pm.
There is no requirement for breaks to be paid as they are not considered working hours.
The national minimum wage (per hour) in Ireland depends on the employees’ age.
- Aged 20 and over: €9.80
- Aged 19: €8.82
- Aged 18: €7.84
- Aged under 18: €6.86
These rates of pay may include allowances for the following:
- Board – €0.87 per hour worked
- Lodging – €23.15 per week or €3.32 per day
There is no statutory obligation to pay employees for work they completed in overtime.
Employees who work on a Sunday are entitled to extra pay which must be determined between employer and employee. The employer must give the employee one of the following:
- A reasonable allowance
- A reasonable pay increase
- Reasonable paid time off work
The term reasonable depends on circumstances and must be negotiated between employer and employee and where applicable, the employees’ trade union.
Employees are entitled to paid annual leave depending on their working times;
- 4 working weeks: If the employee has worked at least 1,365 hours
- One-third of a working week: For each month in a leave year that the employee has worked at least 117 hours
- 8% of hours worked: In a leave year (maximum leave allowance of 4 working weeks)
Employers must decide when annual leave may be taken. They must take into consideration the employees’ family responsibilities and the opportunities available to the employee for rest and recreation.
Carryover of annual leave is determined between employer and employee.
There is a total of 9 public holidays in Ireland each year which is on:
- New Year’s Day (1 January)
- St. Patrick’s Day (17 March)
- Easter Monday – Varied date but always a Monday
- First Monday in May, June, August – Varied date but always a Monday
- Last Monday in October – Varied date but always a Monday
- Christmas Day (25 December)
- St. Stephen’s Day (26 December)
If the public holiday falls on a day that is not a normal working day (for example a Saturday or Sunday) the employee is entitled to that public holiday in the form of:
- A paid day off on that day
- A paid day off within a month of that day
- An additional day of annual leave
- An additional days pay
Employees are not entitled to take the next working day off.
Part-time workers are only entitled to the benefit if they have worked a total of 40 hours or more in the previous 5 weeks.
There are no statutory laws regarding paid sick leave. Employers must therefore establish their own sick leave policies, which they must clearly communicate in writing to all employees. Employees can “refund” their annual leave if they fall ill while on holiday. If they get a medical certificate, they can request that their sick days don’t count towards their annual leave days.
Mothers are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave as well as 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, which must begin immediately after the 26 weeks of maternity leave. Employees must take 2 weeks of their maternity leave before the due date and can decide how they take the remaining time afterward.
Employers are not required to pay an employee who is on maternity leave.
Parental leave is offered to an employee who is a relevant parent in relation to a child. In this case, the employee is entitled to a single period of 2 weeks’ leave. This leave shall commence no earlier than the day of confinement and no later than 26 weeks after such day.
Adoption leave is offered to an employee who is adopting a child. In this case, the employee is entitled to no less than 10 consecutive weeks starting on the day of adoption.