BrightPayLast updated: 1 June 2023

Public holiday pay entitlement in Ireland

Elaine Carroll

Elaine Carroll31 May 2023

Figuring out an employee's entitlement to pay for a public holiday can sometimes be confusing, especially if they work part-time or if the holiday falls on a day they don't normally work. 

It’s also important to remember that not every bank holiday is a public holiday, although they usually overlap. For example, Good Friday is a bank holiday, but it's not a public holiday. So, while some schools and businesses close on that day, not everyone will have an automatic entitlement to that day off.  

If you're wondering what the official public holidays in Ireland are, here is the full list:  

  • New Year's Day (1st January) 
  • First Monday in February, or 1st February if the date falls on a Friday 
  • Saint Patrick's Day (17th 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) 

If one of these dates fall on a weekend, the following Monday will be a public holiday. If Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day both fall on the weekend, the following Monday and Tuesday will be public holidays. 

What are employees entitled to? 

Employees who qualify for public holiday benefit will be 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 

If the public holiday falls on a day which the employee would normally work, qualifying employees are entitled to one of the above four options, at the employer’s discretion. 

Who is entitled to public holiday benefit? 

  • All full-time employees  
  • Part-time employees will only qualify if they have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks ending the day before the public holiday, this includes any employees who are on sick leave 

How do you calculate the amount to be paid? 

Where the employee’s pay is a fixed amount, the normal daily rate can be used. If their pay varies, the daily rate should be calculated over the 13 weeks immediately before the public holiday in question. The rates are calculated as follows: 

What if an employee is on sick leave, maternity, adoptive, paternity, parent’s or parental leave? 

If an employee is a full-time worker and is on sick leave during a public holiday, they are entitled to benefit for the public holiday. You could also choose to treat the employee as not being on sick leave on that day and pay them as you normally would for the public holiday. If your employee is paid as usual for the day, it won't count as a sick leave day. 

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

Further information can be found on the Citizens Information website