Understanding how to calculate Bank Holiday pay in Ireland

Gemma O'Connor

November 30 2021

Last updated: November 30th, 2021

As an employer, you have quite a lot of employee entitlements to keep on top of. One such entitlement is Bank Holiday pay.

While the idea of Bank Holiday pay calculation seems straightforward, different rules apply for different groups of employees. That doesn’t mean, however, that it needs to be complicated.

The basics of Bank Holidays

Bank Holidays in Ireland

First things first, Ireland has nine Bank Holidays in a calendar year. These are:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st)
  • Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
  • Easter Monday
  • The first Monday in May
  • The first Monday in June
  • The first Monday in August
  • The last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (December 25th)
  • Stephen’s Day (December 26th)

Alternative benefits

Of course, we all know the above dates already. One thing some employers miss though is that it’s up to them to actually determine if the employee gets the specific Bank Holiday day off. That’s because employers can give an employee one of these alternative benefits:

  • A paid day off on the Bank Holiday.
  • A paid day off within a month of the Bank Holiday.
  • An extra day of annual leave.
  • An extra day’s pay.

Lastly, a Bank Holiday might fall on a day that isn’t a ‘normal working day’ for the business, e.g., Saturday or Sunday. In this event, employees are still entitled to benefit for that public holiday, such as the alternatives listed above.

Who’s entitled to what Bank Holiday pay?

Our HR consultants are often asked who’s entitled to what when it comes to Bank Holiday pay. “Do you include bank holidays when calculating holiday pay?” is another common question.

Full-time employee entitlement is pretty straightforward as they have immediate entitlement to Bank Holidays.

Bank Holidays pay for part-time employees is different, however, as they only have entitlement to Bank Holidays when:

  • They’ve been employed with the business for at least 40 hours in the five weeks preceding the Bank Holiday.
  • The public holiday falls on a day they normally work.

If you need an employee to work on a Bank Holiday they’re entitled to have off, you must give them an extra day's pay. If, on the other hand, they don’t normally work on that particular day, they should get one-fifth of their weekly pay. Even if an employee isn’t rostered to work on a Bank Holiday, they’re entitled to one-fifth of their weekly pay as compensation.

Finally, it’s important to understand Bank Holiday pay with regard to temporary agency employees. Under the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012, all temporary agency employees must receive equal treatment as your direct staff when it comes to certain conditions of employment, e.g., Bank Holiday entitlements. Irish employment laws provide employees with strong protections, so you should make sure you respect their rights.

Are employees not entitled to double pay on Bank Holidays?

Whether employees are entitled to double pay on Bank Holidays causes its fair share of headaches for employers.

The Organisation of Working Time Act (Determination of Pay For Holidays) Regulations (SI 475/1997) governs Bank Holiday pay in Ireland. The Act doesn’t specify that a ‘double pay law’ exists. Instead, if your employee works on a Bank Holiday, they should receive one of the alternative benefits previously mentioned.

Calculate Bank Holiday pay with BrightHR

BrightHR, our award-winning online HR software, helps you manage everything from shifts and rotas to Bank Holidays at the click of a button. It’s the employer-friendly software that’s there for you whenever you need it, and it couldn’t be easier to use.

To find out more about how BrightHR can help you with all things Bank Holidays, book your demo today.

Need our help to calculate Bank Holiday pay?

If you need expert guidance on how to calculate Bank Holiday pay in Ireland, call Peninsula today on 0818 923 923.

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