Understanding how to calculate Bank Holiday pay in Ireland

Gemma O'Connor - Head of Service

June 02 2023

First published: November 30th, 2021
Last updated: June 2nd, 2023

Understanding how to calculate Bank Holiday pay in Ireland

As an employer, you have a lot of employee entitlements to keep on top of. One such entitlement is public holiday pay (sometimes better known as bank holiday pay).

With ten public holidays in Ireland, it’s important that you know how to manage public holiday pay entitlements to avoid payment of wages claims if you get it wrong.

What are Public Holidays?

Public Holidays in Ireland

First things first, Ireland has ten statutory Public Holidays in a calendar year.

These are:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st)
  • St Brigid’ Day (first Monday in February or first Friday if February 1st falls on a Friday – applicable from 2023 onwards)
  • 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)

Extra day’s pay or an alternative benefit

One thing some employers miss is that it’s up to the employer to determine whether or not the employee receives a paid day off on the date of each Public Holiday.

There are alternative benefits that employers can provide depending on whether the workplace is open on the public holiday.

You can provide:

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

If a Public Holiday falls on a day that isn’t a ‘normal working day’ for the business, e.g., Saturday or Sunday, employees are still entitled to receive one of the benefits listed above for that public holiday.

Who’s entitled to what benefit on Public Holidays?

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

Full-time employees are entitled to one of the Public Holiday benefits listed above.

Public Holiday pay for part-time employees is treated differently, however, as they only have an entitlement to Public Holiday benefits when:

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

If a part-time employee is not normally rostered to work on the public holiday, then they will be entitled to one-fifth of their normal weekly wage.

If your business is closed on the public holiday and staff would normally be rostered to work, then staff get their normal day's pay.

If you’re open for business and your staff are working, they should receive their normal daily pay and a paid day off or an additional day's pay equal to the normal daily hours last worked before the public holiday.

Good Friday – a bank holiday but not a public holiday

Many employers query how Good Friday should be treated in terms of pay and benefits. While the banks are closed on Good Friday and many businesses also choose to close on Good Friday, it’s not a statutory public holiday.

As Good Friday is not a public holiday, employees are not entitled to any additional pay or alternative benefits for working on Good Friday.

Business owners who close on Good Friday should confirm their position on whether or not staff are required to use a day’s annual leave in the contract of employment.

If the business is open and employees want to take the day off on Good Friday, employers are entitled to deduct a day’s leave from their annual leave entitlement.

Are employees not entitled to double pay on Bank Holidays?

While this is a question we regularly deal with, the question relates to public holiday pay.

You should provide your employees with the most appropriate benefit listed above for all ten public holidays.

Need our help calculating Public Holiday pay?

If you need expert guidance on how to calculate Public Holiday (Bank Holiday) pay in Ireland, call one of our Peninsula employment law experts today on 1800 719 216

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