During the summer season, almost every employee will want to take some annual leave so as to enjoy a break from their work environment. While this practice is well regulated in Ireland, inevitably some employers will experience difficulties and so the information provided in this article (sourced generally from the National Employment Rights Authority) aims to reduce such possibilities.
There are three different ways of calculating an employee’s annual leave entitlement: (1) An employee who has worked at least 1,365 hours in the leave year (that is, an average working week of 26.25 hours) is entitled to the maximum of 4 weeks’ annual leave; (2) Allow 1/3 of a working week for each calendar month in which the employee has worked at least 117 hours; or (3) Allow 8% of the hours worked in the leave year, subject to a maximum of 4 weeks. An employee may use whichever of these methods gives them the greater entitlement, and an employee who has worked for at least 8 months is entitled to an unbroken period of 2 weeks’ annual leave. It is illegal to pay an allowance in lieu of the minimum statutory holiday entitlement of an employee unless the employment relationship has been terminated.
An employer can decide when holiday leave may be taken, but this is subject to a number of conditions. For example, an employer must take into account an employee’s family responsibilities and the opportunities available to them for rest and recreation. This means that an employer should consult with the employee (or their union) at least one month before holiday leave is to be taken. In addition, all annual leave should be taken within the appropriate leave year or, with the employee’s consent, within 6 months of the relevant leave year.
Irish employees are also entitled to nine public holidays during the year, in respect of which an employer may choose to give an employee one of the following four options: (1) a paid day off on the day; (2) a paid day off within a month; (3) an extra day of paid annual leave; or (4) an extra day’s pay. In order for a part-time worker to qualify for a public holiday, he/she must work at least 40 hours in the 5-week period that immediately precedes the public holiday.
Pay in respect of annual leave is paid in advance at the normal weekly rate. If an employee’s pay varies because, for example, of commission or bonus payments, the pay for their holidays is the average.