Leave Management

Annual Leave FAQs for Employees in Ireland

Understand employee rights to annual leave and holiday pay in the Republic of Ireland...
Sean QuinnPosted on Tuesday, June 13th 2023

What is statutory annual leave in Ireland?

As an employee in the Republic of Ireland, you'll be entitled to paid time off work by law, whether you do full time, part time, temporary or casual work.

Most employees will be entitled to 4 working weeks (20 working days) of annual leave, according to the Organisation of Working Time Act, but there are 3 ways to calculate your entitlement - you should use whichever gives the most generous number of days off:

  • Method 1: If you have worked at least 1,365 hours in a leave year, you should receive the maximum 4 weeks of statutory entitlement.
  • Method 2: One third of a working week is given as leave, for every month an employee has worked over 117 hours.
  • Method 3: 8% of the hours the employee has worked are given as leave, capped at a maximum of 4 weeks of statutory entitlement.

'Time worked' includes time spent on maternity leave, parental leave, annual leave, certified sick leave, adoptive leave, force majeure and the first 13 weeks of carer's leave.

In addition, all full time workers in Ireland should receive a benefit for the 10 Bank Holidays each year (ie. either an additional day of leave, or an additional day's pay). Part time workers may also receive a benefit for these days, which varies depending on their usual schedule.

You'll receive holiday pay in advance for any leave you take, at your normal weekly rate; if your pay changes frequently, this should be an average of the past 13 weeks pay.

Is there a limit on statutory entitlement?

The maximum statutory entitlement is 4 normal working weeks. Your employer might decide to give you additional leave on top of this, which might be subject to conditions (such as having worked at the business for a certain number of years).

Do you accrue leave whilst off sick?

Yes. You will continue to build up entitlement to statutory leave whilst sick, so long as your sick leave is medically certified.

Additionally, if you get sick whilst on annual leave, you can make a request to take sick leave instead. This means you'll claim back those days of annual leave, to use at a later date. However, you'll no longer be entitled for holiday pay for those days.

When does annual leave have to be taken?

Employers and employees will need to come to an agreement about when annual leave can be taken during the leave year. Employers must take into consideration each employee's requests and personal circumstances, before making a decision.

Employees who have worked for at least 8 months are entitled to take a period of 2 weeks unbroken annual leave.

Employers can decide when your annual leave is to be taken, but they must discuss this with you or your union at least a month in advance.

There is no legal right to carry over unused leave into the next leave year, but your employment contract may stipulate whether your employer allows days to be carried over into a subsequent leave year, and should lay out any special limitations around this.

Read more about employee's rights and the rules surrounding working time in Ireland, and take note of the Public Holidays for 2023.

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