Christmas and New Years Holiday Pay in Ireland

There can be some confusion about entitlement to bank holiday pay in Ireland. For example – many people are unsure if Christmas Eve is a Bank Holiday. (it isn’t).

Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and New Year’s Day are public holidays in Ireland .
Even when a public holiday falls on a day that is not a normal working day for the business (eg. a Saturday or Sunday) employees still have entitlement to benefit.
This will be the case in 2021 – Christmas Day is on a Saturday and St Stephen’s Day is on a Sunday.
Monday 27th December and Tuesday 28th December 2021 are nOT public holidays – but they are bank holidays.


Christmas Eve , New Year’s Eve and Good Friday are not public holidays and workers are not entitled to bank holiday pay for those days.

Full List of Public Holidays in Ireland


Pay On Public Holidays

  •  All workers are entitled to one of these benefits on a public holiday :
    • 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

Full-time workers have immediate entitlement to these benefits for public holidays, regardless of how long they have worked for that employer.

Part-time workers must have worked for the employer for at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period to have one of these a public holiday entitlements. ( That is a TOTAL of 40 hours in the past 5 weeks – NOT 40 hours per week.) 


Part Time Workers

Where the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee normally works, the employee is entitled to a full day’s pay for the public holiday. (As if they had done their normal hours on that day.) If they work on the holiday they should also get their usual pay on top of the public holiday pay.

Where the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee does not normally work, the employee is entitled to one-fifth of his/her normal weekly wage for the public holiday.
If weekly pay varies – then the employer should use an average of the weekly pay over the last 13 weeks prior to the public holiday and divide it by five.


Weekend Public Holidays

Even when a public holiday falls on a day that is not a normal working day for the business (eg. a Saturday or Sunday) employees still have entitlement to benefit. This is the case in 2021 when Christmas Day is on a Saturday and St Stephen’s Day falls on a Sunday.


Money Saving Tips for 2021


Public Holiday Pay Examples :

  • A person works full time Mon to Fri . Christmas Day falls on a Saturday and St Stephens Day is on a Sunday. Even though the employee doesn’t normally work on a Saturday or Sunday – they are entitled to public holiday benefit.
    The worker should receive one-fifth of their normal weekly pay for Christmas Day and another fifth of their normal weekly pay for St Stephens Day. OR they should get the equivalent amount of time off.
  • A person works 3 days a week ( Sat, Sun, Mon) 12 hours a day. A public holiday falls on a Monday and they are required to work the usual 12 hours . They are entitled to 24 hours pay.
  • A person works 3 days a week ( Sat, Sun, Mon) 12 hours a day. A public holiday falls on a Monday and they are not required to work. They are entitled to 12 hours pay.
  • A person works part-time Monday and Tuesday . A Public holiday falls on a Wednesday, which is not one of their normal working days. They do not work on that day. The worker should receive one-fifth of their normal weekly pay for the public holiday OR they should get the equivalent amount of time off. The employer can decide which option to give you.

If an employee ceases to be employed during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, having worked during the 4 weeks preceding that week, he/she is entitled to receive pay for the public holiday.

The Organisation of Working Time Act provides that you may ask your employer at least 21 days before a public holiday, which of the alternatives will apply. If your employer fails to respond at least 14 days before the public holiday, you are entitled to take the actual public holiday as a paid day off.


Public Holiday on a Weekend

Where a public holiday falls on a weekend, you do not have any automatic legal entitlement to have the next working day off work.
At Christmas 2021 – you do not have any automatic entitlement to a day off on Monday 28th or Tuesday 29th December 2021. (Although some employers will give these as paid days off.)


If you are not getting your public holiday entitlement you may make a complaint under the Organisation of Working Time Act within 6 months of the dispute or complaint occurring. You must use the online complaint form from workplacerelations.ie.

Full List of Bank Holidays in Ireland