Government announces new Irish Bank Holiday and once-off public holiday

The government has agreed on a once-off public holiday to recognise the efforts of the general public, volunteers, and all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also agreed, and of great importance to employers and business owners, is a new permanent Bank Holiday.

Once-off public holiday

The public holiday will occur on Friday, March 18th of this year. This day will also mark a national commemoration and remembrance of people who lost their lives due to COVID-19.

New Bank Holiday

Commencing in 2023, the new Irish Bank Holiday will be in celebration of St Brigid’s day. This will be the first Monday in every February, except where St. Brigid’s day, the first day of February, happens to fall on a Friday, in which case that Friday, February 1st will be a Bank Holiday.

What does a new Bank Holiday in Ireland mean for employers?

When this new Bank Holiday comes into effect, there will be 10 public holidays in Ireland each year. They’re sometimes called Bank Holidays in Ireland, but for the purposes of holiday pay, it’s the 10 public holidays that are relevant. It’s important that you’re aware of your employees’ entitlement to holiday pay to ensure you comply with employment law.

From 2023, your full-time staff members have an entitlement to be paid for the 10 Bank Holidays that are also public holidays:

  • January 1st
  • Patrick’s Day (17th March)
  • The first Monday in February
  • Eater Monday
  • The first Monday in May
  • The first Monday in June
  • The first Monday in August
  • The last Monday
  • Christmas Day
  • Stephen’s Day

Employee pay on Bank Holidays

On the 10 public holidays listed above, full-time employees have a legal right to be paid what are sometimes known as Bank Holiday pay rates. Essentially, your full-time staff have an entitlement to one of the following benefits during the 10 public holidays:

  • A paid day off
  • An extra day of annual leave
  • An extra day of pay
  • A day off with pay within a month of the public holiday

Your employees’ entitlement to paid annual leave, including public holidays, is legislated by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

There sometimes tends to be confusion as to whether extra pay is due on Bank Holidays. There isn’t a “double pay law.” If your employee works on a public holiday, then you need to provide them with one of the options listed above.

Bank Holiday pay for part-time employees

When it comes to part-time employee Bank Holiday pay entitlements, the situation is a little different.

Employers aren’t obliged to pay a part-time employee who hasn’t worked 40 hours for you in the five weeks before the public holiday. If they have completed more than forty hours’ work, you have to provide a paid day off or one of the other entitlements listed above.

In terms of how to calculate Bank Holiday pay in Ireland for part-time employees who normally work on the day the public holiday falls, they’re entitled to a paid day off or the alternatives as outlined above. The employee’s pay should be equivalent to the hours they worked on the last day before the public holiday. If an employee doesn’t normally work on the day the Bank Holiday falls, they should receive one-fifth of their normal weekly wage.

As an employer, it’s important to update your employment contracts and policies to reflect these recent changes.

Need a HR consultant to help you update your employment contracts and policies?

For guidance on updating your employment contracts and policies, speak to an expert HR consultant now on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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