October Public Holiday is Approaching – Are All of Your Employees Entitled to a Day Off?

Governed by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, the last Monday in October is designated a Public Holiday. This calendar year the above holiday will fall on Monday 29th October 2018.

All full-time employees are entitled to remuneration for the public holiday irrespective of length of service.

Part-time employees are also entitled to the same benefits as long as they have worked at least 40 hours in the preceding 5 weeks before the holiday. For the ease of reference this would be; Monday 24th September – Sunday 28th October 2018.

It is important to note that all employees are entitled to public holidays from their first day of employment and it would be deemed unfair even during probation to deny this benefit to the employee.

It is also important to note that an employee continues to accrue their entitlement to public holidays whilst on various protected leaves such as maternity leave, adoptive leave, force majeure leave and the first 26 weeks of sickness (due to a non-occupational illness) and the first 52 weeks (due to occupational illness) to name but a few.

The legislation sets out the remaining protected leaves in which they would still receive their entitlement to remuneration for Monday 29th October 2018 as a public holiday.

Employees who would normally work on the public holiday will be entitled to their normal rate of pay for their hours they ordinarily would work (however an individual’s contracts of employment may offer a higher rate – therefore it is important to check this).

Although overtime isn’t required to be considered when making the payment, employers must take into account any regular bonus that doesn’t vary in relation to the employee’s normal duties. To summarise, employees are entitled to a paid day off on Monday 29th October.

However, some businesses will be open for business for the bank holiday and therefore they will require employees to work to ensure operational effectiveness is maintained. It is important that you make it clear to the employees who are required to work and operate this system fairly to avoid any disputes.

Such employees will still need to be remunerated by having a paid day off within a month, an extras day annual leave or an extra days pay.

For those employees whose hours are variable or fixed rate and they will work on Monday 29th October or would have normally worked then they will be entitled to the pay equivalent (excluding overtime) on their last normal working day before the holiday.

If the employee doesn’t work on Monday 29th October and they employee wouldn’t normally be required to work this day, then they would be entitled to the pay to one-fifth of their last normal working week.

Finally, Halloween is on Wednesday 31st October 2018 and it may be common for employees to request Annual Leave to cover the remaining days and therefore it is important that you refer to your annual leave policy to ensure that you have the appropriate staffing levels so that your business continues to operate effectively.

If you have any questions in relation to public holiday entitlements, please contact our advice line on 1890 253 369

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Nora Cashe


Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

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With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

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