Bank Holiday Payment Entitlements

Time Marches On

March is always a strange month, whilst January can seem endless and February spins by before you’ve even adjusted to writing the New Year on your documents, March somehow signals that more time has passed in the current year than we could have realised. One bonus that comes along with March for those of us working away on our fair green Isle is that it offers us our first little break in the year in the guise of parades and fairs celebrating our patron saint.

One thing to be aware of however is that occasionally, as was the case this year, the Public Holiday may not fall on the traditional Monday associated with a Bank Holiday. In this scenario there are a number of ways to tackle the change and we thought it prudent to give information on who may be entitled to Bank Holiday payment.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is not an automatic entitlement to the Monday following the 17th of March off, but it does usually suit business operations to proceed in this manner.

The entitlement for full-time employees is as follows:

  • A paid day off either on the public holiday, or the following Monday for those who work Mon-Fri when the public holiday falls outside of the standard.
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay in this pay round.
  • A paid day off within a month of the Public Holiday.

It is also not always widely known that the employee is entitled to ask which options apply to their circumstance 21 days before the Public Holiday, and should the employer fail to respond within 14 days of the holiday, the employee then becomes automatically entitled to take the Public Holiday as a paid day off. It is advised to communicate this to your employees well in advance in order to avoid confusion on either side.

The entitlement for part-time employees is as follows:

  • Employees who have not worked at least 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks prior to the Public Holiday to not meet the minimum requirement to avail of their Public Holiday entitlements.

The payment options for a Public Holiday are as follows:

  • If the employee works on the Public Holiday they are entitled to payment for that day worked, as well as an additional day’s pay equivalent to the last day worked prior to the holiday.
  • If an employee normally works the day that the Public Holiday falls on they are entitled to the day off and their normal day’s pay.
  • If an employee does not normally work on the day the Public Holiday falls and is not required to work on this date, they are entitled to one-fifth of their normal wage.
  • Employees on sickness and maternity leave will also have entitlement as though they worked on this day.

We hope that you all enjoyed the first Public Holiday of the year and that this information will be of use for those still to come. Should you have any queries or concerns on any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we are always happy to help.

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In the past we have spoken at length about the importance of employers and employees alike maintaining a health work: life balance. Striking the right balance between your work and home lives can be an arduous task but it is one that makes for a smoother runner work day, healthier home life and a marked increase in productivity levels. We have also discussed how parental leave in other EU countries differs greatly from our own and how changes in parental leave can greatly benefit the maintenance of a positive work: life balance. It seems that positive changes are imminent and may start the process of bringing Ireland into line with other countries where the balance has been found to be more positive. From September 1st 2016 a new paternity leave scheme will be brought into effect which will finally introduce a statutory paternity leave. This new law was signed into law by the president late last month.

The new statutory paternity leave will offer two working weeks of leave for employees and works in conjunction with a new paternity benefit, both available for in relation to any child born after September 1st 2016. Tánaiste Francis Fitzgerald was the first to welcome these developments, saying:

“I welcome the enactment of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill 2016. The Act provides fathers with two weeks of paternity leave and two weeks of paternity benefit for babies born on or after September 1st 2016. This is a significant piece of legislation which recognises the key role that fathers play in the life of new-born babies and young children.”

The Tánaiste also stated that this new legislation is indicative of the current government’s commitment to investing in the early years of childhood and improving the work-life balance of parents. This will certainly be a welcome development for all working parents as it will lessen the need for new parents to utilise their much needed and coveted holiday days during this time of change. The Tánaiste also stated that it is hoped that the government would be in a position to extend parental leave further in the years ahead which would bring Ireland more in line with other countries.

Crucially, this legislation does not apply only to the father of the child. The legislation provides for same sex couples as it specifies that the applicant must be a “relevant parent” which translates as someone other than the child’s mother who is either the father of the child, a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother. The leave may also be postponed in some instances such as sickness of the parent or hospitalisation of the child. A critical point is that this legislation will also afford the applicant with similar protections as those available for maternity and adoptive leave.

It is advised that in the interest of fairness, any employers that currently offer a top-up payment for employees taking maternity or adoptive leave should ensure that this is also available to those availing of this new paternity leave.

Should you require any advice or guidance on these or any other financial and business matters please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants where we are always happy to help you take your business to the next level.


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