Organisation of Working Time Act 1997

Entitlement in respect of public holidays.


21.(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, an employee shall, in respect of a public holiday, be entitled to whichever one of the following his or her employer determines, namely—

(a) a paid day off on that day,

(b) a paid day off within a month of that day,

(c) an additional day of annual leave,

(d) an additional day’s pay:

Provided that if the day on which the public holiday falls is a day on which the employee would, apart from this subsection, be entitled to a paid day off this subsection shall have effect as if paragraph (a) were omitted therefrom.

(2) An employee may, not later than 21 days before the public holiday concerned, request his or her employer to make, as respects the employee, a determination under subsection (1) in relation to a particular public holiday and notify the employee of that determination at least 14 days before that holiday.

(3) If an employer fails to comply with a request under subsection (2), he or she shall be deemed to have determined that the entitlement of the employee concerned under subsection (1) shall be to a paid day off on the public holiday concerned or, in a case to which the proviso to subsection (1) applies, to an additional day’s pay.

(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply, as respects a particular public holiday, to an employee (not being an employee who is a whole-time employee) unless he or she has worked for the employer concerned at least 40 hours during the period of 5 weeks ending on the day before that public holiday.

(5) Subsection (1) shall not apply, as respects a particular public holiday, to an employee who is, other than on the commencement of this section, absent from work immediately before that public holiday in any of the cases specified in the Third Schedule.

(6) For the avoidance of doubt, the reference in the proviso to subsection (1) to a day on which the employee is entitled to a paid day off includes a reference to any day on which he or she is not required to work, the pay to which he or she is entitled in respect of a week or other period being regarded, for this purpose, as receivable by him or her in respect of the day or days in that period on which he or she is not required to work as well as the day or days in that period on which he or she is required to work.


Modifications (not altering text):


Application of subs. (1) restricted (2.07.2001) by Carer's Leave Act 2001 (19/2001), s. 13(3), commenced on enactment.

Protection of employment rights.

13.— ...

(3) Section 21(1) of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997, shall apply to the first 13 weeks of absence from work on carer's leave for each relevant person and shall not apply to public holidays that occur after such period of absence from work.


Editorial Notes:


Compliance notice procedure in respect of section provided (1.10.2015) by Workplace Relations Act 2015 (16/2015), s. 28(17) and sch. 4, S.I. No. 410 of 2015.


Rates under section determined (8.12.1997) by Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay For Holidays) Regulations 1997 (S.I. No. 475 of 1997), reg. 4.


Declared unconstitutional: Industrial Relations Act 1946 (26/1946), ss. 42, 43 and 45 and Industrial Relations Act 1990 (19/1990), s. 48 purported to allow the making of employment regulation orders under which application of this section could be restricted. These provisions and employment regulation orders made under them were declared unconstitutional in John Grace Fried Chicken Ltd and Others v Catering Joint Labour Committee and Others [2011] IEHC 277.


Previous affecting provisions: orders in relation to agricultural workers and contract cleaners (Dublin City and County) restricted the application of this section in relation to part time or short time workers in Employment Regulation Order (Agricultural Workers Joint Labour Committee) 2008 (S.I. No. 93 of 2008), art. 2 and sch., part IV para. 3, Employment Regulation Order (Contract Cleaning (City and County of Dublin) Joint Labour Committee) 2007 (S.I. No. 311 of 2007), part II section II(c) and those annually preceding them.