Are employees entitled to be paid for their annual leave?
All employees whether full-time, part-time, temporary, or casual are entitled to paid annual leave as set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.
How much annual leave is an employee entitled to?
The Act states the amount of annual leave that an employee is entitled to and is based on the hours that the employee has worked.
There are three ways to calculate your annual leave entitlement:
You are entitled to four working weeks paid annual leave, if you have worked more than 1,365 hours in the leave year. Please note that this method of calculation cannot be used if you change employment during the leave year.
This is based on 1/3 of a working week where you have worked at least 117 hours in a calendar month.
Calculate 8% of the hours you have worked in the leave year (to a maximum of four working weeks per year)
It is important to note that an employee may receive more annual leave than is stated in the Act (in accordance with their contract of employment or negotiated by their trade union) but they cannot receive less.
Does my annual leave have to be exhausted before I take other forms of statutory leave?
No, these are separate entitlements and annual leave continues to accrue while you are on statutory leave. In other words, time spent on maternity leave, adoptive leave, parent’s leave, paternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave, and the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave are treated as if you never left work and continued employment.
Who decides when an employee can take their annual leave?
According to the legislation, it is the employer who decides the times at which a worker takes their annual leave, however, the employer is obliged, when making such a decision, to consider the needs of the worker to reconcile work and family responsibilities as well as the opportunities for rest and recreation that the worker has available to them. The employer must consult with the employee or his/her trade union at least one month before the holidays are due to commence.
Can an employee take two weeks’ annual leave together?
According to the Act, if an employee works eight months or more in a leave year then they are entitled to an unbroken period of two weeks annual leave.
What about bank holidays or public holidays?
From March 2022, there are 10 public holidays per year. Sometimes you will hear these being referred to as ‘bank holidays.’
Full-time employees who work or are normally rostered to work the public holiday are entitled to either an extra day’s pay, a paid day off on that day or within a month of that day or an additional day of annual leave. Part-time workers are also entitled to this but only if they have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks leading up to the day of the public holiday.
Can I carry over annual leave to next year?
The legislative annual leave calendar runs from 1 April to 31 March; however, most employers use the calendar year from January to December and this does not affect the leave entitlements. In An Post the calendar year is May to April. When it comes to carrying over leave this will depend on what arrangements are in place with the employer, however you should be able to take the leave within 6 months of the relevant leave year.
Check with your union representative to see what arrangements are in place regarding carry over leave.
What happens if I am sick during my annual leave?
In this situation you need to get a medical certificate to confirm your illness for the days that you were sick and submit the cert to your employer as soon as you return to work. These sick days will not be counted as annual leave which you can take at a later date.
Also, if you are out on sick leave your annual leave will continue to accrue if you provide medical certificates for the illness. If you are on long-term sick leave and cannot take your annual leave, you can carry it over for up to 15 months after the end of the year that it was accrued on your return to work
Can I be paid instead of taking annual leave?
No, the employer cannot request that you be paid instead of taking annual leave nor can you request pay instead of taking your leave. The only exception is when you are giving your notice of resignation and wish to take any remaining leave as pay.