Christmas public holidays

With Christmas fast approaching, it is important that companies start the planning process at an early stage. This article covers public holidays and the options that are available to employers.


Three statutory public holidays fall during the Christmas period: Christmas Day, 25 December; St. Stephen’s Day, 26 December; and New Year's Day, 1 January. Entitlement to benefit from these holidays is governed by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. All full time employees are entitled to public holiday benefits and all part-time employees who have worked at least 40 hours in the five weeks ending on the day before the public holiday are also entitled to a public holiday benefit.


In respect of each public holiday, an employee's entitlement is as follows:

  • a paid day off on the day of the public holiday; or
  • an additional day’s pay; or
  • a paid day off within a month of the public holiday; or
  • an additional day’s annual leave.

Employees who are normally required to work on a day on which the public holiday falls (Monday 25 December, Tuesday 26 December and Monday 1 January) are entitled to receive one of the four benefits mentioned above. Employees who are not normally required to work on the day in which a public holiday falls are entitled to receive one fifth of their normal weekly rate in respect of that public holiday given in the form of payment or paid time off in lieu.


For more advice on planning for the Christmas period, you should tune into the SFA Webinar on 16 November which focuses on public holidays, inclement weather conditions and how to avoid the common pitfalls of the Christmas party season. You can register for the webinar here.


If you have any further questions on public holidays, you can review our guideline or contact Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive on 01 605 1668 or

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