Confusion around Good Friday, is it a public holiday or not?

There is a belief that Good Friday is a statutory public holiday. The source of this confusion is often that people assume that because the banks are closed on Good Friday that means it is a public holiday. However, this is not the case and that is why it is important to distinguish between public holidays and “bank holidays” and clarify that Good Friday is not a statutory public holiday entitlement.

What is the difference between a public holiday and a bank holiday?

A public holiday is a statutory entitlement, as set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 and should not be confused with "bank holidays" such as Good Friday or Christmas Eve, which are not covered by the Act and to which there is no legal entitlement.

Are employees entitled to a paid day off on Good Friday?

No, as Good Friday is not a public holiday employees are not entitled to this. However, some employers in their contracts or through custom and practice have historically given employees a paid day off on Good Friday. In this situation, this forms part of those employees’ terms and conditions of employment and any changes to this need to be agreed in advance.

What are the official public holidays?

There are nine official public holidays:

  1. 1 January
  2. St. Patrick's Day - 17 March
  3. Easter Monday
  4. First Monday in May
  5. First Monday in June
  6. First Monday in August
  7. Last Monday in October
  8. Christmas Day - 25 December
  9. St. Stephen's Day - 26 December


When is an employee entitled to a public holiday?

All full-time employees are automatically entitled to avail of the public holiday. Part time employees must have worked 40 hours in the previous five weeks before they can qualify for public holiday entitlement.


Employees are entitled to one of the following:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • A paid day off within a month
  • An extra day’s annual leave
  • An extra day’s pay


Where the employer fails to inform the employee which of the above options will apply within 14 days of the public holiday, the employee will be automatically entitled to a paid day off on the public holiday.

How to calculate an employee’s public holiday entitlement?

If the public holiday falls on a day the employee works or is normally rostered to work then:

  • The employee is entitled to be paid the equivalent of the hours they worked on the last working day before the holiday


If the public holiday falls on a day that the employee does not work and it is a day they do not normally work then:

  • The employee is entitled to the equivalent of one-fifth of their last working week

For further information on public holiday entitlements, you can check out our guideline. If you have any further questions on public holidays, please contact Helen Quinn on or 016051668.



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In this issue
SFA E-zine – The Tuesday Edition
SFA in the media
GDPR in action from Cork
Confusion around Good Friday, is it a public holiday or not?
Two new economic reports with positive outlook for Irish economy
Get to know your Local Enterprise Office
Foundations in Management
Finance and Accounting Made Easy
SFA Annual Conference
Foundations in Management and other upcoming training courses