Ireland is home to a number of major tech companies, including Microsoft, Apple, and Meta. Known as a friendly country with high levels of education, Ireland is a booming talent hotspot for companies looking to recruit top talent. With significant growth in sectors such as IT, energy, environmental engineering, and medical devices, the country is quickly becoming one of the most important economies in the European Union.
Employee leave in Ireland is governed by a comprehensive framework of labor laws and employment regulations set forth by the government of Ireland. Irish workers enjoy a range of leave entitlements designed to support their well-being and work-life balance.
From paid annual leave to parental and maternity leave, these provisions ensure that employees have opportunities to take time off for various personal and family-related reasons.
In this guide, we will explore the key types of leave available to employees in Ireland, shedding light on their rights to vacation, sick leave, and more.
There are 9 public holidays in Ireland. However, not all bank holidays are public holidays. Good Friday is one example. Most businesses recognize these public holidays with either a paid day off or reduced working hours.
For bank holidays, typically employers offer:
1 paid day off on the day of the public holiday
1 paid day off within a month of the public holiday
1 additional day of annual leave
1 extra day of pay
New Years Day
January 1, 2023
St. Brigid’s Day
February 6, 2023
Saint Patrick's Day
March 3, 2023
April 7, 2023
April 10, 2023
May 1, 2023
June 5, 2023
August 7, 2023
October 30, 2023
December 25, 2023
St. Stephen’s Day
December 26, 2023
If a public holiday falls on a weekend, a different weekday usually becomes a public holiday in its place–usually the following Monday. However, employers can choose from how they handle holidays as there is no statutory requirement. Employees are still entitled to pay for ⅕ of their weekly rate even if they work on the public holiday. Workers are also entitled to their benefit pay.
When employment is terminated on a week preceding a public holiday, and the employee has worked for the employer for at least 4 weeks prior, they are still entitled to pay for that holiday.
In general holiday leave in Ireland is around 20 days or 4 weeks. Employees who work 5 days a week and have clocked in at least 1,365 hours are entitled to 20 days and 4 weeks.
Other ways vacation leave is calculated is ⅓ of a working week for each month the employee has worked at least 117 hours or 8% of the employee’s total hours capped at 4 weeks. Employees can calculate their leave entitlement using the method that gives them the most generous amount.
Employers calculating employee leave should use all hours the employee has worked as well as any other leave they’ve taken for sick days, maternity or paternity leave.
Vacation leave payments should be made to the employee in advance at their standard hourly rate. If their pay varies, then it should be the average of the employee’s salary 13 weeks preceding their vacation.
In general, it’s illegal to pay employees instead of giving them their statutory time off, unless their making the payment as part of their severance package.
Employers who want to give their employees more time off than what’s statutorily required may do so, as long as this information is stipulated in the employment contract. Employers can also allow employees to carry over unused days into the next year, though it’s not required by Irish law.
In Ireland, employees are entitled to various types of leave, which are regulated by labor laws and employment contracts.
Starting January 1st, 2023, new laws for sick leave in Ireland began. These changes are being brought in on a phased basis starting with:
3 sick days per year in 2023
5 days in 2024
7 days in 2025
10 days in 2026
Employees with 13 weeks of continuous service will be eligible and must provide a medical certificate for the days of absence.
Rate for sick pay is 70% of normal wages or up to $110 EUR per day.
Employees that are on sick leave during public holidays are still entitled to their benefits for the public holiday or the employer can choose to simply pay them as if they weren’t on sick leave for that public holiday.
Employees on long-term sick leave still accumulate annual leave. If an employee fall ill during their annual leave, they can request that the days they are sick be taken out of their annual leave as long as they provide proof of the illness.
Upon termination of employment, employers usually have to pay for employees' untaken sick days.
Workers can also apply for Illness Benefits if they have social security insurance contributions for any sick days that aren’t covered by employers. If they don't have enough social insurance contributions, they should contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's representative at the local health center to have their situation assessed.
Here’s a breakdown of how maternity leave works in Ireland:
Duration: In Ireland, maternity leave typically lasts for 26 weeks. It begins at any time from the start of the 14th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) and must be taken within 16 weeks following the EWC. This means that a woman can start her maternity leave as early as 30 weeks into her pregnancy, and continue taking time off for up to 26 weeks after the birth.
Maternity Pay: During the 26 weeks of maternity leave, many employees are entitled to maternity pay. They have to have contributed to Ireland's social security system as employers are not required to pay. This pay is typically a portion of the employee's average weekly earnings, subject to a statutory maximum of $226 EUR. Employees are allowed to attend medical visits and prenatal visits during their working hours leading up to childbirth.
Additional Unpaid Leave: After the 26 weeks of maternity leave, mothers have the option to take an additional 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This extends the total maternity leave period to 42 weeks.
Notification: Expectant mothers are required to provide their employer with at least four weeks' written notice of their intention to take maternity leave. This notice should include the expected week of childbirth.
Protection: During maternity leave, employees are protected from discrimination or unfavorable treatment because of their pregnancy. They are also entitled to return to the same job or an equivalent position with the same terms and conditions of employment.
Additional parents to a newborn child or adopted child are entitled to 5 weeks of paternity leave within the first 6 months of birth or adoption in Ireland.
Employees may qualify for Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection if they have sufficient PRSI contributions. The paternity allowance is $262 EUR per week. Many employers also provide some level of compensation during that time.
Similar to maternity leave, paternity leave does not depend on how long the person has been with the company or how many hours they work.
If the baby is hospitalized, the employee can ask the employer in writing if they can postpone all or parts of their paternity leave.
Fathers are entitled to maternity or adoptive leave if the mother dies. If the father/second mother has not already taken paternity leave, he/she may take it at the end of the maternity or adoptive leave. If the parent entitled to paternity leave dies, their paternity leave may be transferred to the employed surviving parent.
Adopting parents are entitled to 24 weeks of adoptive leave, which begins on the day the child is placed with them. The new parents get to decide who between them takes the adoptive leave. They have the option to apply for an additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave. Adoptive parents may be entitled to an Adoptive Benefit based on the PRSI contributions.
Employees must give their employers at least 4 weeks advance notice of their intention to adopt and take this leave. They are also entitled to paid time off to take preparation classes and pre-adoptive meetings.
Parent's Leave in Ireland is a relatively new entitlement that allows parents to take a period of unpaid leave to spend more time with their young children.
Here are some key details about Parent's Leave in Ireland:
Duration: Parent's Leave provides for 7 weeks of paid parent’s leave taken within the first two years and applies to any child born or adopted after November of 2019.
Notification: Parents are required to provide their employer with at least six weeks' notice before the intended start date of Parent's Leave.
Payment: Parent’s leave is another credit that employees can receive with enough social security contributions. The maximum amount is $245 EUR per week, paid by the Irish government.
Employers may not refuse this request–but can postpone the leave request for up to 12 weeks due to seasonal need, inability to find a replacement, nature of the employee’s duties (managers or high-level executives), or the number of other employees on leave.
Parental leave in Ireland provides eligible parents with the opportunity to take unpaid leave from work to spend more time with their children.
Here are some key details about parental leave in Ireland:
Duration: Parents are entitled to a total of 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave per eligible child. This leave can be taken at any time up until the child reaches the age of 12. Parents can take this leave in a single block of 26 weeks or in shorter blocks, subject to agreement with their employer.
Eligibility: To be eligible for parental leave, you must be the parent or adoptive parent of a child and have been working for your current employer for at least one year. Additionally, the child must be under 12 years old (or 16 years old for a child with a disability).
Notification: Parents are required to give their employer at least six weeks' notice before the intended start date of parental leave. Employers may request certain details in writing, such as the dates when leave will be taken.
Payment: Parental leave is unpaid, meaning there is no statutory payment associated with this leave. It is designed to allow parents to balance their work and family responsibilities without risking the loss of their job.
Use of Leave: Parental leave can be used for a variety of purposes, including spending time with the child, providing care, or simply being available for the child's needs. It's intended to offer flexibility to parents.
Relationship with Other Leave: Parental leave is separate from other types of leave, such as maternity or paternity leave, and does not affect entitlement to those forms of leave. It is meant to be taken in addition to any other leave to which the parent may be entitled.
Carer's Leave in Ireland is a valuable benefit that enables eligible employees to take unpaid leave from their job to care for a family member or loved one with a severe illness or disability. This leave is designed to provide support and flexibility to those who need to provide full-time care and assistance to dependents. Carer's Leave can last for a minimum of 12 weeks and a maximum of 104 weeks, and offers an opportunity for caregivers to balance their work and caregiving responsibilities while retaining job protection.
Employers and employees must sign a written agreement with the stipulations of the carer’s leave. The employee must give their employer at least 4 weeks of advance notice if they plan to return to the office when the family member’s heave improving.
Employees are entitled to a limited paid force majeure leave for family emergencies due to illness or injury. The leave is capped at 3 days for 12 months or 5 days for 36 months.
Force majeure leave is not granted in case of the death of a close family member.
Employees must notify employers as soon as possible in these cases of force majeure. Once they return to work, they must fill out a written application that includes: PPS number, their name, address of the employer, the date or dates they had to take the leave, relationship to the family member, and why the leave was necessary. Employers are required to keep all records of force majeure leave.
Employees who are unable to work for at least 3 days due to an accident at work, while traveling to and from work, during a business trip, or from occupational disease are entitled to an injury benefit. Employers are required to report any accident or injury that requires employees to miss more than 3 days of work to the Health and Safety Authority.
Payments are made from the 7th day of incapacity to work to 26 weeks from the date of the accident. After that period, employees should apply for an illness or disability allowance. Employees who had an accident at work but are not entitled to sick pay can apply for Injury Benefit. The weekly payment is $208 EUR.
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