There are 10 public holidays in Ireland each year (increased from 9 in 2022).
Public holidays may commemorate a special day or other event, for example, Saint Patrick's Day (17 March) or Christmas Day (25 December).
Since 2023, there has been a new annual public holiday in early February to mark St Brigid’s Day. The public holiday is the first Monday in February, except where St Brigid’s Day (1 February) happens to fall on a Friday, in which case Friday 1 February will be a public holiday.
On a public holiday, sometimes called a bank holiday, most businesses and schools close. Other services (for example, public transport) still operate but often have restricted schedules.
Dates of public holidays
Public holidays are:
- New Year's Day (1 January)
- First Monday in February, or 1 February if the date falls on a Friday
- Saint Patrick's Day (17 March)
- Easter Monday
- First Monday in May
- First Monday in June
- First Monday in August
- Last Monday in October
- Christmas Day (25 December)
- Saint Stephen's Day (26 December)
Public Holiday dates in Ireland
Good Friday is not a public holiday. While some schools and businesses close on that day, you have no automatic entitlement to time off work on that day.
How is the date of Easter Monday set each year?
Easter Monday is the only public holiday that can vary significantly from year to year. The date of Easter moves every year.
Easter should be the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after 21 March. This means the earliest possible date for Easter Sunday in any year is 22 March, and the latest is 25 April.
Easter Monday falls on 1 April 2024 and 21 April 2025.
Public holidays and your entitlements
Most employees are entitled to paid leave on public holidays. Full-time workers have immediate entitlement to benefit for public holidays and part-time workers have entitlement to benefit when they have worked a total of 40 hours in the previous 5 weeks. Read about ‘Part-time employees’ below.
If you qualify for public holiday benefit, you are entitled to one of the following:
- A paid day off on the public holiday
- An additional day of annual leave
- An additional day's pay
- A paid day off within a month of the public holiday
You can ask your employer at least 21 days before a public holiday, which of the alternatives will apply. If your employer does not respond at least 14 days before the public holiday, you are entitled to take the actual public holiday as a paid day off.
Your public holiday entitlements are set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. You can also read about the appropriate rate of daily pay in the Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay For Holidays) Regulations (SI 475/1997).
If you work for your employer for at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday and it falls on a day you normally work, you get paid for the day even if you don’t work. If you have to work that day, you are entitled to an extra day's pay.
If you don’t normally work on a certain day but it’s a public holiday, you should get paid one-fifth of your weekly pay. Even if you never work on public holidays, you still get paid a fifth of your weekly pay as compensation for the public holiday. Again, you must have worked for your employer for at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday.
You can count time spent on annual leave as ‘time worked’ when calculating the 40 hours worked in the 5 weeks before the public holiday.
When public holidays fall on a weekend
If the public holiday falls on a day which is not a normal working day for that business (for example, on Saturday or Sunday), you are still entitled to benefit for that public holiday. However, you do not have any automatic legal entitlement to have the next working day off work.
Read more about public holidays and your employment rights on the Workplace Relations Commission website.
If you are on ‘sick leave’ on a public holiday
You are a full-time worker
If you are on sick leave during a public holiday, you are entitled to benefit for the public holiday you missed. Your employer can also choose to regard you as not on sick leave on the public holiday and pay you as normal for the public holiday. If this is the case, the public holiday is not counted as a sick leave day.
You are a part-time worker
If you are on sick leave during a public holiday, you are entitled to benefit for the public holiday once you worked for your employer for at least 40 hours in the previous five-week period - see 'Part-time employees' above.
You are not entitled to pay or time off for the public holiday if you are on sick leave immediately before the public holiday, and either of the following apply:
- You have been off work for more than 26 weeks due to an ordinary illness or an accident
- You have been off work for more than 52 weeks due to an occupational accident
If you are on maternity, adoptive, paternity, parent’s, parental leave or domestic violence leave
However, you are not entitled to public holiday benefits if you were absent from work immediately before the public holiday and your absence is:
- Over 13 weeks, due to lay off or some other reason and authorised by your employer
- Due to a strike
- After the first 13 weeks of carer's leave
These rights are set down in the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004, the Parental Leave Acts 1998 - 2023, the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, the Adoptive Leave Acts 1995 and 2005, and the Parent's Leave and Benefit Act 2019 respectively.
If you are on lay-off, short-time work, or lose your job
During lay off or short-time working, you still are employed by your employer and your contract of employment remains in force. This means that you are entitled to benefit for any public holidays that occur during the first 13 weeks of lay off.
Part-time employees must have worked at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday.
If you lose your job
If your employment finishes during the week, ending on the day before a public holiday, and you have worked for your employer for the previous 4 weeks, you should get an additional day's pay for the public holiday. This also applies to part-time employees who have worked at least 40 hours in the previous 5 weeks.
In the case of Gazboro Ltd. -v- BATU (DWT9916), the claimants finished their employment on 18 December 1998. They claimed an entitlement to be paid for the public holiday’s on 25 and 26 December.
As the Court interpreted the wording of Section 23(2)(a) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, the week ending at midnight on 24 December began at midnight on 18 December. Since the claimants worked for the employer during the 4 weeks before that week, they were entitled to an additional day's pay for 25 December.
The week ending on 25 December began at midnight on 19 December. Since the claimants ceased to be employed on 18 December, they had no entitlement to be paid for 26 December.
I am not getting my public holiday entitlements
If you are not getting your public holiday entitlement, you should discuss this with your employer.
You can also complain to the WRC under the Organisation of Working Time Act. You must make your complaint using the WRC’s online complaint form within 6 months of the dispute or complaint occurring.
This time limit may be extended for a further 6 months if there was reasonable cause for the delay.
Read more about how to make a complaint, including details of the WRC adjudication process.
You can find out more about public holidays on the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) website.
You can also contact the WRC’s Information and Customer Service: