Patrick's Day Public Holiday Entitlements

March 15, 2022

Employees’, regardless of their working status are entitled to a benefit for the Patrick’s Day public holiday on Thursday 17 March. There is an additional public holiday this year on 18 March which marks a national commemoration and remembrance of people who lost their lives due to COVID-19. From next year, this additional public holiday will be known as St. Bridget’s Day. This will be the first Monday in every February, except where St. Brigid’s day, the first day of February, happens to fall on a Friday, in which case that Friday, 1 February will be a Bank Holiday.

A full-time employee is entitled to the public holiday benefit from day one of their employment. While a part-time employee must have worked 40 hours in the 5 weeks preceding the public holiday in order to be entitled to a public holiday benefit. If they have not worked this requisite number of hours, then no entitlement arises. 

Public holiday entitlement  
An employee is entitled, in respect of a public holiday, to whichever of the following the employer decides:  

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

Employees on maternity leave, adoptive leave and parental leave maintain their public holiday benefit for the duration of their absence. Employees on carer’s leave accrue the benefit for the first 13 weeks of their absence. If an employee is on temporary lay-off, they are entitled to benefit for the public holidays that fall within the first 13 weeks of the lay-off period. 
Q. If an employee works full-time Monday – Friday, what is their public holiday entitlement for St Patricks Day Thursday 17 March and Friday 18 March? 
If a full-time employee is normally required to work the day in which the public holiday falls, then they 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  

However, a part-time employee will only qualify for the public holiday benefit if they have worked 40 hours in the 5 weeks preceding the public holiday. If this is the case and the employee would normally work on the day the public holiday falls, they are entitled to a day’s pay for the public holiday.  
Q. I have an employee who only works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – do they have any entitlement to the public holiday for the 17 or 18 March? 
If the employee has worked in excess of 40 hours over the 5 weeks prior to the public holiday, they are entitled to one fifth of their weekly pay on the week in which the public holiday falls. 

Employee works 4 hours per day (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday): 4 hours x 3 days = 12hours per week.  
12 hours per week x 5-week period = 60 hours in total have been worked over the 5 week period prior to the public holiday (they have worked >40 hours), therefore they are entitled to one fifth of their weekly pay.

Q. What happens if a part-time employee works varying hours per week and Thursday or Friday are not ‘normal’ working days – how do I calculate one-fifth of their weekly pay? 
In this situation, the employer will need to determine the average weekly pay calculated over the 13-week period prior to the public holiday. This figure should then be divided by five to get one fifth and this is the pay the employee is entitled to.  
Should you require any further advice you can access the leave section on the Small Firms Associations website or you can contact Emma by email on