Covid-19 – Q&As re annual leave and public holidays during Lay Off

Covid-19 – Q&As re annual leave and public holidays during Lay Off

This note is part of a series that the lawyers of Reddy Charlton will issue on the major legal, personal and business issues that will confront us all during the Covid-19 crisis.

Do employees accrue annual leave while on lay off?

Annual leave is calculated by reference to time an employee works (with the exception of medically certified sick leave).

An employee is not working during lay off and therefore does not continue to accrue annual leave during the period of lay off.

However, if an employee has already accrued annual leave prior to the lay off, that employee is entitled to be paid for that annual leave, on resumption of employment or if the employment relationship comes to an end.

Depending on the length of lay off, employees may reach the threshold of 1,365 hours work in a leave year. In those circumstances, the employee is entitled to 4 working weeks in the leave year, provided the threshold of hours worked is reached, irrespective of whether that employee has been on lay off or not.

Employers also need to be mindful of contractual provisions. While most contracts will either provide that annual leave is (i) pro rated by reference to time worked or (ii) calculated in accordance with the Organisation of Working Time Act, some contracts will simply provide that an employee is entitled to 20 days’ annual leave. In those circumstances, an employee may claim a contractual entitlement to their full annual leave, irrespective of the fact that they have been on a period of lay off.

Do employees accrue public holidays while on lay off?

For the first 13 weeks of lay off, employees are entitled to be paid for public holidays.

Under the Organisation of Working Time Act, an employer is entitled to elect which of the four entitlements the employee will receive. The four entitlements are:-

1. A paid day off on that day;
2. A paid day off within a month of that day;
3. An additional day of annual leave;
4. An additional day’s pay.

After 13 weeks of lay off, employees are not entitled to be paid for any subsequent public holidays.

How can Reddy Charlton help?

During this Covid-19 crisis, Reddy Charlton Solicitors are eager to support, encourage and guide your business. If you have any queries or seek further information on this topic please contact Laura Graham at

Laura Graham
Author: Laura Graham