Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
948. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if employers are required to pay bank holiday pay and holiday pay to employees who were laid off due to the Covid-19 pandemic and received the pandemic unemployment payment when they return to work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10787/20]
960. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the entitlement of employees to holiday pay continues to accrue during the period businesses are closed due to Covid-19. [10483/20]
967. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which annual leave entitlements will be calculated for those on the pandemic unemployment payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10521/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 948, 960 and 967 together.
The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out the key parameters around the taking of annual leave and payment of same. The terms and conditions of individual employment contracts may provide additional specifics within those parameters such as stipulations in relation to the entitlement to extra days' leave above what is statutorily required by the Act.
Section 19 of the Act provides that an employee shall be entitled to paid annual leave equal to:
(a) 4 working weeks in a leave year in which he or she works at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which he or she changes employment),
(b) One third of a working week for each month in the leave year in which he or she works at least 177 hours, or
(c) 8 per cent of the hours he or she works in a leave year (but subject to a maximum of 4 weeks).
In calculating how many days leave to which an employee may be entitled, employers should include all hours worked, and take account of time spent on annual leave, time spent on maternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave or adoptive leave, sick leave and time spent on the first 13 weeks of carer's leave.
If an employee has lost all of their employment due to the current crisis and are in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment, they are not in a position to accrue annual leave. If an employee is in receipt of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (which is administered by the Revenue Commissioners), they accrue annual leave only in respect of the hours which they actually work. Employees do not accrue annual leave while on temporary lay-off.
The determination of whether a person is entitled to payment from their employer in respect of a public holiday is also governed by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. Under the Act, for each of the nine public holidays in a year, an employee is entitled to either a paid day off on the holiday, a paid day off within a month of the holiday, an extra day’s annual leave, or an extra day’s pay. If a person is on temporary lay-off they are entitled to benefit for the public holidays that fall within the first thirteen weeks of lay-off.
An employee may present a complaint to the WRC if it appears that the employer has failed to provide the correct holiday entitlements to which the employee is entitled under the Act.
I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputies.