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Statutory Annual Leave/Public Holiday Entitlements

Paragraph 8 of Circular 0009/2013 sets out the arrangements in relation to statutory annual leave/public holiday entitlements. This paragraph can be summarised as follows:

  • The leave year for teachers means the period 1 September to 31 August.
  • The statutory entitlement in respect of full time employees is 20 days annual leave.
  • Full-time employees are also entitled to nine public holidays per year.
  • A teacher's entitlement to 20 days annual leave is not affected by her absence on maternity leave.
  • Equally, she is entitled to public holidays that fall during the period of her maternity leave Circular 09/2013 states that public holidays occurring while on maternity leave will be dealt with by increasing the statutory 20 days annual leave by the number of public holiday closures that occur during the maternity absence  (i.e. if three public holidays fell during a teacher's maternity leave, her entitlement to annual leave in respect of that leave year would be 23 days).
  • However, the Circular provides that, if in a leave year, a teacher on maternity leave has reached the statutory minimum of 20 days annual leave, and any public holiday entitlements due, either before and/or after her maternity leave, then she has achieved her statutory entitlements and there is no leave in lieu accruing.
  • In circumstances where, in a leave year, a teacher's pattern of maternity leave does not provide her with 20 days annual leave, and compensation for any public holidays occurring while on maternity leave, she may take any such days immediately before the commencement of her maternity leave.
  • Finally, the Circular states that if a teacher wishes to carry any such days forward to the following leave year, then these days will have to be taken when the school is closed!

In practical terms, the Department has cut leave in lieu to the absolute minimum in line with the requirements of the Organisation of Working Time Act.

The small number of days in lieu (if any) that might accrue to a teacher under these revised arrangements will have to be taken immediately prior to the commencement of maternity leave, otherwise they are effectively lost if carried forward to the next leave year.

A similar arrangement will apply in respect of adoptive leave.