Friday, December 24, 2010

What Public holidays are due?

Christmas Day (25 December), St Stephen’s Day (26 December) and New Year’s Day (1 January) are public holidays. In 2010 Christmas Day falls on a Saturday and St Stephen’s Day falls on a Sunday. In 2011 New Year’s Day (1 January) falls on a Saturday.

There is no specific provision in law governing what happens when a public holiday falls on a weekend. This means that you do not have an automatic legal entitlement to take the next working day off work. You are entitled to the normal alternative arrangements for public holidays. These are:

A paid day off within a month of the public holiday
An additional day of annual leave
An additional day’s pay
The nearest church holiday to the public holiday as a paid day off.

Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 you may ask your employer, at least 21 days before a public holiday, which of the alternatives will apply to you. Your employer should respond to you at least 14 days before the public holiday. In practice most employers will give employees Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December and Monday 3 January off in lieu of the public holidays – but it is important to remember that this is not an automatic entitlement.