Act 8 Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023

Jurisdiction: Republic of Ireland

Commencement: Currently in force

Amends: Organisation of Working Time Act 1997

Mini Summary

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out the statutory rights for employees in respect of rest, maximum working time and holidays.


Part II: Minimum Rest Periods and other matters relating to Working Time
An employee is entitled to a rest period of not less than 11 consecutive hours in each period of 24 hours during which they work for an employer.

An employer shall not require an employee to work for a period of more than 4 hours and 30 minutes without allowing them a break of at least 15 minutes.

An employer shall not require an employee to work for a period of more than 6 hours without allowing them a break of at least 30 minutes.

A break allowed to an employee at the end of the working day shall not meet the requirements in subsection (1) or (2), above, regarding breaks.

An employee is entitled to one period of 24 hour rest per week provided by a daily rest period (11 hours).

An employee who is required to work on a Sunday shall be compensated by their employer for being required to work by the following means:

  • by the payment to the employee of an allowance of such an amount as is reasonable having regard to the circumstances;
  • by otherwise increasing the employees rate of pay by such an amount as is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances;
  • by granting the employee such paid time off from work as is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances; or
  • by a combination of two or more of the means referred to above.

An employer shall not permit an employee to work, in each period of 7 days, more than an average of 48 hours calculated over a 4, 6, or 12 months period depending on the circumstances.

Night time means the period between midnight and 7a.m. on the following day. An employer shall not permit a night worker, in each period of 24 hours to work more than 8 hours. An absolute limit of 8 hours in a 24 hour period is placed on night workers engaged in work involving hazards or a heavy physical or mental strain.

If the employee’s starting and finishing times are not specified in the contract of employment nor any regulation order, registered employment agreement or collective agreement, the employer must notify the employee at least 24 hours before the first day or the day in each week that they propose to require the employee to work of their starting and finishing times.

This Part also makes requirements for zero hours working practices. If an employee is sent home if work is quiet or is requested to be available for work and is not on the day asked to work and suffers a loss by not working hours they were requested to be available to work, they must be compensated for 25% of the time which they required to be available or 15 hours (whichever is less).

Part III: Holidays
Holiday pay is earned against time worked. All employees earn holiday entitlements from the time work is commenced. Depending on time worked, employees’ holiday entitlements should be calculated by one of the following methods:

  • 4 working weeks in a leave year in which they work at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which they change employment);
  • one-third of a working week for each month in the leave year in which they work at least 117 hours; or
  • 8% of the hours they work in a leave year (but subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks).

If an employee is ill on a day that is classed as annual leave and provides a certificate of a registered medical practitioner of their illness to their employer, that day shall no longer be classed as annual leave.

The pay in respect of an employee’s annual leave shall:

  • be paid to the employee in advance of them taking leave;
  • be at the normal weekly rate or, as the case may be, at a rate which is proportionate to the normal weekly rate; and
  • in a case in which board or lodging or, as the case may be both constitute part of the employee’s remuneration, include compensation, calculated at the prescribed rate, for any such board or lodging as will not be received by the employee whilst on annual leave.

An employee shall, in respect of a public holiday (outlined in the Second Schedule) be entitled to whichever one of the following the employer determines:

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

If the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee normally works, the employee is entitled to a paid day off for the day.

Part IV: Miscellaneous
This Part provides additional information including enforcement, offences and appeals.

This Part also requires employees to keep records of holidays and public holidays for a period of 3 years.


Small changes are made to the 1997 Act to include provisions for leave related to medical care, domestic violence and approved flexible working arrangements.

This amendment has no direct relevance to occupational health and safety matters.


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