Overtime: Are you playing catch-up?

The festive season has well and truly passed but the busy season rumbles on. During the last few months, you may have experienced greater workloads and asked your employees to work overtime.

If this sounds like your business, you need to make sure your staff receive certain entitlements under employment law.

Don’t let overtime breach working time limits

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 (OWTA) is actually a health and safety law that ensures employees receive adequate rest. So if you ask employees to work overtime, you also need to ensure you don’t break the limits set out in OWTA.

Under OWTA, employees must not work more than an average of 48 hours per week in any four-month period. So while employees may work more than 48 hours in one week, they must not work more than 48 hours a week on average over four months.

Overtime is factored into this, so ensure your employees don’t breach their max average weekly working hours. The four-month rule doesn’t apply to every business. For instance, an average of hours worked over six months applies to:

  • Agriculture and tourism
  • Hospitals, securities and prisons
  • Airports or docks
  • Gas and electricity

An average of hours worked over 12 months applies if the employer and employees have agreed to it.

Do I pay time and a half for overtime?

No. There is in fact no law requiring you to pay employees at all for overtime. That means it’s up to you as to whether your employees are paid or not.

Having said that, most employers will pay an additional sum, (time and a half or double time for example) to employees who agree to work overtime.  Failing to provide an incentive to work overtime is likely to cause employee resentment.

There could be a right to be paid for overtime affecting your business contained in:

  • The contract of employment
  • Industry agreements (SEO’s for example)
  • Collective bargaining agreements negotiated with trade unions

What if employees work public/bank holidays?

If you ask employees to work on a public holiday, they are entitled to:

  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

Does overtime impact on annul leave?

Yes, all hours worked including overtime are used to calculate paid annual leave.

Under OWTA, employees have their holiday entitlement calculated in one of the following ways:

  • Employees working at least 1,365 hours in a leave year will be entitled to four working weeks’ annual leave entitlement.
  • Employees working at least 117 hours per month will have an entitlement to 1/3rd of their working week as annual leave entitlement.

The second formula generally applies to part-time employees but may also apply to employees that leave or join your business during the annual leave year. For mid-year joiners or leavers, they will be entitled to 8% of the hours worked as their annual leave entitlement.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on overtime from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call. Call us on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.



Book a call with a consultant

Complete the form below and a consultant will call you as soon as possible.

Book a call with a consultant

Complete the form below and a consultant will call you as soon as possible.

Latest Resources

Seasonal workers: what employers should know

Seasonal workers
As the days get longer and the skies get sunnier (well, sometimes), summer is on people’s minds. This means that business owners, meanwhile, are starting […]

St Patrick’s Day: Have you prepared for absenteeism?

Published: March 20th 2024 Following national celebrations and public holidays like St Patrick’s day, you could find yourself down several staff members. And – as […]

What Employees Are Entitled to a Public Holiday Benefit & How Are Benefits Calculated?

public holiday
Published: March 20th 2024 From Easter Monday to St Patrick’s Day, Ireland gets ten public holidays and, with them, public holiday benefits. But what if […]

Olga Shevchenko

Director/Advocate, Immigration Advice Bureau

Olga Shevchenko specialises in immigration advocacy and consultancy, in particular, employment permit, visas, family reunification, citizenship, etc, for those seeking to visit, reside or invest in Ireland.

Olga provides extensive information, knowledge, and support to her clients, enabling access to positive solutions for people struggling to handle the immigration law.

Minister Neale Richmond

Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Neale Richmond TD was appointed as Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with special responsibility for Employment Affairs and Retail Business and the Department of Social Protection in January 2023.

Much of his work at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is with businesses, workers, their representative bodies and the State Agencies to ensure that the economic recovery and growth extends to all parts of the country. He works closely with the SME sector, including retail, on building resilience and on the transition to the green and digital economies.

Mark Carpenter

Director of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs, Sky

Mark Carpenter is Director of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs at Sky Ireland. In this role he has responsibility for External and Internal Communications, Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs and the company’s ‘Bigger Picture’ (CSR) programme. He also works closely with Sky Group teams on a variety of matters, in particular our partnerships with domestic broadcasters.

Prior to working at Sky, Mark worked as a Policy Officer in Houses of the Oireachtas and as a Management Consultant at Accenture. He has a BA in History from Oxford University and a PhD in Political Science from Trinity College Dublin.

Nora Cashe

Litigation and Compliance Manager, Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Managing Director, Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

Senior HR Consultant, Graphite HRM

Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Chairman, Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.