Written Answers. - Holidays (Employment) Act, 1973.

Toddy O'Sullivan

Question:

72 Mr. T. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Labour if he will amend the Holidays (Employees) Act, 1973 to provide a minimum legally enforceable entitlement of 20 days annual leave per year with pro rata entitlements for periods of employment of less than one year.

The Holiday (Employees) Act, 1973, provides that most employees are entitled to three weeks annual holidays for each leave year — that is, from 1 April to 31 March — withpro rata entitlements for periods of less than a year. The collective bargaining process has added to this for most employees and in addition there is an entitlement to eight public holidays.

The question of increasing the statutory minimum annual leave entitlement has been raised in the discussions with the social partners on the new programme for economic and social development. However, I cannot comment on the content or likely outcome of these discussions at this stage.

In general the priorities of the Government relating to employment are concentrated in implementing policies which will lead to the preservation of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs. Declaring extra holidays would directly increase employment costs and this would not be compatible with Government strategy.