Thursday, 11 March 2004

Questions (11)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

11 Ms Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the proposals she has to increase the statutory entitlement to paid holidays or to increase the number of public holidays having regard to the findings of a number of recent surveys showing that Irish workers had the lowest level of holidays and worked longer hours than workers in other EU countries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8063/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise)

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, which implemented EU Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time, provides for an annual leave entitlement of four working weeks per annum for full-time employees andpro rata entitlements for part-time employees, as well as an average hourly working week of 48 hours averaged generally over a four month period. The Act also provides for an entitlement to nine public holidays per annum. Notwithstanding these provisions, it is possible for employers and employees to negotiate a longer annual leave entitlement or a lower hourly working week between themselves if they so wish. I have no plans at the moment to increase the statutory minimum annual leave or public holiday entitlement nor to lower the threshold on weekly working hours provided for in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.