I have recently returned to full time work after maternity and additional unpaid maternity leave. Am I entitled to take time off in lieu for the bank holidays that fell during my maternity leave? I work as a garda.
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1. The short answer is No, you cannot get time off in lieu of Bank holidays which occurred whilst you were on maternity leave. Essentially, in order to get the benefit of a bank holiday, you have to be working at the date of the bank holiday. There is no such thing in Irish law whereby maternity leave entitles you to additional time off for statutory days holidays because you weren't working, when the day came around, but were on maternity leave.
What about sec 21 of The Working time Act 1997?
2. I regret to say that even if section 21 allowed a day off in all cases, the effect of section 21(5) taken in conjunction with part 3 of the Third Schedule is to exempt situations, such as maternity leaves, where the employee has taken 13 weeks off at the consent of the employer. Accordingly, any absence, such as maternity leave longer than 13 weeks would automatically be excluded under even section 21.
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