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How to strategically double your days off with your annual leave allowance in 2021


by Erin Lindsay
10th Sep 2020

No harm in planning early


Since our big plans for holidays and trips abroad had to be parked this year, we’re all dreaming of how to use our annual leave in 2021 effectively. If you’re already planning a foreign holiday, or just planning some much-needed time to yourself, it’s never too early to map out your calendar and be the first past the post in booking with HR.

Every year, there’s a hack to making the most of your annual leave days by structuring them around public holidays, and 2021 is no different. You can effectively double your days off next year just by being strategic about when you take them.

All full-time workers in Ireland are entitled to a minimum of 20 paid holiday days a year. Your employer may offer you more, which is great, but even if you’re on the minimum amount, you can still carve some sweet time off for yourself next year.

First off, you want to look at the public holidays for next year. There are nine in total, including:

  • January 1, New Year’s Day (a Friday)
  • March 17, St. Patrick’s Day (a Wednesday)
  • April 5, Easter Monday
  • May 3, May Bank Holiday
  • June 7, June Bank Holiday
  • August 2, August Bank Holiday
  • October 25, October Bank Holiday
  • December 25 and 26, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day (Saturday and Sunday)

Beginning in January, New Year’s Day falls on a Friday, which means you get a long weekend before heading back to work.

In March, as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Wednesday, if you take the Monday and Tuesday off, you will get five days off in a row, the equivalent to a working week, while just using 2 annual leave days.

Easter is when this holiday hack really pays off. While not an official public holiday, most businesses close for Good Friday, which means you will have April 2-5 off completely. If you want to take a big holiday break, book off Monday March 29 through to Thursday, April 1, and then another block from Tuesday April 6 through to Friday April 9. This gives you 16 days off work, while only using 8 of your annual leave days.

For the rest of the Bank Holidays throughout the summer, take the preceding Friday off and enjoy four days off using just one annual leave day.

When we come to Christmas, we’re getting a different deal next year. Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day fall on a weekend, so the official bank holidays for the season are on the 27 and 28 of December. It’s ultimately up to your employer whether they’ll bring you in on these days, but if you do get them off, book some extra days from the 29 to 31, giving you 10 days off in a row, using just three AL days.


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