Working Time Changes in Northern Ireland: What Employers Need to Know

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Post-Brexit, the UK government acted in November 2023 to incorporate existing EU holiday pay laws into new Great Britain regulations. This move was crucial to prevent these laws from vanishing on 1 January 2024, when EU law supremacy ended. In Northern Ireland, there was uncertainty about the applicability of EU case law post-Brexit. 

However, this issue was resolved by introducing the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2023, which took effect on 1 January 2024, incorporating EU case law on holiday pay calculation and carry-over into Northern Ireland’s working time regulations.

Key Changes to Understand

  • Holiday Pay Inclusions: The new regulations ensure that holiday pay calculations now include variable components such as overtime and commission, providing a more comprehensive approach to employee compensation during holidays.
  • The 12-Week Reference Period: The reference period for calculating holiday pay remains 12 weeks, offering continuity and clarity in payroll processing.
  • Carry Forward of Unused Holidays: Workers are now allowed to carry forward unused holiday entitlement in certain circumstances, necessitating adjustments in how employers manage annual leave balances.
  • Provisions for Sick or Family Leave: The regulations address carrying forward holidays accrued but not taken due to sick or family leave, ensuring employees don’t lose their holiday entitlements in these situations.

What This Means for Employers

For employers in Northern Ireland, integrating EU case law into the Working Time (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2023 means adapting to new standards for holiday pay calculation and the carry-over of holidays. These changes require employers to review and potentially revise their current  HR policies to ensure compliance. 


Accurately incorporating overtime and commissions into holiday pay calculations and managing the carry-over of holidays, especially in sick or family leave cases, become key focus areas. Employers must align their practices with these updated regulations to avoid legal issues and ensure fair and compliant treatment of employees.

How HR Team Can Help

With our extensive expertise in outsourced HR services, HR Team is ideally positioned to assist businesses in Northern Ireland as they adapt to the new Working Time (Amendment) Regulations. Here’s how we can help:


  • Regulatory Compliance: HR Team can ensure your business’s policies and practices fully comply with the new regulations.
  • Policy Revision and Implementation: They can assist in revising and implementing updated HR policies that reflect these changes.
  • Training and Development: They provide tailored training to your HR team and management to manage these transitions effectively.
  • Ongoing Support and Consultation: With HR Team’s continuous support, your business can prepare for further legal changes and maintain compliance.
  • Flexible Month-on-Month Contracts: Unlike numerous HR firms, HR Team offers unparalleled flexibility with our month-to-month contracts. Opt for our pay-as-you-go packages and receive specialised HR advice, support, and training without the burden of long-term commitments.

Stay up to Date With Working Time Changes

These working time regulation changes in Northern Ireland represent an essential step towards enhanced employee rights. For employers, staying informed and proactive is critical to seamless adaptation.

Contact HR-Team for expert guidance on adapting to these new working time regulations. Let us help you navigate these changes efficiently, ensuring compliance and a happy workforce.


How do the new Working Time Regulations in Northern Ireland affect holiday pay calculations for my employees?

The new regulations require that holiday pay calculation now includes additional elements like overtime and commission. As an employer, you’ll need to update your policies to ensure these elements are factored into the holiday pay.


What changes do I need to make regarding the carry-over of holidays?

Under the new regulations, employees are entitled to carry over holidays, mainly if they can’t take them due to sickness or family leave. You’ll need to update your leave policies to accommodate this change and manage leave balances accordingly.

Are there specific compliance measures I should be aware of with these regulation changes?

Yes, aligning your HR practices and terms and conditions with the new regulations is crucial to avoid legal issues. This includes updating policies related to holiday pay calculation and the carry-over of holidays and ensuring your terms and conditions accurately reflects these changes.

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