Unsocial hours payments are payments that are additional to basic pay. If you work unsocial hours you may qualify for an allowance or payment.
Unsocial hours are hours worked outside of the standard working hours.
If you work unsocial hours you may qualify for an allowance or payment.
The types of attendance arrangements where additional payments may apply include:
- on call or standby
- planned essential services
- Saturday work
- Sunday work
- public holiday
- night duty
- twilight payment
Check with your line manager to see if any of these allowances or payments apply to you.
You can also check in the HSE Guidelines on Terms and Conditions of Employment (PDF, 808KB, 86 pages)
Your line manager must approve any overtime before you work it.
Your eligibility for overtime payments and the rates that apply depend on your job, grade and staff category. Your manager may decide to grant you time off in lieu (TOIL) instead of payment.
If you work part-time you may also be entitled to overtime rates. To get overtime rates, you must work more hours than the standard weekly working hours for a full-time employee in that grade. Otherwise, you will be paid at flat rate for extra hours worked or you may be given time off in lieu.
On-call/standby is when you are required to be available for a certain time period for emergency work that may arise.
You may usually be paid a fixed payment if you are on on-call/standby. You may be paid a specific rate for any call-out that arises while rostered for on-call/standby duty.
Check with your line manager.
If you work in a residential setting that provides care on a 24-hour, 7-day-per-week basis, your job may require you to carry out sleepover duty. A sleepover is when you remain in work for a continuous period of 8 hours or more between 11 pm and 8 am.
Information on payment for sleepovers can be found in HR Circular 039 2020 change to sleepover hourly rate due to an increase in national minimum wage
If you are required to work 5 days out of any 7 and one of them is a Saturday, you are entitled to a Saturday allowance.
This is a fixed amount. It doesn't matter how many hours you work on the Saturday.
If you are required to work 5 days out of any 7 and one of them is a Sunday, you are entitled to a Sunday premium payment. You'll get double pay for each hour worked on that shift.
If you are required to work 5 days out of any 7 and one of them is a public holiday, you are entitled to a public holiday premium payment. You'll get double pay for each hour worked on that shift.
If the public holiday is on a Saturday, you will not get the Saturday allowance as well.
Night duty is normally defined as hours worked between 8 pm and 8 am where you work at least 3 hours between midnight and 7 am.
Different arrangements apply to non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDS) who work night duty. See Circular - 003/2014
If you work night duty hours you'll be paid time plus a quarter.
You'll only be eligible for this night duty premium if you're rostered for duty through the night as defined above. For example, you would not be paid the night duty premium if you work from 4 pm to midnight.
If you work a night shift as defined above on a Sunday or public holiday, you'll be paid time plus a quarter. This will be based only on your basic salary. It will not include your unsocial hours allowance for that shift.
You will receive the twilight payment if you are employed in a grade approved for twilight payments and work between 8 pm and the end of the day shift. The twilight payment is paid at time and one-sixth.
As part of the transfer of tasks process, nurses and midwives who work from 6 pm to 8 pm in acute hospitals and social care (including older person and intellectual disability) sectors, will be paid the twilight payment.
HR Circular 025 2017 - Nurses and midwives under the nursing medical section of the HRA in social care including primary care and intellectual disability sectors - transfer of tasks
HR Circular 024/2018 - first phase of retrospection arising from task transfer/sharing social care sector (older peoples services and intellectual disabilities services) (PDF, 115KB, 3 pages)