Ireland Labor Laws

Compliance is key when hiring employees from across borders. Employers must stay aware of local labor laws and regulations to ensure their hiring and recruitment practices are compliant with employment laws.

Similarly, employers hiring talent in Ireland must stay cognizant of Irish labor laws to provide a seamless onboarding experience. Particularly, employers based outside Ireland, must craft employment contracts that meet statutory minimums for a flawless recruitment process.

Here’s an article for you to understand employment laws in Ireland.

Ireland Labor Law

Ireland’s workforce is protected and regulated by statutory regulations derived from:

  • ~The Irish constitution
  • ~Law of equity
  • ~Common law
  • ~European Union law

These are designed to protect the power imbalance between the employer and employees and strive to ensure fair workplace conditions. Employers need to be aware of changes in the above laws to craft compliant employment contracts.

Who is Covered by This Act?

Irish labor laws do not categorize employees based on the scope of coverage of the laws. Although the labor market encompasses employees based on their nature of work - part-time, full-time, fixed-term employees, the laws that govern labor and employment are the same for all.

Employment Contract

Employers must stay cognizant of The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014 and subsequent changes for stipulations governing employment contracts. 

According to the Section 4 of the Act, all employers in Ireland must provide their employees with a written employment contract within two months of the commencement date.

The Act also makes it mandatory for the employer to notify employees of any changes made to the employment contract.

The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014 covers employees who are:

  • ~Employed k under a contract of employment or apprenticeship
  • ~Employed through a third party
  • ~Employees of the state

To stay in compliance with The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2014, employers must include the following details in their employee’s employment contract:

  • ~Full name/s of the employer
  • ~Full name of the employee
  • ~Full address of the employer and the place of work
  • ~Employee’s designation
  • ~Start date of employment
  • ~The duration of employment if the contract of employment is temporary
  • ~Rate of pay and the payroll cycle - weekly, monthly
  • ~Terms relating to overtime
  • ~Terms relating to paid sick leave and long term leaves pertaining to accidents
  • ~Notice period
  • ~Terms pertaining to pension schemes

Conditions pertaining to employment outside the country

When an employee is required to work outside the state, Ireland’s labor laws mandate the employer to furnish the following details in the employment contract:

  • ~Period of employment outside the country
  • ~The currency in which the employee will be compensated
  • ~Details of any fringe benefits and in-kind benefits
  • ~The terms and conditions governing the employee’s return to the country

What happens when the employer violates the Act?

Under the employment laws in Ireland, the Information Act stipulates that employees can report any violations of the Act to a rights commissioner and seek compensation for the same.

Employees must note that the commissioner can only hear pleas for violations made no older than six months from termination.

According to Act,  the commissioner can:

  • ~Validate the scope (well-founded or not) of the complaint 
  • ~Verify that the employer adequately compensates the employer for the violation
  • ~Add or remove any terms from the employment contract citing inaccuracies or omission

Key Provisions of the Act

Since Ireland's employment laws are not consolidated under a single Act, employers need to refer to various sources of the employment laws in Ireland.

The following section explains the key Acts employers should know when drafting employment contracts.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015

The Employment Equality Act is a part of the labor laws that protect employees in Ireland. These Acts passed between 1998-2015 ensure that employers treat employees fairly.

The Act categorizes discrimination as direct or indirect.

The law outlaws discrimination across nine facets:

  • ~Gender
  • ~Civil status
  • ~Family status
  • ~Sexual orientation
  • ~Religion
  • ~Age
  • ~Disability
  • ~Race
  • ~Membership in the Traveller community

The legislation covers various situations, such as

  • ~Disability
  • ~Pregnancy
  • ~Equal pay
  • ~Sexual harassment
  • ~Victimization

Payment of Wages Act 1991

The Payment Wages Act of 1991 considered the employment law for payments made to employees in Ireland. Besides regulating wages, the Act also guarantees the right to a payslip from the employer.

The Act offers direction to cover a wide range of payments, such as

  • ~Basic pay
  • ~Overtime pay
  • ~Shift allowances
  • ~Fees, bonuses or commission
  • ~Holiday pay
  • ~Sick or maternity pay
  • ~Payments related to termination

The regulations in the Act confer employees the right to:

  • ~Acquire payment through ways that satisfy statutory requirements such as cash, cheque, postal or money order, a demand draft, credit transfer
  • ~Obtain a written statement (payslip) from the employer explaining payment and deductions
  • ~Seek legal protection if the employer makes unlawful and unnotified deductions from the regular salaries

The National Minimum Wage Act 2000

The National Minimum Wage Act of 2000, among other employment laws in Ireland, regulates the minimum hourly wage.

As of January 1st, 2022, this employment law has been amended to stipulate a minimum hourly wage of €10.50 for all adult employees.

The Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (as amended)

This Act is Ireland’s cornerstone legislation to govern workplace safety and risks. Employers need to abide by the regulations to ensure that their business meets all workplace safety statutory requirements.

According to the Act, employers need to formulate two documents - the health and safety risk assessment and the safety assessment.

To develop these documents, employers will need to gather information on the hazards and risks associated with their workplaces. They need to complete a three-step process involving:

  1. Identifying workplace hazards
  2. Assessing risks
  3. Placing control and safety measures

Employers who fail to comply with workplace safety standards run the risk of heavy financial & criminal penalties.

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997

This Irish employment law governs employees' work hours and offers guidance to employers on overtime wages, paid holidays, and rest periods. 

Below is a table summarising the working hours related to Ireland's employment law.

Regulations
Working hours

Rest breaks between two days

Breaks during work hours

Sleepover shift

Overtime

The average working hours per week is 39 hours in Ireland. However, the statute allows employers to task employees for 48 hours over seven days.

EU directives regulate the legal working hours daily.

According to EU laws, employees are entitled to at least 11 hours of rest per 24-hour period during which they are at work.

The Working Time Act stipulates that employees must not work for more than 4 hours and 30 minutes without taking a 15-minute break.

It refers to a shift when an employee is permitted to sleep on your premises during the shift. Employees are not allowed to remain rostered on a shift for more than 11 hours after they have finished their shift.

Although many employers pay employees for overtime work out of goodwill or to retain talent, no statutory requirements mandate employers to pay employees for overtime work.

The Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001

Ireland’s employment laws also protect part-time employees via the Protection of Employees Act 2001. 

The Act exists to protect employees against discrimination in cases where the employer favors full-time employees over part-time workers in areas of pay, paid leaves, and pensions. 

Thus, the employer must issue in writing (an employment contract) all conditions on employment, such as:

  • ~Remuneration
  • ~Pensions
  • ~Voluntary health contributions
  • ~Entitlement to sick pay

The Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003

The Irish labor code also covers employees who work with fixed-term contracts. Generally labeled as independent contractors, these employees are not part of the company’s payroll.

A fixed-term contract is the employment contract you use when you need to hire an employee for either:

  • ~A specific time, or a fixed-term.
  • ~To complete a particular project or purpose.

The Maternity Protection Act 1994–2004

The employment laws in Ireland concerning maternity leave are governed by The Maternity Protection Act 1994–2004. 

Maternity leave is a statutory leave in Ireland where pregnant employees can take leaves from work citing the birth of their child.

This employment law in Ireland protects employees from facing termination of employment while taking leaves from their office around pregnancy. The Act also ensures that the employers guarantee that the employee will face no consequences when returning to work and continue their work designation without any hindrances.

The Maternity Protection Act, 1994–2004, entitles female employees to:

  • ~26 week period of leave
  • ~16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave in addition to the 26 weeks
  • ~Benefit from contractual obligations and other terms and conditions of employment such as annual leaves, paid leaves, sick leaves
  • ~An allowance from the Department of Social Protection

The Parental Leave Act 1998 – 2019

The Irish employment law entitles employees to unpaid parental leaves to care for children is the Parental Leave Act 1998 – 2019. 

This Irish labor law offers the following rights:

  • ~Employees are entitled to 26 weeks o0f parental for each eligible child
  • ~Employees who bear twins or triplets are entitled to more than 26 weeks of parental leave in a year
  • ~Employees can take leave for one continuous period or two separate instances of 6 weeks each
  • ~Employees must be treated as in-employment while on parental leave
  • ~Employees are entitled to public holidays and annual leaves
  • ~Employees are entitled to credited PRSI contributions from the Department of Social Protection

The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973–20051

This Irish employment law governs various aspects of the notice period. 

The following table lays down the minimum statutory notice period on how many days of notice the employer has to offer to the employee in case of termination.

Period of service Duration of notice
<13 weeks

13 weeks - 2 years

2 years - 5 years

5 years - 10 years

10 years - 15 years

15 years +

Nil

1 week

2 weeks

4 weeks

6 weeks

8 weeks

The following table describes the minimum statutory notice period the employee has to offer to the employer in case of termination.

Period of service Duration of notice
<13 weeks

13 weeks

Nil

1-week

Note: Employers can include long periods of notice in the contract than the minimum statutory requirement.

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018

According to The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 of the Irish labor law, employers are forbidden from penalizing or threatening to penalize employees for breaking the new provisions. 

The Act protects employees from any penalties or threats from the employer for the following reasons:

  1. Making claims using The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018
  2. Refusing to collaborate or conspire with the employer for unlawful deeds under this Act
  3. Gathering and providing evidence against the employer’s misconduct

Penalties

When facing any workplace misconduct that violates the employment contract terms, employees can make complaints to the Workplace Relations Commission by filling up an online complaint form.

Employers can incur financial penalties and, in some cases, criminal charges depending on the law they violate. 

How Multiplier Can Help Businesses Stay Compliant?

The lucrativeness of the Irish labor market has become well-known over the years. Dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe, the island-nation is home to many tech-based startups and software giants. The low corporate taxes (12%) and other incentives ensure businesses wouldn’t have difficulty expanding in Ireland.  
The challenge for companies employing talent in Ireland is the country’s extensive list of statutory employment laws.

With a literacy rate hovering at 99%, employees in Ireland are well aware of their employment rights and social security laws. Thus employers must ensure that their business is compliant through and through to avoid penalties and fines when hiring employees in Ireland.

Multiplier’s global employment solution alleviates all of your worries about employment and compliance in Ireland. Using our SaaS-based EOR & PEO platform, employers can generate employment contracts compliant with employment laws and onboard employees from Ireland in minutes.

Employers can also manage and pay global teams making global employment and payrolling a trouble-free experience. Book a demo today.

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