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Employment Laws In Ireland

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2024
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Ireland has witnessed significant economic growth over the recent years. In 2022, the country boasted a GDP surpassing $533 billion, solidifying its position as one of the world’s most open and export-oriented economies. Ireland also claims a high degree of openness to the global market and has various multinational companies operating within its borders. 

If you wish to be part of this and establish a strong presence in Ireland, then you must familiarize yourself with the employment laws in Ireland.

However, compliance with local labor laws and regulations is among the most common challenges in international hiring or remote employment. To help you navigate the Irish hiring landscape, here’s a detailed guide on the employment laws in Ireland.

Contractual Agreements 

Contractual agreements and employment laws in Ireland are primarily governed by the Terms of Employment (Informations Act) 1994. 

According to Article 3 of the Act, an employer in Ireland is required to provide an employee with a written statement containing particulars of the terms of employment within two months of the commencement of employment. These include:

  • Full names of the employee and employer
  • Address of the employer’s principal place of business
  • Job title
  • Date of commencement of employment
  • Expected duration of employment (if it is a temporary contract)
  • The date on which the contract expires (if it is a fixed-term contract)
  • Rate of remuneration
  • Terms related to working hours and overtime
  • Terms related to paid leave and incapacity of work due to illness
  • Terms related to pension schemes
  • Notice period
  • Reference to any collective agreement that may affect the terms of employment.

Types of employment contracts

According to the labor laws of Ireland, there are primarily three main types of employment contracts:

Fixed-term employment contracts

  • These contracts specify an end date for employment.
  • Employees can work on one or more fixed-term contracts with the same employer for a maximum of four continuous years.
  • Following this, those employees are considered to have a contract for an indefinite duration, which is essentially a permanent contract.
  • The Unfair Dismissals Acts cover employees who have worked on repeated fixed-term contracts.

Part-time employment contracts

  • Part-time employees have comparatively less than the normal working hours of a full-time employee in the same or similar position.
  • The rights of part-time employees are protected under the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001.

Agency contracts

  • Agency contracts involve employment through a third-party agency and are then assigned to work at another organization or the ‘client company.’
  • The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 mandates that all agency workers should be treated in the same manner as fixed/permanent workers.

Zero-hour contracts 

  • This is a type of employment contract where the employee is available for work but does not have specified hours of work.
  • Zero-hour contracts are only allowed if the work is casual, done in emergency situations for short-term relief.
  • Section 18 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 addresses zero-hour working practices in Ireland. However, this is not applicable for casual work.

Obligations and rights for both parties

Some of the key obligations of employers in Ireland include:

  • Providing a written statement of the core terms of employment
  • Providing employees with payslips
  • Ensuring workers are provided with due amounts of breaks and rest periods
  • Complying with data protection regulations 
  • Ensuring health and safety in the workplace

Employers must also be aware of the common global HR compliance mistakes to avoid any legal repercussions.

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Working Hours and Overtime 

In Ireland, the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 regulates working hours and overtime. 

Regular working hours

  • According to Irish labor law, the maximum number of hours granted to employees is 48 hours.
  • The 48-hour working week does not include time spent on maternity, annual, or parental leave, among others.

Overtime regulations and compensation 

  • Currently, there is no legal compensation for overtime, nor are there any statutory levels of pay.
  • Nonetheless, many companies in Ireland are known to provide higher overtime pay rates to their employees.

Minimum Wage and Compensation 

In Ireland, the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 and subsequent amendments guide the minimum wage and compensation for employees

The minimum wage rate in 2024

  • According to the labor law in Ireland, the national minimum wage is €12.70 per hour. 
  • Young workers or people aged under 20 are entitled to sub-minimum rates. 
Age Group Minimum Hourly Rate of Pay % of Minimum Wage
20 and above €12.70 100%
19 €11.43 90%
18 €10.16 80%
Below 18 €8.89 70%

Factors affecting wage determination

Some of the key factors affecting wage determination in Ireland include,

  • Labor market conditions

Factors such as unemployment and labor force participation rates can influence wage levels.

  • Collective bargaining and unionization

Collective bargaining agreements negotiated between employers and trade unions can influence wage levels. 

Employee Benefits and Social Security 

Detailed below are a few key aspects of the employee benefits and social security provisions in Ireland: 

Statutory benefits

Child benefit

  • Child benefit is payable for children under 16 years of age.
  • It can also be paid until the child turns 17 if they are in full-time education or full-time training or have a disability that prevents them from supporting themselves.

Maternity benefit

  • Maternity benefits are provided to female employees who are covered under the Maternity Protection of Employees Act 1994. 
  • Additionally, self-employed women are also eligible for maternity benefits. 

Paternity benefits

  • Under the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, statutory paternity leave of two weeks, alongside a social welfare scheme of paternity benefits, was introduced.

Parents’ benefits

  • Parent’s benefit is another form of support available to parents who are on parent’s leave from work, provided they fulfill certain PRSI (pay-related social insurance) conditions.
  • It is payable to both parents who are covered by the Parents’ Leave and Benefit Act 2019.

Public health system

  • The Irish public health system offers two levels of eligibility for individuals ordinarily residing in the country.
  • It includes full eligibility, which grants a medical card, and limited eligibility for all others.

Long-term illness scheme

  • People with long-term illnesses or disabilities can join this scheme for free medical treatment related to their condition.

Benefits for caregivers

  • It includes three benefits: carer’s benefits, carer’s allowance, and domiciliary care allowance.

Illness benefit

  • Individuals who are too ill to do their jobs and are under the pension age (66) are entitled to illness benefits in Ireland.

Invalidity pension

  • It is a form of financial support offered to insured individuals who are permanently incapable of work due to an illness.

Occupational injuries scheme

  • There are four main benefits provided under this scheme.
  • They are, namely, injury benefits, disablement benefits, death benefits, and medical care. 

State pension

  • Individuals must apply for state pension at least three months before reaching the pensionable age (66 years).

Additional perks and benefits

  • Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Rent Supplement
  • Additional Needs Payment
  • Unemployment Benefits

Social security contributions and requirements

Pay-related social insurance

  • Individuals earning less than EUR 352 in any week are exempt from paying PRSI that week.
  • The minimum PRSI contribution payable is EUR 500, which must be included with preliminary tax by October 31 each year.
  • The PRSI rates for both employers (11.05%) and employees (4%) will increase by 0.1% from October 1, 2024.
  • The PRSI rate for self-employed individuals, which is currently at 4%, will also see a similar increase.

Vacations and Paid Time-Off 

Employees are entitled to paid annual leave and unpaid leaves, as mandated by the labor laws of Ireland. 

Annual leave entitlement

  • Most employees are entitled to four weeks of annual leave each year.

Public holidays and special leave

  • New Year’s Day
  • First Monday in February
  • Saint Patrick’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May
  • First Monday in June
  • First Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day
  • Saint Stephen’s Day. 

Maternity leave

  • Labor laws of Ireland mandate 26 weeks of maternity leave to an employee. 
  • Furthermore, an additional period of 16 weeks is also provided for maternity leave.

Adoptive leave

  • 24 weeks of adoptive leave is provided to any one parent who adopts a child under the employment laws in Ireland.

Paternity leave

  • Two weeks of paternity leave is provided to employees in Ireland after the birth of a child.

Parental leave

  • Parents are entitled to 26 weeks of parental leave until their child’s 12th birthday.

Sick leave

  • As of January 1, 2024, employees in Ireland have the statutory right to receive sick pay for up to five days per year.
  • Employers must pay sick leave pay to eligible employees at a rate equivalent to 70% of their normal pay.
  • However, there is a cap on the maximum daily payment, which is set at €110.

Carer’s leave

  • Employees can avail of the carer’s unpaid leave to take time off from work in order to provide full-time care and attention to a dependent individual.
  • The minimum duration of the carer’s leave is 13 weeks and can be extended to 104 weeks.

Domestic violence leave

  • Since November 2023, the Ireland labor law has mandated five days of paid domestic violence leave for employees experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

Termination and Severance

For a dismissal to be considered fair, the employer must demonstrate that they had legitimate reasons for the decision. 

Grounds for termination

A few examples of fair grounds for dismissal include,

  • Lateness/ absenteeism/ persistent absence from work due to illness or injury
  • Poor performance on the job
  • Misleading employers about qualifications
  • Misconduct
  • Business redundancy
  • Breaking the law, and other substantial grounds. 

Notice period and severance pay

According to the labor law in Ireland, the employer must provide a minimum period of notice when terminating the employment of an individual who has been in continuous service for 13 weeks or more.

The minimum notice period can vary based on the length of continuous service.

Length of service Duration of minimum notice
Less than two years One week
Two years or more but less than five years Two weeks
Five years or more but less than ten years Four weeks
Ten years or more but less than 15 years Six weeks
Fifteen years or more Eight weeks
  • If an employer has been terminated due to business redundancy, they can get redundancy pay.
  • In order to be eligible for redundancy pay, an employee must have two years (104 weeks) of service on the job.
  • Two weeks’ pay for every year of service and an additional one week’s pay is provided as a redundancy payment.

Discrimination and Equal Opportunity

Ireland has comprehensive mechanisms and legislation to address discrimination and promote equal opportunities in the workplace.

Prohibitions against workplace discrimination

  • The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 prohibits discrimination in various areas related to employment and workplace practices. 
  • The areas include equal pay, recruitment, training and work experience, collective agreements, dismissal, promotion or re-grading, terms and conditions of employment, and classification of posts.

Health and Safety Regulations 

The Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 is a cornerstone piece of legislation in Ireland concerning the safety and welfare of employees in the workplace. Some of its key components are:

  • Requirements for employers to manage systems of work to achieve a safe working environment.
  • Specific requirements to control safety, health, and welfare at work.
  • Roles and responsibilities of both employers and employees to ensure welfare at work.

Stay Compliant with Skuad

Navigating international employment laws and regulations can be complex. This is where Skuad EOR comes in. With Skuad’s all-in-one platform, you can access scalable solutions specifically tailored to meet your hiring needs. 

From digitally onboarding new hires to streamlining payment for your global workforce, our team of experts is there to guide you through every step of the international hiring process. 

Book a demo today to learn more about our international hiring solutions!


Q1: What is the employment law in Ireland?

A1: Employment laws in Ireland encompass various legislations and regulations that govern the employee-employer relationship. Some key aspects of Ireland's labor laws include employment contracts, minimum wage, working time regulations, and redundancy.

Q2: What are the full working rights in Ireland?

A2: In Ireland, employees are entitled to various rights and protections under employment laws related to maternity and paternity leave, public holidays, and non-discrimination. For example, the minimum amount of paid annual leave employees get in Ireland is four weeks.

Q3: How many hours can you legally work in Ireland?

A3: According to the labor law in Ireland, the maximum number of hours employees can legally work in a week is 48. 

Q4: How much is overtime pay in Ireland?

A4: There is no fixed rate for overtime pay in Ireland. 

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