Ireland is home to a number of major tech companies, including Microsoft, Apple, and Meta. Known as a friendly country with high levels of education, Ireland is a booming talent hotspot for companies looking to recruit top talent. With significant growth in sectors such as IT, energy, environmental engineering, and medical devices, the country is quickly becoming one of the most important economies in the European Union.
Foreign employers and businesses wishing to hire talent or workers in the Republic of Ireland have a couple of options if they don't want to build an internal HR team in the country. One: If the company has an established entity or subsidiary in Ireland, it can partner with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). Two: If the company does not have a physical foothold in Ireland, it can work with an Employer of Record (EOR).
Both options are acceptable routes, yet international PEOs and EORs are different–even though some use the terms interchangeably.
A PEO in Ireland assists a foreign employer or business with all HR-related management, covering onboarding, global payroll, and benefits.
Partnering with a global PEO means:
Reducing your amount of HR-related responsibilities.
Benefiting from HR support without adding to your company’s headcount.
Hiring new employees in a relatively short amount of time.
Sharing contractual employee responsibilities.
However, it is not within a PEO’s purview to fully monitor legal compliance regarding labor laws–this would be the employer’s responsibility as well.
Engaging the services of a PEO means that an employer’s company has a local legal entity or subsidiary in Ireland. This type of expansion–setting up a subsidiary–can be a lengthy process. Therefore, working with a PEO may be the best option if you already have a physical business presence in Ireland. Otherwise, seeking the services of an employer of record in Ireland may prove the better choice.
If your business is without a local entity, an employer of record (EOR) service in Ireland can assist in streamlining the hiring and onboarding processes, while also handling ongoing HR-related duties and maintaining compliance.
Compliance with local labor laws is one of the most important aspects of hiring foreign workers, and there are many laws and rules to know. Your EOR partner in Ireland manages things like employee contracts, appropriate wages, maximum working hours, required breaks, annual leave entitlement, and taxes, which takes a weight off the employer’s shoulders. Employers’ obligations in Ireland are extensive, and falling out of compliance can lead to heavy fines.
To sum it up, an EOR:
Handles all HR-related tasks
Remains its own entity and does not add to your company’s headcount
Quickly hires new employees without a business entity
And maintains compliance
Choosing between a PEO or an EOR depends on the company's unique situation, but the main thing to keep in mind is that a PEO requires a local subsidiary, while an EOR does not.
Whether an employer or company works with a PEO or an EOR, they should still be familiar with Ireland’s economy, culture, and labor laws.
Employment laws in Ireland are wide-ranging and cover everything from safety and equality to whistleblowing and dismissals.
Many employers undertake compliance in-house, which can be a good fit if they have the HR resources who understand the Irish employment laws and the rights of employees in Ireland and maintain information privacy
Capital city: Dublin
Largest city by population: Dublin
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Population: 5.05 million
Languages: English, Irish
Irish GDP: 418.6 billion
Payroll frequency: Monthly or weekly
Federal Minimum wage: $1656.20 EUR/month
As in any country, paid leave in Ireland is important for employees and employers. Every employer of record needs to know what they must legally offer employees.
Paid time off (PTO) is called annual leave in Ireland. It also goes by the term statutory entitlement. Employees are entitled to four weeks of annual leave, but an employer may give employees additional leave time.
Sometimes referred to as “bank holidays,” public holidays are days when most businesses and schools are closed. In Ireland, ten days are considered PTO, or paid leave days–they are as follows:
New Year’s Day
First Monday in February, or 1 February if the date falls on a Friday (from 2023 onwards)
Saint Patrick’s Day
First Monday in May
First Monday in June
First Monday in August
Last Monday in October
Saint Stephen’s Day (26 December)
Traditionally, employees had no legal grounds to be paid while on sick leave; however, that is being amended by the drafted Sick Bill Leave 2022, which mandates paid leave for three sick days per year, to be increased to ten days by 2026. The rate of pay for paid sick leave is 70% of an employee's regular wages.
Women are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave, plus an additional 16 weeks if required or desired. Some women choose not to utilize all weeks allotted, but they must use part of the leave and take two weeks of leave before the baby's arrival and at least four weeks after the birth.
Employers are not legally mandated to pay women while on maternity leave, but each company is different, and some employment contracts may include maternity leave pay. Therefore, depending on your situation, you may qualify for the Maternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection (DSP). Also, an employer may choose to contribute to your Maternity Benefit to match your standard pay.
Paternity leave provides new parents with two weeks off work, typically used by the child's father or the mother's spouse/partner.
For paternity leave, it is a similar situation to maternity leave. Your employer is not required to pay you during this leave; however, your employment contract may stipulate paternity leave pay. In addition, you may qualify for the Paternity Benefit from DSP, in which your employer may make the difference to match your regular pay rate.
Parental leave allows parents to take 26 weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for children under the age of 12. To qualify for this type of leave, employees must have worked for at least a year for their current employer. It is customary to give an employer at least six weeks' notice before taking parental leave.
Adoptive leave provides one parent with 24 weeks off work, unpaid unless otherwise stated in their employee contract, as employers are not required to pay you during this type of leave. You can apply for the Adoptive Benefit from DSP to supplement your living expenses during this time. Giving your employer four weeks' notice in writing regarding adoptive leave is customary.
Adoptive parents can take an additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave, but during those extra weeks, they cannot partake in the Adoptive Benefit.
Carer's leave allows an employee to temporarily leave their position to provide full-time care to an individual in need–a spouse, family member, friend, or colleague. Carer's leave is unpaid, but your job will still be awaiting for you upon your return.
Carer's leave is a minimum of 13 weeks and can last up to 104 weeks. You may also qualify for Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance to supplement your situation.
Other additional types of leave available to employees include force majeure leave (family crisis), compassionate leave (death of a close family member), jury service, and career break/study leave.
Each type of leave has its own stipulations, so it is best to know how your employer handles them.
By law, every employee in Ireland must be given a formal, written contract that outlines the job description, compensation, position expectations, entitlements, and benefits. The contract must be written in English, use the Euro, and be signed by both the employer and employee. Employment contracts can be issued by the company or through an employer of record in Ireland, and they typically also address the following:
In most cases, salaries are paid weekly or monthly, depending on the employer.
A full-time work week in Ireland is usually 40 hours, which is on par with many industrialized countries in the world market. However, the maximum weekly average is 48 hours. Some people (usually in management or specialty fields) work over 48 hours a week, but on average, they cannot exceed the 48-hour maximum.
If the standard working hours per week are exceeded, an employee must be paid overtime, which employment contracts regulate. There is no legal right to have to pay for working more than the standard number of hours, and no statutory levels of overtime rates exist. However, employers pay their employees higher overtime rates, as outlined in the employment contract.
Current minimum wage rates in Ireland vary depending age:
10.50 EUR/hour–age 20 or older
9.45 EUR/hour–age 19
8.40 EUR/hour–age 18
7.35 EUR/hour–under 18
Some industries have higher minimum wages than others.
There are no legal stipulations in Ireland regarding bonus payments or 13th-month salaries. If a particular Irish employer chooses to give a bonus, it will be included in an employee’s regular pay and taxed accordingly.
With rare exceptions, almost all new employees are put on probation. The individual’s employment contract usually states that confirmation of the position will be given after the probationary period is deemed satisfactory.
The probationary period is a time to ascertain whether the individual is a good fit with the company. A probationary period can last from 3 to 11 months but should not exceed 12 months.
Severance pay will be given to employees who have become redundant and are no longer needed to run the business. Typically referred to as statutory redundancy pay, an employee can expect to receive two weeks’ gross pay for each year of service, with an additional one week’s wages included.
An employer must have just cause to dismiss an employee, and they must provide notice based on statutory periods:
13 weeks to 2 years of employment: 1-week notice
2 to 5 years of employment: 2 weeks’ notice
5 to 10 years of employment: 4 weeks’ notice
10 to 15 years of employment: 6 weeks’ notice
15 years or more of employment: 8 weeks’ notice
Immediate dismissal without notice is warranted for gross misconduct, including assault, theft, or breach of employment policies. However, the most common form of termination is redundancy, in which severance pay is given.
All residents of Ireland, and certain visitors, are entitled to healthcare through the public healthcare system maintained by the Health Service Executive and funded by general taxes and subsidized fees. As a result, Healthcare in Ireland is typically free of charge or available at a reduced rate.
Individuals are considered residents if they have been living in Ireland for a year or intend to live in the country for at least a year. On that basis, there are two types of eligibility for Ireland residents when it comes to health coverage: Full eligibility for medical card holders and Limited eligibility for those without a medical card. Medical card holders are entitled to free general practitioner (GP) services, prescribed drugs and medicines (these may be subject to a charge per item), public hospital services, certain dental, optical, and aural services, maternity and infant care services, community care, and personal social services. For those without a medical card, GP services are not free, and you will be charged for prescribed drugs and medicines. However, you are entitled to public hospital services, which may be free or at a reduced rate. You may also receive community care, personal social services, and maternity and infant care services free of charge.
Both employer and employee are subject to payroll taxes in Ireland. Employers contribute between 8.5% and 10.75% to the Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), and employees put in about 4% of their salaries.
Employees also pay between 1% and 8% to the Universal Social Charge (USC) depending on their income level. Ireland’s income tax varies from 20% to 40%, depending on one’s annual income. Another employer tax is the corporate tax, which is usually 12.5%, but some businesses qualify for different rates.
Self-employed people working in Ireland must make PRSI contributions. The amount paid is the greater between the two: 4% of income or 500 euro.
Employers can onboard new employees or work with a third-party EOR or PEO. This decision is contingent on the employer’s budget–can they afford to hire a third-party service?–whether or not they have a local entity in Ireland, and if they want to be responsible for HR duties and maintaining compliance with Ireland’s labor laws.
There are pros and cons to all three options: in-house onboarding or using an EOR or PEO service. As the employer, you have to decide what suits your business best.
If an employer elects to work with a PEO, they will have to establish a subsidiary in Ireland, a process that can be lengthy, and they won’t be able to hire employees until the subsidiary is up and running. The basic steps to setting up a subsidiary include:
Determining which type of limited liability company (LLC) you want to set up in Ireland
Following the appropriate steps to setting up your LLC
Swear in your founder before a Commissioner for Oaths
Submit required documentation to the Companies Registration Office
Obtain a company seal
Registering for corporation tax, social insurance contributions, and VAT with the Revenue Commissioners
Familiarizing yourself with Ireland’s subsidiary laws
Working with a PEO means you’re entering into a co-employment arrangement, and both of you share employee responsibilities, while the PEO takes care of all HR duties and onboarding.
If an employer chooses to utilize the services of an employer of record in Ireland, they do not need an entity or subsidiary, which can streamline hiring in Ireland and global expansion. In addition, an EOR can hire new employees in days rather than weeks or months, allowing an employer to onboard new employees in just a few days.
An EOR handles everything that falls under the HR umbrella–background checks, onboarding, payroll, benefits, and PTO. They make sure your business remains compliant with Ireland’s laws on employment. As a rule, a PEO does not offer that type of legal knowledge or compliance service.
Both large and small companies want to hire employees in Ireland and around the world, but are unsure of how to navigate the country’s payroll and labor laws. Via makes hiring your workforce in Ireland and building your global team seamless. Our easy-to-use platform helps you manage the local HR processes for benefits such as private insurance, international payroll services, background checks, and more. We have a local team of lawyers and on-the ground experts that understand compliance as you expand abroad.
As your employer-or-record/entity in Ireland, Via assumes full responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your global workforce.
With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors in Ireland with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace.