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.
Employee rights in Ireland are protected by a comprehensive set of employment laws and regulations, ensuring fair treatment and working conditions for workers across the country. These rights cover various aspects of employment, including minimum wage, working hours, annual leave, and protections against discrimination and harassment.
Whether you're a full-time employee, part-time worker, or engaged in temporary employment, this guide will help you understand your rights as an employee in Ireland.
There are quite a few statutory employment acts in Ireland that govern how employees must be treated in the workplace. We’ll explore them in detail below, as well as what aspect of employment they regulate.
The Employment Equality Acts in Ireland are a set of laws that prohibit discrimination in employment on several grounds, ensuring equal treatment and opportunities that protects all employees and job applicants. These acts promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
This act prohibits discrimination on the following nine grounds:
Country of origin
Key provisions of the Employment Equality Acts include:
Prohibition of Discrimination: Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees or job applicants on any of the nine grounds mentioned above.
Equal Pay for Equal Work: Employers are required to provide equal pay for equal work, regardless of the employee's gender, age, or other protected characteristics.
Reasonable Accommodations: Employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to enable them to perform their job duties, provided it does not cause undue hardship to the employer.
Harassment: The acts also address workplace harassment related to the protected grounds and require employers to take measures to prevent and address such behavior.
Complaints and Remedies: Individuals who believe they have been treated unfairly based on any of the protected areas can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Remedies for successful complaints may include compensation, reinstatement, or changes in employment policies.
The Payment of Wages Act in Ireland is a piece of legislation that governs the payment of wages to employees as well as stipulates a national minimum wage. It sets out various rules and regulations related to how and when employees must be paid, deductions that can be made from their wages, and the rights of employees regarding their pay.
Here are the key points related to the Payment of Wages Act in Ireland:
Frequency of Wage Payments: Under the Payment of Wages Act, employees in Ireland are generally entitled to be paid their wages at regular intervals, either weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, as specified in their employment contract or as is customary in their industry. Payment frequencies must be consistent and predictable.
Payment Methods: Employers must pay employees in a form that is readily negotiable, such as by check, bank transfer, or cash. Payment by cash is less common and subject to specific regulations.
Deductions: Deductions from an employee's wages can only be made in limited circumstances and must be authorized by law or agreed upon in writing by the employee. Common authorized deductions include income tax, social insurance contributions, and court-ordered payments. Unlawful deductions or excessive deductions are not allowed.
Statement of Wages: Employers are required to provide employees with a written statement of their wages, which includes details of any deductions, the gross pay, and the net pay. This statement should be given at the time of payment.
Pay Slips: Employers must also provide employees with a pay slip, which includes information on the pay period, the rate of pay, the number of hours worked (if applicable), and any additional payments or allowances. Pay slips can be provided in paper or electronic format.
The Organization of Working Time Act in Ireland is a piece of legislation that sets out various rules and regulations regarding hours of work, rest periods, and annual leave for employees. The primary goal of this act is to protect the health and safety of workers by ensuring that they have reasonable working hours, adequate rest breaks, and sufficient time off.
Here are the key points related to the Organization of Working Time Act in Ireland:
Maximum Working Hours: Under the act, the standard maximum working week for most employees in Ireland is 48 hours. This includes regular working hours and overtime. However, some exemptions and flexibilities may apply in certain industries and professions or for part-time workers.
Rest Breaks: Employees are entitled to rest breaks during their shifts. For example, if an employee works for more than 4.5 hours, they are generally entitled to a 15-minute rest break. For a shift exceeding 6 hours, the entitlement increases to a 30-minute break. The timing of these breaks should be agreed upon with the employer.
Daily Rest: Employees are entitled to a minimum daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours between the end of one working day and the start of the next.
Weekly Rest: Employees are generally entitled to a continuous period of at least 24 hours of rest per week, or 48 hours of rest every two weeks. In practice, this usually means a day off per week.
Night Work: Special provisions are in place for night workers to protect their health and safety. Employers must provide health assessments for night workers, and the maximum weekly working hours may be reduced for night workers.
Annual Leave: Full-time employees are generally entitled to take a minimum of 20 paid annual leave days per year. Part-time employees are entitled to annual leave on a pro-rata basis. In addition, public holidays are typically treated as additional paid leave.
Public Holidays: Employees have entitlements regarding public holidays, including paid time off, an additional day's pay, or an additional day off in lieu, depending on the circumstances.
Records and Documentation: Employers are required to maintain records of employees' working hours and rest periods to ensure compliance with the act.
Complaints and Enforcement: If employees believe that their rights under the Organization of Working Time Act are not being upheld, they can file complaints with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The WRC has the authority to investigate such complaints and enforce the act's provisions.
Exemptions and Exceptions: Some employees, such as those in certain managerial roles or those working in emergency services, may be exempt from certain provisions of the act. Specific industries and professions may also have their own regulations and exemptions.
The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act in Ireland is a piece of legislation that outlines the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees regarding the provision of written terms of employment and minimum notice periods for the termination of employment. This act helps to ensure transparency and fairness in employment relationships.
Here are the key points related to the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act:
Written Terms of Employment: Under this act, employers are legally required to provide employees with a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment within five days of starting employment. This statement should include details such as the job title, pay, working hours, and other relevant terms of employment. It should also specify the notice period required for termination.
Notice of Termination: The act sets out the minimum notice periods that employers must give to employees when terminating their employment, and vice versa. The notice periods depend on the length of service and are as follows:
Less than 13 weeks of service: No notice is required.
13 weeks to 2 years of service: One week's notice.
2 to 5 years of service: Two weeks' notice.
5 to 10 years of service: Four weeks' notice.
More than 10 years of service: Six weeks' notice.
Pay in Lieu of Notice: Instead of working the notice period, an employer may choose to pay an employee in lieu of notice. Likewise, an employee may request to be paid in lieu of notice if they do not wish to work the notice period. The amount paid should be equivalent to the wages the employee would have earned during the notice period.
Redundancy Notice: In cases of redundancy, the notice periods can be different and depend on the number of employees affected by the redundancy. Employers usually have to give some type of redundancy payment or severance packages in these cases.
Complaints and Enforcement: If an employee believes that their rights under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act have been violated, they can file a complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The WRC has the authority to investigate such complaints and stipulations in the employment agreement and enforce the act's provisions.
Changes to Terms of Employment: Any changes to the terms of employment should also be provided in writing to the employee within one month of the change taking effect. Employees have the right to object to such changes, and if they do not accept the changes, they may have the option to terminate their employment and claim constructive dismissal.
The Maternity Protection Act in Ireland is a significant piece of legislation that provides legal protections and benefits to pregnant employees and new mothers in the workplace. Its primary purpose is to ensure that pregnant employees can take maternity leave, receive maternity pay, and return to work without facing discrimination or adverse treatment due to pregnancy or maternity-related issues.
Here are the key points related to the Maternity Protection Act in Ireland:
Maternity Leave: Under the Maternity Protection Act, pregnant employees in Ireland are entitled to a minimum of 26 weeks of maternity leave. This leave can begin at any time from at least two weeks before the expected due date. If a pregnant employee starts maternity leave within four weeks of the expected due date, the employer can require her to begin the leave immediately.
Additional Maternity Leave: Following the initial 26 weeks of maternity leave, employees have the option to take an additional 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, bringing the total potential maternity leave to 42 weeks.
Maternity Pay: During the 26 weeks of maternity leave, employees are entitled to receive Maternity Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The rate of Maternity Benefit may vary depending on the employee's social insurance contributions. Some employers may also choose to provide additional maternity pay.
Protection Against Discrimination: The Maternity Protection Act prohibits discrimination against pregnant employees or those on maternity leave. Employers cannot treat them unfavorably due to their pregnancy or maternity status, including in matters related to pay, promotion, training, or terms and conditions of employment.
Notification Requirements: Pregnant employees are required to notify their employer in writing of their intention to take maternity leave at least 4 weeks before they plan to begin their leave. The notification should include the expected start date and duration of the leave.
Health and Safety: Employers are obligated to conduct a workplace risk assessment for pregnant employees to ensure their health and safety during pregnancy. If necessary, adjustments should be made to the work environment or duties to minimize risks.
Right to Return to Work: After maternity leave, employees have the right to return to their previous job or an equivalent position with the same terms and conditions of employment. If any changes are made to the job, they should not be to the employee's detriment.
Protection of Employment Rights: During maternity leave, employment rights, such as annual leave accrual and pension contributions, continue as if the employee were actively working.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act in Ireland is a comprehensive piece of legislation that governs workplace health and safety. It is the primary legal framework for ensuring the safety, health, and welfare of employees while they are at work. The act places obligations on both employers and employees to both 1) create and 2) maintain safe and healthy working environments.
Here are the key points related to the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act in Ireland:
General Duties of Employers: Employers have a legal obligation to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety, health, and welfare at work of their employees. This includes providing safe systems of work, safe equipment, and adequate training and supervision.
General Duties of Employees: Employees are required to take reasonable care of their own safety and health at work, as well as that of their co-workers. They must also cooperate with their employer in complying with safety and health regulations.
Risk Assessment: Employers are required to carry out risk assessments to identify and evaluate workplace hazards. Based on the assessment, they must put in place measures to eliminate or reduce risks to the lowest level reasonably practicable.
Safety Statements: Employers with 5 or more employees are required to prepare and implement a written safety statement. This document outlines the company's safety and health policies, procedures, and objectives.
Consultation and Participation: Employers are encouraged to consult with their employees and involve them in matters related to safety, health, and welfare. Employee safety representatives may be appointed where appropriate.
Information and Training: Employers must provide employees with the necessary information, instruction, training, and supervision to ensure their safety and health. This includes specific training for certain tasks or equipment.
Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences: Employers are required to report serious accidents, dangerous occurrences, and cases of occupational illness to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).
Emergency Plans and First Aid: Employers must have appropriate emergency plans in place and ensure that employees receive training in emergency procedures. Adequate first-aid facilities and personnel must be available.
Safety Inspections: The HSA has the authority to inspect workplaces to ensure compliance with the act. Inspectors may issue improvement notices or prohibition orders if they identify safety or health hazards.
Penalties and Offenses: The act includes penalties for non-compliance, including fines and imprisonment for serious breaches.
Specific Regulations: In addition to the general duties outlined in the act, there are specific regulations that apply to various industries and workplaces, such as construction, agriculture, and chemicals.
Foreign workers in Ireland have many of the same rights and protections as Irish workers, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.
Some of the key rights that foreign workers enjoy in Ireland include:
Health and Safety
Trade Union Membership
Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Rights
Protection Against Exploitation
Access to Legal Remedies
Remote workers in Ireland have specific rights and protections that apply to their unique working arrangements. These rights are designed to ensure fair treatment, safety, and well-being, even when employees are working away from the traditional office environment.
Here are some of the key rights that remote workers in Ireland have:
Employment Contracts: Remote workers, like any other employees, should have written employment contracts that outline the terms and conditions of their employment, including their remote working arrangements. This contract should specify the nature of remote work, working hours, communication expectations, and any other relevant details.
Working Time and Rest Breaks: Remote workers are entitled to the same working time and rest period regulations as office-based employees. This includes adherence to the maximum working hours, rest breaks, and daily and weekly rest periods as specified in the Organization of Working Time Act.
Health and Safety: Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of remote workers in their home offices. They should conduct risk assessments and provide guidance on creating a safe and ergonomic workspace. Remote workers should report any safety concerns to their employer.
Data Protection: Remote workers must comply with data protection regulations when handling sensitive or personal data. Employers should provide guidance and training on data protection practices, especially if remote work involves handling sensitive information.
Flexible Working Arrangements: Many remote workers have the right to request flexible working arrangements, such as changes to their working hours or patterns, under the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act. Employers should consider such requests reasonably.
Access to Training and Development: Employers should provide remote workers with access to training, development opportunities, and career progression on an equal basis with office-based employees. Remote workers should not be disadvantaged in terms of professional growth.
Communication: Employers should establish effective communication channels and expectations for remote workers. Regular communication, both formal and informal, is important to maintain team cohesion and support.
Equipment and Expenses: Employers are generally responsible for providing necessary equipment and covering reasonable expenses related to remote work, such as internet costs or office supplies. Clear policies on expense reimbursement should be in place.
Monitoring and Performance: Employers have the right to monitor the performance of remote workers, but this should be done in a way that respects privacy and data protection regulations. Remote workers should have clear performance expectations and objectives.
Annual Leave and Benefits: Remote workers are entitled to annual leave and employee benefits on the same terms as their office-based counterparts, in accordance with employment contracts and relevant employment legislation.
Via makes hiring talent around the world and building your global team seamless by helping you onboard workers in as little as 2-3 business days. With our easy-to-use platform, Via helps you manage local HR processes for direct employment such as work visas & permits, employee data privacy compliance, benefits, global payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts provide 24-hour local support and ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity abroad, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team.