A Guide to Working in Ireland

A guide to working in Ireland: Workers have a number of rights when it comes to working in Ireland. Those who fall under the category of employees have a variety of rights. These rights are not the same as those that apply to independent contractors and other forms of self-employment.

A guide to working in Ireland

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Working Hours

Most employees’ average workweeks cannot be longer than 48 hours. This does not, however, imply that you can never put in more than 48 hours at a time. You can work up to 48 hours a week on average, but not more.

For those who work in other industries, this average may be computed in a different way:

  • it is 4 months for most employees
  • it is 6 months for employees working in security, hospitals, prison or working for a utility providing gas or electricity
  • it is 12 months where an agreement is in place between employees and the employer – this must be certified by the Labour Court

Also Read: Electrician Jobs in Dublin, Ireland

Exceptions

There are exceptions to the laws on working hours for:

  • Gardaí and the Defence Forces
  • Employees who control their own working hours
  • Family employees on farms or private homes

Paid leave

A Guide to Working in Ireland

Most employees are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks’ paid annual leave per year. However, you can agree on more than this in your employment contract with your employer.

Calculating your annual leave

Your annual leave is computed using a period of time known as the leave year. Every year, this spans from 1 April to 31 March. However, some businesses compute annual leave using the calendar year.

Your yearly leave is computed using one of three major approaches. As an employee, you can select the option that gives you the most entitlement from the list below:

You are eligible to the entire 4 weeks of paid annual leave provided you worked at least 1,365 hours during the leave year.

  • if you work at least 117 hours in a week, then you are entitled to 33.3% of a working week as your leave
  • by taking 8% of the hours you worked in the leave year – up to a maximum of 4 working weeks

Public holidays

Nine public holidays are granted to all full-time workers each year. You are entitled to either an extra day’s salary or an extra day off if you have to work on a public holiday.

If you work part-time, you must have put in a minimum of 40 hours throughout the five weeks leading up to the public holiday. You are entitled to 20% of your wages for that day if you work part-time and the public holiday falls on a day when you are off.

Overtime

In Ireland, working overtime is viewed as a contractual issue. If you are required to work overtime, your employment contract should specify how much you will be paid and at what rate.

Sick pay

Although there is no legal need that you receive sick pay, your employer may choose to do so.

You can apply for illness benefits or supplemental welfare if you have made enough social insurance contributions.

Dismissal from your job

If you are being dismissed from your job you are entitled to:

  • pay for all work you have done (and a final payslip)
  • payment for any annual leave you are entitled to but haven’t used yet
  • the correct notice

Minimum notice periods

The minimum amount of notice you are entitled to depends on how long you have worked for your employer.

Time you were employedMinimum notice period
13 weeks to 2 years1 week
2 years to 5 years2 weeks
5 years to 10 years4 weeks
10 years to 15 years6 weeks
15 years or more8 weeks
A Guide to Working in Ireland

If offered paid in place of notice, you may take it or be obligated to work during the notice time.

If you receive money in place of notice, you are still deemed to be looking for job during this time.

Dismissal without notice

You can be dismissed without notice for serious misconduct.

A “posted worker” is a person who has been temporarily dispatched by his or her company to perform work in another EU Member State.

Individuals who choose on their own to look for work in another Member State, seagoing members of the merchant navy, or self-employed people are not considered posted employees.

Workers who have been posted to the state or who are otherwise employed there are entitled to the full range of Irish employee protection laws.

  • 1. Working hours
  • 2. Paid leave
  • 3. Public holidays
  • 4. Overtime
  • 5. Sick pay
  • 6. Dismissal from your job
  • 7. Redundancy
  • 8. Posted workers
  • 9. Equal pay

Workers have a number of rights when it comes to working in Ireland.

There are a range of rights for those who are categorised as employees. These rights are not the same as the rights for the self-employed (including independent contractors).

Working hours

A Guide to Working in Ireland

The maximum average working week for most employees cannot exceed 48 hours. However, this does not mean that you can never work more than 48 hours. You can, but you cannot work for more than 48 hours a week on average.

This average can be calculated differently for people working in different industries:

  • it is 4 months for most employees
  • it is 6 months for employees working in security, hospitals, prison or working for a utility providing gas or electricity
  • it is 12 months where an agreement is in place between employees and the employer – this must be certified by the Labour Court

Exceptions

There are exceptions to the laws on working hours for:

  • Gardaí and the Defence Forces
  • employees who control their own working hours
  • family employees on farms or private homes

Paid leave

Most employees are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks’ paid annual leave per year. However, you can agree on more than this in your employment contract with your employer.

Calculating your annual leave

Your annual leave is calculated based on what is called the leave year. This runs from 1 April until 31 March each year. However, some employers use the calendar year to calculate annual leave.

There are 3 main methods used to calculate your annual leave. As an employee, you can choose whichever of the below methods gives you the greatest entitlement:

  • if you have worked at least 1,365 hours in the leave year, then you are entitled to the full 4 weeks’ paid annual leave
  • if you work at least 117 hours in a week, then you are entitled to 33.3% of a working week as your leave
  • by taking 8% of the hours you worked in the leave year – up to a maximum of 4 working weeks

A Guide to Working in Ireland

Public holidays

All full-time employees are entitled to 9 public holidays each year. If you have to work on a public holiday you are entitled to either an extra day’s pay or an extra day’s holiday.

If you work part-time you must have worked at least 40 hours in total over the 5 weeks immediately before the public holiday. If you work part-time and the public holiday falls on a day you don’t work – then you are entitled to 20% of your pay for that day.

Overtime

Overtime is seen as a contractual issue in Ireland. Your employment contract should state if you have to work overtime and the rate of pay you will get if you do work it.

Sick pay

There is no legal right to sick pay but your employer may decide to pay you while you are off sick.

If you have enough social insurance contributions – you can claim Illness Benefit or Supplementary Welfare.

Dismissal from your job

If you are being dismissed from your job you are entitled to:

  • pay for all work you have done (and a final payslip)
  • payment for any annual leave you are entitled to but haven’t used yet
  • the correct notice

Minimum notice periods

The minimum amount of notice you are entitled to depends on how long you have worked for your employer.

Time you were employedMinimum notice period
13 weeks to 2 years1 week
2 years to 5 years2 weeks
5 years to 10 years4 weeks
10 years to 15 years6 weeks
15 years or more8 weeks

You may be required to work the notice period or you may accept payment in lieu of notice, if offered.

If you get payment in lieu of notice, you are considered to be unemployed and available for work during this period. This means that you can claim a jobseeker’s payment.

Your right to notice can be waived only if you agree to that with your employer.

Dismissal without notice

You can be dismissed without notice for serious misconduct.

Redundancy

Information is available on your full rights when it comes to redundancy.

Posted workers

A “posted worker” is an employee who is sent by his or her employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis.

Posted workers do not include individuals who decide of their own accord to seek employment in another Member State, seagoing personnel in the merchant navy or the self-employed.

Posted workers are entitled to the full range of Irish employee protection legislation which applies to workers posted to work in, or otherwise working in the State.

Equal pay

There is a legal right to not experience discrimination in Ireland under 9 grounds:

  • gender
  • civil status
  • family status
  • sexual orientation
  • religion
  • age
  • disability: includes people with physical, intellectual, learning, cognitive or emotional disabilities and a range of medical conditions
  • race: includes race, skin color, nationality or ethnic origin
  • membership of the Traveler community

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A Guide to Working in Ireland

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