Employer Obligations under Irish Employment Law

Irish Employment Law: Your business is growing – great news. It’s time to take on staff or expand your existing workforce.

What are your obligations as an employer under Irish employment law?

Irish Employment Law

One of the main areas of litigation between employers and employees centres around a lack of compliance by employers with their obligations under Irish employment law.
If an employee or ex-employee takes a case against an employer and the employer has failed to comply with their obligations under Irish employment law they are immediately on a back foot when it comes to negotiations and settlement. Like just about everything in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Get it right from the beginning.

The obligation is firmly placed on an employer to be aware of their obligations under Irish employment law and to ensure they adhere to legislation. Some industries do require employers to meet different requirements but the list below is the minimum entitlement all employees must receive.

  • Written statement of terms and conditions. Certain basis terms and conditions of employment must be stated in writing within two months of the employee starting employment. There is no actual requirement to have a written contract under Irish employment law but you should ensure the basics have been covered in writing. For example, this should terms of pay, hours of work, different schemes in operation (ex. Sick pay) and duration of work. Although this is the minimum requirement it is good practice to put a comprehensive employment contract in place to protect your interests and to minimize the risk of conflict in the future.
  • Payslip or at a minimum a written statement of pay. This should clearly set out the gross pay and the applicable deductions and net pay.
  • Minimum wage. As a general rule the majority of experienced adult workers in Ireland are entitled to be paid €8.65 per hour under Irish employment law. There are some exceptions to the minimum wage, including those on apprenticeships, those under 18 years old etc.
  • Industry Specific Wages. There are also specific industries that have wage agreements in place which will determine the minimum rate of pay. You should ensure you are in compliance with these wage agreements.
  • Maximum working week. The maximum work week is 48 hours and is calculated on average over a 4, 6 or 12 month period depending on the industry.
  • Unpaid breaks during working hours. You also need to be aware of the rules surrounding breaks during working hours. Essentially, your staff are entitled to a 15-minute break if working four and a half hours of work and a 30-minute break if working six hours of work.
  • Annual leave entitlements. Full-time workers have the right to four working weeks paid annual leave per year. In general part-time workers have the right to a proportional amount of annual leave based on the amount of time they work.
  • Statutory notice periods. In general, your staff are entitled to a minimum amount of notice if their employment comes to an end. A comprehensive contract of employment should cover notice periods, grounds for dismissal etc.

As an employer, it is important to maintain records in relation to your employees and their entitlements under Irish employment law.

This would include details of hours worked, pay, deductions, holidays etc. Clarity and compliance is the key to avoiding disputes and litigation under Irish employment law.

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