Information on Irish employment rights

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Statutory Employment Rights

This page is intended to give general guidance to employees on employment rights matters. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law and is not a legal interpretation. More detailed information is available from the Employment Rights Information Unit of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Complaint forms in relation to employment rights entitlements are also available on request from the Employment Rights Information Unit.

Employment Rights Information Unit


Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Davitt House, Adelaide Road , Dublin 2


Tel No: (01) 631 3131. Fax No: (01) 631 3329


Lo-Call Telephone service (01): 1890 201 615


Website: www.entemp.ie

E-mail: erinfo@entemp.ie
Important Notes
  1. Employment Agencies must be licenced under Irish Law and must not charge a fee solely for seeking employment for another person.
  2. An employer does not have power to have an employee arrested by police or to have an employee deported from Ireland . This can only be done in accordance with law.
Terms of Employment
Terms of employment are negotiable between the employer and employee but any agreement entered into cannot offer terms less than the statutory minimum entitlements listed in this guide.
Your employer is required under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994 and 2001 to give you certain information in writing the important elements of your terms of employment within two months of your start date.

This information must include:
  • name and address of employer
  • place of work
  • job title/nature of the work
  • date of commencement of employment
  • if temporary, the expected duration of employment
  • if for a fixed term, the expiry date of the contract
  • rate of remuneration [and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act]
  • the pay period (the intervals at which you will be paid)
  • hours of work (including overtime)
  • rest break entitlements
  • paid leave
  • arrangements for when you are unable to work due to sickness or injury
  • pensions and pension schemes
  • periods of notice which both your employer and you must give on ending employment
  • reference to any collective agreements which affect your work contract.
  • Statement of employee's right to request and obtain a written statement from the employer of the employee?s average hourly rate of pay for any pay reference period within the previous 12 months. (Minimum Wage Act, 2000)
Pay - Minimum Wage
An experienced adult employee is entitled to a minimum rate of pay of €8.65 per hour under the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 . An experienced adult employee is an employee who has been in any employment in any two years from the date of first employment over the age of 18. Lesser rates apply to other categories of workers. The two years employment referred to here does not have to be with the same employer, or in the same industry, or even in Ireland . All employment over age 18 is reckonable for the purposes of the minimum wage entitlement.
The minimum rate of pay increases from time to time. Details of current minimum rates are always available from the Employment Rights Information Unit.

Working Time/Holidays
The Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 sets out rights of employees in respect of the following:

Maximum Weekly Hours of Work
The maximum average working week is an average of 48 hours averaged over 4, 6, or 12 months (in most cases no more than 4 months).

Minimum Rest Times/Breaks
You are entitled to a minimum of:
  • 11 consecutive hours rest per 24 hour period
  • one period of 24 hours rest per week, preceded by a daily rest period (11 hours)
  • 15 minutes where more than four and a half hours have been worked; 30 minutes where more than six hours have been worked which may include the first break.
  • Shop employees who work more than six hours and whose hours of work include 11.30am - 2.30pm are entitled to a one-hour consecutive break that must occur during those hours.
Sunday Work:
You are entitled to an extra payment or paid time off in lieu for Sunday work.

Holidays and Public Holidays
Holiday entitlements are earned from the day you begin work.
Your minimum annual leave entitlement is 4 working weeks paid annual leave per leave year. However, annual leave is accrued based on time worked by the employee. Full-time employees earn one week of paid annual leave for every three months worked. Employees who work 1365 hours in any given leave year have earned their full four week annual leave entitlement at that point, except if it is a leave year in which the employee changes employment.
If you work part-time, you are entitled to annual leave consisting of 8% of all the hours you work, subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks in the leave year.

Employees are also entitled to nine public holidays during the year, in respect of which your employer may choose to give you one of the following four options:
  • a paid day off on the day, or
  • a paid day off within a month, or
  • an extra day of paid annual leave, or
  • an extra day's pay.
The following are the nine public holidays in Ireland:
  • 1st of January
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May
  • First Monday in June
  • First Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day
  • St. Stephen's Day
In order for a part-time worker to qualify for a public holiday, he/she must work at least 40 hours in the 5-week period that immediately precedes the public holiday.

Dismissal
The Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2001 outlines rights and procedures in the event of dismissal from work. Generally, an employee must have at least 12 months continuous service with his/her employer before he/she is entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal under the Acts. For agency workers, the employer for the purposes of unfair dismissal is the user company - not the employment agency.

Minimum Notice
The Minimum Notice Act, 1973 to 2001 provides that every employee who has been in the employment of his/her employer for at least 13 weeks is entitled to a minimum period of notice before that employer may dismiss him or her. This period varies from one to eight weeks according to the length of service. An employer who is unable to provide the appropriate minimum notice may pay notice in lieu to the employee. An employee's minimum notice entitlement is as follows:
  • 13 weeks but less than 2 years service = one week notice
  • two years but less than five years = two weeks notice
  • five years but less than ten years = four weeks notice
  • ten years but less than fifteen years = six weeks
  • more than fifteen years = eight weeks notice
  • An employee who has 13 weeks service with his/her employer is obliged to give one week's notice to his/her employer when resigning, unless there is a written contract of employment that provides otherwise.
In case of a serious dispute with your employer you can contact Irish Trade Unions to get free legal advice:

    Irish Congress of Trade Unions
    31/32 Parnell Square
    Dublin 1
    Ireland
    Phone: +353 1 8897777
    Fax: +353 1 8872012
    Web: http://www.ictu.ie