There are three main reasons why international employers should consider hiring in Ireland: First of all, the country’s labour force is young and highly educated. In fact, the country’s population is the youngest in the whole of Europe and according to IDA Ireland, over 53.5% of Ireland’s population aged between 30 and 34 hold a third level qualification, with science, technology, maths and engineering being in high demand.
Second, Ireland is considered to be a pro-business country and the Irish economy ranks among the fastest growing economies in Europe. And finally, the country has a very modern telecommunication infrastructure providing the means for an efficient workflow and smooth cooperation processes with remote team members.
Irish labour law does not specifically require a written employment contract. However, employers must provide their new employees with a written statement outlining the terms of employment within the first two months after the employee’s first day. The statement should include the following information:
- Identification of both parties
- Date of commencement (and employment duration for temporary contracts)
- Job title and description
- Salary and payment details
- Applying pension scheme
- Working hours and overtime regulations
- Total number of holidays
- Regulations on sick leave and sick pay
- Notice periods for employment termination
- Reference to collective agreements
As there is no specific law on probation periods, they only apply when fixed in the employment contract or the terms of employment. A probationary period of three to six months is considered to be the common standard.
Working Hours and Breaks
The legal maximum employees are allowed to work within one week is 48 hours but a standard working week in Ireland comprises 40 hours usually spread over five days.
Rest periods in Ireland are regulated as follows:
- minimum daily rest period: eleven consecutive hours
- minimum weekly rest period: 24 consecutive hours
- 15-minute break after 4.5 hours of consecutive work
- 30-minute break after six hours of consecutive work
Usually, breaks are not paid.
It is up to the employer and the employee to agree on overtime payment as there is no statutory obligation for employers to grant extra pay for overtime work.
Employees can be paid either weekly or monthly. In no case should payments be issued later than at the end of each month.
Minimum wage in Ireland varies depending on the employee’s age. As of February 2021, the minimum wage in Ireland is set at
- EUR 10.20 for experienced adult employees
- EUR 9.18 for employees aged 19
- EUR 8.16 for employees aged 18
- EUR 7.14 for employees under 18
Strictly speaking, there is no legal obligation for employers to provide their employees with sick pay. Therefore, it is up to the employer to develop an individual sick leave policy which must be detailed in the employment contract or in the written statement containing the terms of employment.
Although not required by law, many companies offer performance-based bonuses.
Taxes and Social Security Contribution
Employees and employers in Ireland are subject to the following tax and social security contribution rates (as of February 2021):
12.5% corporate tax
23% VAT (standard rate)
individual income tax rates (single persons):
up to EUR 35,300: 20%; over EUR 35,300: 40%
Pay-related social insurance (PRSI):
11.05% of weekly employee salary exceeding EUR 398
8.8% of weekly employee salary under EUR 398
Pay-related social insurance (PRSI):
up to a weekly pay of EUR 352: 0%; weekly pay exceeding EUR 352: 4%
Universal Social Charge (USC) applying to gross annual income exceeding EUR 12,012:
up to EUR 12,012: 0.5%; next EUR 8,675: 2%; next EUR 49,357: 4.5%; over EUR 70,044: 8%
Irish labour law provides for a minimum of 20 days, i.e. four weeks, of annual leave. However, employers and employees may agree on additional days off.
The country observes nine public holidays. Employees who cannot take a day off on that particular day are entitled to either one of the following:
- a replacement day off which must be granted and taken within one month after that day
- an extra day of annual leave
- compensation in form of an extra day’s pay
Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave
Every female employee in Ireland, regardless her length of service or weekly hours, is entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave. In addition, mothers of newborn babies have a right to claim another 16 weeks of (unpaid) maternity leave which leads to a total of 42 weeks of statutory maternity leave.
It is mandatory for mothers to take at least two weeks prior to birth and at least four weeks after giving birth. The first 26 weeks of maternity leave are paid. Whether an employer has to pay the employee during maternity leave or not depends on what is specified in the employment contract.
If the employment contract does not specify maternity leave payments, employees receive statutory maternity benefits which amount to EUR 245 per week (effective 2021). However, female employees have to meet a few conditions in order to claim maternity benefits.
Statutory paternity leave is two weeks, beginning at any point within the first six months after the child’s birth. Employers are not obligated to pay their employees during this time.
Parents have the right to take 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave until their child reaches the age of twelve.
Additional Leave and Benefits
Employees who have a family member who needs constant care can take unpaid leave in order to fulfill their family duties.
In addition to employment termination by default – i.e. in case of a fixed-term contract – or voluntary termination by the employee, Irish labour law provides for the following reasons for employee dismissal:
- gross misconduct
- employee’s underperformance
Both employees and employers have to respect certain notice periods when terminating the employment. Notice periods for employers depend on the employee’s length of service and range from one week to eight weeks:
- one week: thirteen weeks to two years of service
- two weeks: two to five years of service
- four weeks: five to ten years of service
- six weeks: ten to fifteen years of service
- eight weeks: over fifteen years of service
Employees who are made redundant are entitled to a minimum severance pay of one week’s salary (capped at EUR 600) plus two weeks of pay for every year of service. Dismissed employees are generally entitled to receive any outstanding payments as well as payment for any untaken annual leave.
Hiring in Ireland?
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