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General Guidelines

The Unfair Dismissal Acts require an employer to act reasonably in employee dismissal. To lawfully end employment, the employer must have a straightforward and documented procedure in place and follow it. Employees deserve full and fair procedures that comply with natural justice in the dismissal process. If an employee feels they are being dismissed unfairly, they may ask for a written statement that explains the reasons. Their employer has to provide that statement back within 14 days. Typically, the employee must have at least 12 months' continuous service with the employer before they can bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

The dismissal of an employee is deemed fair if it is because of their capability, conduct, or capacity; it's a result of redundancy; the employment contravenes the law (i.e., the employee's continued employment would be illegal) or for some other substantial reason. An employee can be dismissed without notice if committing gross misconduct such as assault, drunkenness, bullying, theft or other severe employment policy breach. Employment contracts could further contain more gross misconduct examples.

To justify the dismissal, the employer must show that it was connected to one or more of the deemed fair by legislation grounds. They also have to show they followed all procedures and be prepared to disprove any allegations made by the employee that there may be any unfair reasons for the dismissal.

The employer must include the leaving date on the final payroll submission to notify the Revenue Commissions that employment has been ceased so that a new employer receives the correct details. Any remaining payment that the employer owes an employee after leaving should be included in the final payroll submission, including untaken holidays. The employer must also give the employee a payslip and information about what happens to their pension scheme, if applicable. 

In light of an employee's constitutional right to justice and fair procedures, a Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures introduced by The Workplace Relations Commission sets out general dismissal principles:

Procedures guidelines

The Code of Practice indicates what employers should do. While it is technically not legally binding, employers are highly advised to follow it when dismissing an employee.

The procedure should be progressive, starting with an oral warning, followed by a written warning, a final written warning, suspension without pay and dismissal. For each of these stages, specific procedures need to be put in place. There may be instances when dismissal is warranted at an earlier stage of the process. 

During the time of awaiting the outcome of an investigation into an alleged breach of discipline, the employee may be suspended on full pay.

Employers should remove warnings from an employee's record after a specified period, advising the employee of that. Good grievance and disciplinary procedure require maintaining adequate records.

Other disciplinary action may include being transferred to another task, demotion or some other appropriate disciplinary action short of dismissal.

Unfair Dismissal in Ireland

Employee protection

An employer must have grounds for dismissing an employee – unfair dismissal in Ireland is covered by the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977.

Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, an employee who has worked for more than one year for the same employer is protected by legislation and has the right to challenge a dismissal, even if still on probation. 

With substantial grounds justifying the dismissal, the employer must show that they acted reasonably. Every employer planning to dismiss an employee for poor performance should apply fair procedures beforehand. This can be notifying the employee that they are dissatisfied with the performance and allow them to improve before proceeding.

The following dismissals are deemed unfair beyond question:

Redundancy Pay & Entitlement in Ireland

Statutory redundancy payment kicks in after two years of continuous work with the employer. However, the law allows the employer and employee to agree on it to start earlier or for the sum to be more than the statutory limit. 

Employees are entitled to two weeks statutory redundancy payment for every year of service, plus a bonus week. A week's compensation is subject to a statutory ceiling, which currently stands at €600 per week. (€31,200 per year). All statutory redundancy payments are tax-free.

Other End of Employment Guidelines

Notice period

Regardless of how long they have been with the company, employees should give at least one week notice to their employers before resigning. However, most employers put a lengthier term contractual notice clause into the employment contract. That could range anywhere from a month for junior roles up to three months for more senior positions. The employer has the option to extend payment in lieu of the notice period. 

Employers too need to give notice before terminating an employment contract. Its length depends on the employee's time with the company and is as follows:

Severance

There is no requirement for employers to pay severance to employees who have been terminated. An employment contract may provide for a severance payment in the event of a termination by consent. Employers commonly require employees to sign an agreement relinquishing their right to take any future legal action against their employer in cases where they are getting an ex gratia severance.  

Holiday Leave in Ireland

There are three different ways of calculating the duration of the annual leave entitlement:

An employee may use whichever of these methods gives the more generous entitlement. When calculating the correct leave, employers should include all hours worked as well as time spent on a leave: annual, maternity, parental, force majeure, adoptive or the first 13 weeks of carer's leave.

Annual leave payment is made in advance at the standard weekly rate. If pay varies, then the amount should be the average employee salary from the 13 weeks preceding the holidays. It's illegal for an employer to pay an allowance instead of the minimum statutory holiday entitlement unless the employment relationship is terminated. In this case, the employee must receive payment for any outstanding annual leave and public holidays, accrued to the date of termination. Any agreement that gives an employee less leave than the statutory minimum is not seen as binding, even if the employee agreed to the terms.

If the employer wants to offer a more generous holiday, they have to indicate that in the employment contract. While the employer can decide when the employee should take the annual leave, they must take into consideration the needs of the employee. An employee who has worked at least eight months is entitled to an unbroken period of 2 weeks' annual leave. 

A common practice in Ireland, carrying annual leave over to the next year is not stipulated in law, and it's up to the employer to decide whether to allow it or not. 

There is a particular 15-month grace period for annual leave carryover for employees who have not been able to take their leave due to an illness.

Public holidays

In Ireland, there are nine public holidays. Not all bank holidays are public holidays, which is the case with Good Friday. However, many businesses recognise Good Friday with either a paid day off or reduced working hours.

The employer can decide how exactly to handle a public holiday and offer one of the below:

Ireland Public Holiday Calendar 2022

DATEWEEK DAYHOLIDAY
1/1/2022SaturdayNew Year's Day
17/3/2022ThursdaySt. Patrick's Day
15/4/2022FridayGood Friday (bank holiday, not a public holiday)
18/4/2022MondayEaster Monday
2/5/2022MondayMay Day
6/6/2022MondayJune Bank Holiday
1/8/2022MondayAugust Bank Holiday
31/10/2022MondayOctober Bank Holiday
25/12/2022SundayChristmas Day (observed on 26th Dec)
26/12/2022MondaySt. Stephen's Day (observed on 27th Dec)

If a public holiday falls on a weekend, a substitute weekday becomes a public holiday, usually the following Monday. However, this is not law, and the employer can choose any of the options above. The employee is still entitled to one-fifth of their weekly wage for a public holiday even if it falls on a weekend or not a typical working day for the business. If an employee works on a public holiday, they should be paid for it according to their rates. This means they are also entitled to benefits for that day.

If an employee's employment ends on a week preceding a public holiday and they have worked for the employer for the previous four weeks, they are entitled to pay for the public holiday. This rule also applies to part-time employees who have a right to the public holiday pay and break by working at least 40 hours in the previous five weeks.

Types of Leave in Ireland

Sick leave

As of 2022, Irish employees are entitled to paid sick days that the employer has to cover . In 2022 that will be 3 days, which will increase incrementally to 10 days by 2025. Any additional days of sick pay and leave should be outlined in the employment contract. Employers have two months from the start of employment to give employees a written statement with the terms and conditions related to sickness or injury. Most employment contracts have a maximum period of sick pay entitlement in a specific period, and employers may require the employee to provide a medical certificate when on sick leave.

An employee who is on sick leave during a public holiday is entitled to benefits for the public holiday missed, or the employer may choose to regard the employee as not on sick leave on that day and pay them. Employees on long term sick leave accrue annual leave. If an employee is ill during their annual leave, they could request that the days they are sick are taken out of the annual leave as long as they have a medical certificate.

When an employer terminates the employment, payment in lieu of untaken annual leave may also apply to leave that the employee didn't take due to an illness. This applies if the employee leaves the job within the 15 months grace period that is allowed for leave accrued during long term illness. 

Workers may apply for Illness Benefit if they have enough social insurance contributions for days beyond those covered by employers. If they don't have enough social insurance contributions, they should contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's representative at the local health centre to have their situation assessed.

Maternity leave

All female employees are granted 26 weeks maternity leave no matter how long they have been with the company or how many hours a week they work. On top of that, they can receive an extra 16 weeks of unpaid leave, starting at the end of maternity leave. Mothers must take at least two weeks before the expected birth and at least four weeks after. Entitlement for paid leave depends if the worker has contributed enough to PRSI, as employers are not obligated to pay. Employers can choose to offer paid maternity leave to their employees or to top up the benefit.

Employees who qualify for Maternity Benefit receive €245 weekly and must take at least two weeks and no more than 16 weeks before the baby is due. The remaining weeks can be divided as the employee chooses. Employees are allowed to attend medical visits and appointments during their working hours. A paid extension for the leave is also available in the event of premature birth, corresponding to the period between the baby's actual birth date and the expected start date of the maternity leave.

In the case of stillbirth or miscarriage after the 24th week of pregnancy, the employee is entitled to full maternity leave. Maternity leave is transferred on to fathers in case the mother dies within 40 weeks of birth. If the mother's death is over 24 weeks after the birth, the father is entitled to leave until 40 weeks after birth.

Employees must state their intention to take maternity leave in writing at least four weeks in advance. They should also provide the employer with a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy. For the additional 16 weeks' maternity leave, the employee must provide the employer with another four weeks' notice. They can submit both of those notices at the same time. Another notice requiring a four-week advance is the intention to return to work.

Paternity leave

Additional parents to the newborn/adopted child are entitled to five weeks of paternity leave within the first six months of birth/adoption. Employees may qualify for Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection if they have sufficient PRSI contributions. Paternity allowance is €245 per week. Many employers also provide some level of compensation during that time. Usually, if the employer offers paid leave for maternity leave, they should also offer paternity leave. This ensures they do not discriminate against male employees or adoptive mothers in the case of same-sex families. Employees should notify in written their employees of the intention to take paternity leave at least four weeks in advance. 

Similarly to maternity, paternity too is extended to all employees, regardless of how long they have been with the company or how many hours a week they work. In the case of twins or multiple children adoption, the paternity leave remains two weeks. Time spent on paternity leave is treated as employment and is counted to accumulate annual leave and public holiday entitlement.

If the baby is hospitalised, the employee can ask the employer in writing if they can postpone all or parts of their paternity leave. Fathers are entitled to maternity or adoptive leave if the mother dies. If the father/second mother has not already taken paternity leave, he/she may take it at the end of the maternity or adoptive leave. If the parent entitled to paternity leave dies, their paternity leave may be transferred to the employed surviving parent.

Adoption leave

An adopting parent is entitled to 24 weeks of adoptive leave, which starts on the day the child is placed with them. The parents themselves agree who takes the leave. They also can apply for additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave. Employers have no obligation to pay adoptive leave (unless otherwise agreed). Adoptive parents may be entitled to Adoptive Benefit if they have made enough contributions to PRSI. Similar to maternity leave, employees must notify their employers in writing at least four weeks in advance of their intention to take adoptive and additional adoptive leave, as well as to return to work after the leave.

The employee is entitled to paid time off work to attend preparation classes and pre-adoption meetings with social workers required during the pre-adoption process. They are also allowed to leave for any public holidays and to accumulate annual leave that occurs during your adoptive leave (including additional adoptive leave).

Parent's leave

Each parent is entitled to seven weeks of paid parent's leave during a child's first two years, which can be taken all at once or split in two, and applies to any child born or adopted on or after 1 November 2019. They must give at least six weeks' written notice to the employer before taking the leave. Parents cannot transfer the leave between them unless one parent dies. 

If the employee has made enough PRSI contributions, they will get €245 per week, paid by the government. The employer is not obliged to pay the employee while on parent's leave. However, some employers decide to either pay or top up the pay during the leave period. This can be set out in the contract of employment. Employees keep on building up annual leave while on parent's leave, and they are entitled to public holidays. 

The employer is not allowed to refuse the employee's request; they can only postpone the leave for up to 12 weeks. Reasons for delaying include seasonal variations in the volume of work, no replacement to carry out the work, the nature of the duties, the number of other employees also taking parent's leave. Whatever the reason, the employer has to put it in writing for the employee. It's illegal for an employer to penalise, or threaten an employee with penalisation for proposing to take parent's leave or for taking one. Penalisation includes dismissal, a threat of dismissal, unfair treatment including selection for redundancy or unfavourable change to terms and conditions.

Parental leave

Employees can take parental leave to spend time looking after their children. The leave is unpaid and is a maximum of 26 weeks, which both parents can take. Parents are entitled to it before the child turns twelve, or sixteen if the child has a disability. Unlike the other leaves, this one requires a year's continuous service with the employer before it can be taken. However, if the child is near the age threshold, and the parent has more than three months but less than one year's service with the employer, they will be entitled to pro-rata parental leave. 

If the employee adopts a child between the ages of 10 and 12, they can take parental leave up to two years after the child was placed in their adoptive care. This leave is non-transferable between the parents, except when both parents work for the same employer. The employee must give at least six weeks' notice to the employer and, unless the employer agrees, take the leave as either one continuous period or blocks of six weeks or more. A ten-week gap between two parental leaves is required.

An employer can only refuse a request for parental leave if the employee is not entitled to take it. The employer can, however, postpone the parental leave for up to 6 months but they have to do so before an agreement confirming the parental leave has been signed. Beyond this point, they cannot postpone the parental leave without other written agreements. The only valid reasons for delaying a parental leave are either lack of cover or other employees already being on parental leave. The parental leave must be used only for taking care of the child. In case it's used for any other reason, the employer can cancel it.

Parent's leave, paternity leave, maternity leave and parental leave are different family-related leaves. An employee must apply for each separately. Parent's leave cannot start while the female employee is still on maternity leave.

Carer's leave

Employees are allowed to take unpaid leave to provide full-time care and attention for a person in need. The minimum statutory entitlement is 13 weeks, and the maximum is 104 weeks. It can either be taken as one continuous period or be broken down. If the employee does not take it all at once, they must ensure there is a gap of at least six weeks between each block. 

Employees must be with the same employer for at least 12 months to be eligible for it. They also need to have made enough PRSI contributions. If they do not qualify for it, they may be eligible for a means-tested payment called Carer's Allowance.

The employee must provide a written notice at least six months in advance of their intention to take the leave. If the employee requests less than 13 weeks leave, the employer can refuse on reasonable grounds but must explain in writing why they deny the leave. If the employee needs to care for two people in need of full-time care and attention who live together, they are eligible for carer's leave for each person. This extends their total eligibility for carer's leave to 208 weeks.

If the carer's leave for one person has finished, a new one cannot begin for six months. The employee is only entitled to annual leave and public holidays for the first 13 weeks of carer's leave.

The employer and employee must prepare and sign a document confirming this arrangement at least two weeks before the employee begins the carer's leave. The document must include information on the leave's start date, the duration of the leave, and the form in which the leave will be taken. The employer retains this document and must give the employee a copy.

Carer's leave can be terminated if circumstances change and the person no longer needs full-time care or the employee is no longer in a position to provide it full-time. The employee must give the employer a written notice of their intention to return to work at least four weeks in advance.

The employee cannot be penalised, dismissed or mistreated for taking the leave. This includes unfavourable changes to their conditions of employment and redundancy selection.

Force majeure leave

Employees are entitled to a limited paid force majeure leave for family emergencies due to illness or injury. The leave is capped at three days for 12 months / five days for 36 months.

Force majeure leave is not granted in case of the death of a close family member. 

The employer must be notified as soon as practicably possible about the force majeure leave. As soon as the employee returns to work, they must submit a written application to the employer. The written application should include name, PPS number, name and address of the employer, date(s) on which the employee took force majeure leave and reasons why, and their relationship to the person who was injured or ill. The contract of employment may require the employee to provide a medical certificate. The employer must keep records of all force majeure leave taken by employees. 

Work-related injury

An injury benefit applies to workers who are unfit to work at least three days due to an accident at work while travelling to or from work, a business trip, or from an occupational disease. The employer has to report any accident that results in an employee missing three consecutive days of work to the Health and Safety Authority.

Payments are made from the 7th day of incapacity to work to 26 weeks from the date of the accident. After that period, employees should apply for an illness or disability allowance. For employees who had an accident at work but are not entitled to sick pay, they can apply for Injury Benefit, the weekly payment for which is €203.

General Employee Pay Regulations in Ireland

Minimum wage 

Frequency

Employees are paid either weekly, fortnightly or monthly, with monthly being more common.

Payday

Generally in the last week of each month. The specific day is decided by the employer.

General

Standard hours

Usually 8 hours a day, 39 hours a week.

Typically those hours are stipulated, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, with a minimum of 30 minutes lunch (usually one hour) break.

Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Ireland

The maximum average working week may not exceed 48 hours, calculated as a four-month average. An employee cannot opt out of that statutory requirements, to work longer hours.

Overtime compensation

There is no existing statutory obligation for employers to pay overtime. Some employers choose to pay employees higher rates of pay for overtime, but that's not always the case. In case the job requires the employee to work overtime, the employer should indicate this in the contract and add the pay if offering it.

Sunday working

Employers are required to provide additional compensation to employees that are required to work on Sundays. They can do so through either an allowance, a pay increase or a reasonable paid time off work.

Night work

Night work refers to the work done between midnight and 7:00 am. A night work employee is someone that works at least three hours in that timeframe or who works a nightwork shift for at least half of their working hours in a year. They should not work more than an average of 8 hours in 24 hours. The average is calculated over either two months or a more extended period if it is part of a collective agreement.

Break rights

Employees are entitled to the following breaks, which are not mandatorily paid:

Banded hours

Employees have the right to request a banded hours contract if their contractual working hours over the previous 12 months do not reflect actual working hours. If employees request such agreement, the employer has to provide it unless there is no evidence to support the claim, there have been significant adverse changes to the employer's business in the past 12 months or the hours worked during that time were caused by a temporary situation.

Employee Time Tracking Obligations in Ireland

Employers must keep detailed records of the hours their employees work each day and week, as well as details of any leave granted to them. Records must be kept for 7 years.

The records should include the following:

On May 14 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) created a law that requires employers in every EU member country to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system to time track employees' working hours. The implementation of such systems and the form they take is up to the member states to determine. The objective is to control how many employees work overtime and the state of their health, and to make sure they are paid accordingly, while not exceeding the maximum hours worked. 

As Ireland already has similar regulations put in place since 1997, it is not clear the impact the ruling by the ECJ will have on Irish employers time tracking obligations.

The employer may leave the time-tracking to the employee. However, if an employer notices that this does not work, steps must be taken to intervene. Many companies already have delegation models, but these often only exist on paper and therefore might not be sufficient.

Penalties

Employers who fail to keep records can receive a fine not exceeding €1,900, and an extra €600 per day that the offence continues.

Definition of disability by the law in Ireland

The Disability Act (Government of Ireland, 2005) defines disability as:
“A substantial restriction in the capacity of the person to carry on a profession, business or occupation in the Irish State or to participate in social or cultural life in the Irish State by reason of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment.”

13.5% of the population of Ireland, or 643,131 people have at least one disability.

The law which deals with disability in the workplace is the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015 (EEA). It defines disability in a particular way. It applies to:

Lived Experience #1

One Irish resident has been living in institutional care for most of their life and utilizes a wheelchair to get from one place to another. When they initially took the leap, at the age of twenty, to work and live on their own they started to come across many challenges resulting in them quitting and moving back home. Three years later, they made the decision to try again, but this time with a strong support system. This includes a community of other individuals with disabilities, personal assistant services, and colleagues, which made working as a manager and living independently much easier for them.

“I think once we bring society with us we become part of society, not a subset of society, which is outside society. If we don’t achieve that then society is going to fail.”

Disability Compliance

Employment Requirement and Benefits 

There is currently no quota for companies to employ individuals with disabilities in Ireland. 

In Ireland, everyone has the right to be treated equally regardless of disability. Discrimination during the recruitment process or in the workplace is unlawful.

The Equality Employment Acts 1998-2015 prohibit discrimination under the nine grounds in employment, including disability. The main obligations of employers under the act include the following:

Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005 sets out the legal obligations of public service bodies:

Lived Experience #2

A blind Irish resident had a difficult time finding a job upon graduating from a post-secondary institution, until a year later when they finally got to secure one. During this new chapter, they were thrown into a world where they were no longer eligible for their medical card, which meant that they would have to spend 10-15 percent of their salary on health costs.

“The HSE seemed to believe that my blindness had been cured overnight with my job. They didn’t factor in the number of doctor and hospital visits I have each year. My rights as a person with disabilities should never change.”

Allowances & benefits 

For the individuals who work

Disability allowance

A weekly allowance paid to people with a disability, starting at 16 years of age. If you are in education when you turn 16, you can continue to attend school. If you qualify for Disability Allowance you may also get extra social welfare benefits (about  €140 weekly) with your payment and other supplementary welfare payments. Employees with a disability who live alone also qualify for Living Alone Allowance.

Free transportation

If you qualify for free travel, you are issued with a card that you must carry with you when using public transport. Free travel is available on all State public transport (bus, rail and Dublin's LUAS service) with some exceptions. In some cases, a Free Travel Companion Card is available which allows a person to travel with the holder (if they are unable to travel alone). 

If you are entitled to free travel and you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, you are entitled to a Free Travel Card which allows your partner to accompany you free of charge when travelling. (This does not apply to people under age 66 who are getting Carer's Allowance or who are nominated carers for people getting Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance from the Department of Social Protection).

Domiciliary Care Allowance

A monthly payment for a child with a severe disability, based on the impact of the disability. The child must meet the disability criteria (here). At this time, Full-time carers are entitled to EUR 309.50 per week. You may also be entitled to Increase for a Qualified Child. Parents who work and care for the child only two2 days a week are entitled to a half rate (EUR 154.85).

The Personal Reader Grant (PRG)

Blind or visually impaired individuals who need assistance with job-related reading may be entitled to a grant to employ a Personal Reader under the PRG scheme. The government will pay an hourly fee, in line with the current minimum wage. It will be paid for an agreed period up to 640 hours a year.

The Ability Programme

The Ability Programme provides funding to 27 local, regional and national projects in the Republic of Ireland that focus on bringing young people with disabilities between the ages of 15 and 29 closer to the labour market. The programme promotes positive pathways into education, training and employment for participants. It has an overall budget of up to €16m from 2018 to 2021, is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Social Protection (DSP), and administered by Pobal.

Lived Experience #3

An Irish resident who’s unable to walk applied for disability allowance on four separate occasions and was turned down each time simply because of their young age.

“It’s not like I could tell my spine, sorry, you can’t fall apart because you are too young. I could honestly have killed myself with the stress. I cried constantly, I hope to never, ever have to repeat anything like it. In 11 months, I had seven medical assessments.”

"Not being believed was one of the hardest things. It took 16 months in total to get disability allowance — it was so cruel. On my last ever assessment the lady doctor was actually horrified I had been turned down so often, she said she would fix everything, and she did.”

For Companies 

Wage subsidy scheme

Offered by The Department of Social Protection, entitles the employer to €5.30 per hour for every hour worked, provided employment is for a minimum of 21 hours per week.

Reasonable Accommodation Fund

Under the Reasonable Accommodation Fund, the department can help employers and employees with a disability to take appropriate measures to help a person with a disability to access, improve or retain their employment by providing the following grants:

EmployAbility Service

A free confidential service, supported by The Department of Social Protection, and works to place people with disabilities in employment of their choice, based on their personal interests and capabilities. It offers a free job matching and employment placement service that matches your specific recruitment needs.

JobsPlus

JobsPlus is an employer incentive which encourages and rewards employers who employ job seekers on the Live Register. Employers are paid an incentive monthly in arrears over a 2-year period. It provides 2 levels of regular payments, €7,500 and €10,000 respectively.

Remote Work

The sudden shift to remote work has also presented opportunities for some persons with disabilities. The concept and practice of remote working has been a feature of the working life of those persons with disabilities who have had access to reasonable accommodation measures that provide flexible and part time work. The NDA advises that a move to adopt a more widespread remote working strategy would mean more people with disabilities can be facilitated to work, as some often cite transport issues and the work environment as challenges to getting and retaining a job. 

The 2019 report on Remote Work in Ireland, developed under Pillar four of Future Jobs Ireland 2019, is concerned with increasing participation in the labour force and recognised how remote working can increase inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce. This was followed by the National Remote Working Strategy, published in 2021 where the Government commits to facilitating increased remote work in the future in a way that reaps the many benefits and mitigates negative side-effects. 

This strategy recognises the potential benefits to persons with disabilities stating In the case of people with a disability or a chronic illness, remote work offers a substantial opportunity by removing a commute and allowing for a more flexible schedule. Widespread remote working has the potential to attract people with a disability to the workforce whilst creating better opportunities for career progression. 

Accommodating Employees in a WFH Environment 

The Employment Equality Acts oblige employers to make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities.  An employer must take ‘appropriate measures’ to meet the needs of disabled people in the workforce. This means they must make arrangements that will enable a person who has a disability to:

Reasonable accommodation does not mean that an employer has to recruit, promote, retain or provide training to a person who does not have the capacity to do a particular job. However, an employer cannot decide that a person with a disability is incapable of doing a particular job without considering whether there are appropriate measures which they could take to support the person to carry out the required duties.

Appropriate measures mean effective and practical changes that the employer puts in place to enable employees with a disability to carry out their work on an equal footing with others. These include:

The employer is not obliged to provide anything that the person would normally provide for themselves. For example, an employer would not be expected to provide hearing aids for a person with impaired hearing.

In order to know which appropriate measures to put in place, employers need to understand the practical needs of people with disabilities, including those of people with experience of mental health difficulties.  This can be gained through consultation with employees with disabilities, through additional information on this website and through guidance from the National Disability Authority.

An employer might not have to provide these types of appropriate measures if it meant that the employer would suffer a ‘disproportionate burden’. In order to establish what a ‘disproportionate burden’ is for the employer, several things are taken into account.

These include:

Before an employer can claim that providing reasonable accommodation measures or facilities would place them under a ‘disproportionate burden’, they must look at the possibility of obtaining public funding, grants and so on. If help is available to them, it might make the changes possible. Many reasonable accommodation measures would not necessarily have a cost implication – such as flexible work arrangements or facilitating part-time work.

Lived Experience #4

An Irish resident with limited body mobility says that the flexibility that comes with remote work is incentive enough to favor it. However, they prefer a hybrid set up to get the best of both worlds while being able to manage their energy efficiently.

"An employer might think it’s a lot easier and cheaper to keep a person with disabilities working from home rather than build accessibility into the workplace – and that’s isolating for a person with disabilities if their only option is working from home. And if they don’t get basic support like good transport, then it can’t work for them."

“For remote working to be meaningful, especially in rural areas, it needs to be supported with proper services like transport. I’m not even talking about big routes, it’s super local instead. A small route to go to the nearest shop and back. Without that, I’d not consider going back [to rural areas].”

General Guidelines

Working From Home Policy in Ireland

Employers must provide employees working from home with the appropriate equipment for work, which might include laptop, mouse, monitor, keyboard and headset. Employers may provide office furniture, telephone, mobile, broadband, software to allow work from home, scanner, printer and laptop without triggering benefit-in-kind contributions, as long as their private use is minimal.

eWorking

eWorking is a tax-relief initiative by the Irish government for employers with employees working from home on a part-time or full-time basis. Employers may pay up to €3.20 per employee, per day without deducting taxes (PAYE, PRSI, USC). Any amount that is more than €3.20 per day paid by the employer will be taxed. This tax relief is aimed at covering the additional costs of working from home, such as light and heat, incurred by employees.

COVID-19

The Irish government requests, where possible that employers allow their employees to work from home to slow the spread for the COVID-19 virus.

Health & safety at home

The responsibility for health and safety at work rests with the employer regardless of whether an employee works remotely. Safety, health and welfare at work also covers psychosocial aspects such as bullying and work-related stress.

Employers duties include:

Employees, on the other hand, are also responsible for taking care of themselves. Their responsibilities include:

Eye Test

Employees using laptops, computer screens or tablets, may be eligible for an appropriate eye test, which is covered by the employer. The employee must use the electronic device for a significant part of their normal work (every day for continuous periods of more than 1 hour).

The frequency of the eye test is down to the employer to decide taking into consideration the age of employees and the intensity of the work in front of the screen. Eye and eyesight tests must be made available for employees who experiences visual difficulties, especially if they may be caused by the screens.

If through the examination the doctor or ophthalmologist discover that the employee needs lenses for work done on a computer, the employer must pay for basic frames and lenses. If the employee is entitled to any social welfare entitlement, the employer can use that. 

If an employee already wears glasses or contact lenses and they need their regular change of lenses or glasses, the employer does not have to pay for the frames and lenses, just the eye test. 

Workspace Guidelines in Ireland

Employers should provide appropriate work from home equipment to employees. This includes laptop, mouse, monitor, keyboard and headset. In addition, employers are advised to take care of the home office furniture such as ergonomic desk and chair, and consider covering expenses for telephone, mobile, broadband, software and any other items necessary for doing the work. When these are predominantly used for professional purposes, they do not trigger benefit in kind taxation.

Sharing a Work from Home questionnaire with the employee is an excellent start before arranging to provide the above. Questions to ask include:

Working conditions

Employers have to carry out a risk assessment for the home office of employees, which includes all hazards and identify what steps they need to take to deal with them.

The employer must also prepare a safety statement, which is based on the risk assessment. The statement should also contain the details of people in the workforce who are responsible for safety issues. Employees should be given access to this statement and employers should review it on a regular basis.

In a work from home context, some of the biggest risks are less to do with the setup and more to do with isolation, working longer hours, and blurring the lines between work and family life. Individually or in combination, these could result in employee burnout. Extending support to employees at all times during working hours is essential.

Employers should consider:

Terms & Conditions of Employment in Ireland

Probation period

There are no specific rules or requirements surrounding the use of probationary periods. Probationary periods are common and generally last three to six months, with an option to extend to a maximum of eleven months from the employment start date. The terms must be included in the employment contract, including the length of the probationary period.

Grievance and disciplinary procedures

For all grievance and disciplinary procedures, employers must have a written document following the Code of Practice: Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures. This sets out the stages and process followed when dealing with the alleged shortcomings or complaints of an employee. Employees have to receive a copy of these procedures within 28 days of the start of their employment. Generally, the procedures allow for an informal process/warnings, which escalate to a formal proceeding with written warnings and ultimately to dismissal. Employees have the right to ask for a written statement about the reasons behind dismissal, which the employer has to provide within 14 days of the request. 

General Employee Rights in Ireland

Employment agreement

Every employee in Ireland has the right to a comprehensive written employment contract, which covers a lot of the subjects that are included in Irish employment law. While many employers give their employees a contract before employment commences, there are two deadlines that employers need to adhere to.

Within five days of starting the job, employees need to be notified about what is known as core terms of the contract, which cover:

  1. Employer and employee full name
  2. The address of the employer
  3. Length of the contract (if the contract is temporary or fixed-term)
  4. Pay period ( week/fortnight/ month)
  5. The usual length of a working day and a working week

Then within two months of the start date, the employer has to put in writing the following:  

The employer must sign and date the contract, which should be in English. 

Statement of pay

Employees must be given a written statement of pay or a pay slip with every salary payment. A payslip will show the gross salary and detail all deductions. The employer must have the employee's permission to make deductions from their salary unless these deductions are authorised by law (Income tax, PRSI and USC). Remote employers can send electronic copies of the payslip. (You can read more about the steps it takes to set up international payroll here).

Safety in the workplace

The employer is responsible for ensuring that employees have a safe workplace. This includes protection from violence at work, harassment and bullying, alongside any environmental dangers. Employers are expected to work to prevent any workplace injuries and ill health.

Every employer has to carry out a risk assessment for the workplace and identify any hazards present in the workplace - including psychological stress. Employers should assess the risks arising from such dangers and identify the steps to be taken to deal with any threats. 

One important point to remote employers is that the same level of responsibility for the safety and health of employees applies when employees work from home. This means, employers should offer similar supervision, education and training, and implement sufficient control measures to protect homeworkers. (An example is Shopify Ireland, which asks  new employees to send a video of their office). The employer should accept liability for any accidents or injuries of a homeworker as for any other employee. They should also do so if the employee is a remote worker for them and the employer is based in another country.

Right to disconnect

In 2021, Ireland passed new legislation to keep up with technological advances and the uptake of remote work by creating a new employee right that gives them the right to disconnect from work outside working hours.

The right to disconnect applies to all types of employees, regardless of their work location (office or home). The goal is to help employees disengage from all forms of work (including checking emails or taking phone calls) outside working hours without feeling obligated to work longer than stated on their employment agreement.

Moreover, employers cannot penalise employees for refusing to do work outside their agreed working hours and should respect their right to disconnect.

Employers are encouraged to develop a Right to Disconnect Policy to address the reality and needs of the company and clearly address the instances where they may have a legitimate reason to contact staff outside of regular working hours. For teams comprised of members working in different time zones, it is essential to emphasise that there is no need to respond within their colleagues' work hours. The Policy should also emphasise to the employees that there is an expectation that they disconnect from work outside of their regular working hours and during annual leave.

Employee Protections in Ireland

Protection from discrimination

According to Irish employment law, everyone has the right to be treated equally regardless of their gender, age, race, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, disability, or religion. One specific for Ireland ethnic origin anti-discrimination ground is Traveller community membership. Discrimination on any of the above grounds during the hiring process or when in employment is unlawful.

Discrimination may be direct or indirect. Treating one individual less favourably over another is seen as direct discrimination. Indirect discrimination, in contrast, occurs when an employer applies a particular condition to all employees that puts certain groups of employees at a disadvantage. 

Personal information protection

Personal data of employees in Ireland (as well as anywhere in the EU) is protected by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under GDPR, employers, remote or not, must comply with the following principles when handling the personal data of employees:

Organisations should have a Privacy Statement, which employees can easily access explaining what data is held and what it is used for. Since employees are allowed to access their personal data, employers need to have in place a procedure for how these requests are handled within one month. 

Under GDPR legislation, employees have the right to:

Protection against unfair dismissal

Every employee in Ireland has protection against unfair dismissal. Dismissals can be justified on the employee's competence, capability, or conduct. The following dismissals are automatically deemed to be unfair:

There are instances when an employer can dismiss an employee without notice. That is usually for committing gross misconduct such as assault, theft, or severe breach of employment policies. 

Protection according to classification

The Protection of Employees Act 2003 grants part-time and fixed-term employees the following rights:

Whistleblower protection

Whistleblowers in Ireland are protected from penalties and dismissal under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014. It protects workers who disclose one or more relevant (or potential) wrongdoings in the workplace. They must be revealing proper information and not a mere allegation or expression of concern which shows one or more relevant wrongdoings. Whistleblowers can be both current and former employees, as well as trainees, independent contractors, agency workers and people on work experience.

Wrongdoing is widely defined as:

Even if the disclosed information is proved to be incorrect, the person is still protected if they had a reasonable belief in the information. If an employee is dismissed from their employment because they made a protected disclosure, that dismissal would be regarded as unfair. In those cases, employees have the right to appeal the dismissal as unfair. If their claim succeeds, the employee could be granted up to five years' gross salary compensation.

The European Union is currently working on legislation which, if enacted, will broaden the scope of the Protection Disclosures Act 2014. 

Protection in case of business transfer 

Superior protection is extended to employees in case of a business transfer, which includes the sale of assets or business activity, or a change of service provider. This is governed by the European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003 (TUPE). If the employer does not change, neither do the employment contracts. All rights, duties and liabilities remain in place, and the buyer of the employer’s shares inherits them. 

If a TUPE situation arises:

Required Employee Benefits in Ireland

Pension

Irish residents receive State Pension payments once they reach the age of 66, provided they contributed sufficiently to social insurance. According to Irish employment law, the employer isn't required to set up or contribute to a pension scheme as a benefit to the employee. However, if there is no pension scheme in place or the employee hasn't joined one, the employer has to provide access to a personal pension plan through a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) provider within the first six months of employment. (See here the full list of statutory benefits in Ireland and a benchmark on what are typical benefits in kind offered by Irish employers).

Redundancy payment

According to Irish employment law, when an employer makes an employee redundant, they have to compensate them. For every year of service, they have to compensate the employee with a two weeks' pay, which is capped at €600 per week, plus one additional week's wage. 

Paid time off

Irish employment law guarantees a certain amount of paid leave that employees get (see our Irish benefits benchmark). However, employers are allowed to alter that amount (add, but not subtract) and have to agree with employees first. The annual leave pay is at the standard weekly rate. 

Job Security in Ireland

Work Unions

All employees in Ireland have a constitutional right to join or leave a union; however, employers have a legal right to accept or not the union as representing the workforce. If employers choose to recognise one union, they must then recognise other unions organised by employees. Employees cannot be dismissed from their job for being a member of a union.

Mandatory Employee Benefits in Ireland

Personal retirement savings account (PRSA)

All companies, which either do not offer an occupational pension scheme or where employees must wait longer than six months to join the occupational pension scheme, must offer access to a PRSA.

There are no mandatory contributions by the employer, just access to a PRSA. It is up to the employee whether they join the PRSA or not. Access must be provided within six months of the employee starting employment.

Non-Mandatory Employee Benefits in Ireland

Most common non-mandatory benefits in Ireland. As most of them are benefits in kind, they are subject to income tax, which employees need to pay. According to tax regulations, employees are exempted from paying tax on one-off benefits in kind of up to €500 per year.

Cycle-to-work scheme

This is a government initiative that allows employers to sign up to a provider that offers employees an opportunity to purchase bikes and accessories utilising their gross income and hence saving on tax, PRSI and USC costs.

Employee assistance programme

This is a confidential counselling programme and information service that is available to all employees and their families.

Employer pension contribution

Contributing to pension schemes at independent funds is becoming more common for both employers and employees. If a pension scheme is approved under the relevant legislation, it may benefit from various tax concessions, subject to certain limits. In the upcoming years, Ireland will be rolling the possibility of auto-enrolment into pension funds.

Private Healthcare

All residents in Ireland are entitled to receive health care through the public health care system (Health Service Executive), funded by general taxation. However, many employers still offer their employees private health insurance. Since benefits in kind are taxable, they should be taken into consideration when calculating an employee's net take-home pay.

Life Assurance

Some employers offer employees life insurance after the probation period. This also represents a taxable benefit in kind.

Income Protection

Income protection provides a replacement income if an employee is unable to work due to an illness or injury. Employers commonly offer this benefit in Ireland. 

Paid Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Leave

Employees are not guaranteed pay during their maternity, paternity and adoption leave, although they may qualify for benefits from the Department of Social Protection.

Many employers provide for some level of compensation during that time. In addition, many employers offer extra time off on top of the statutory limit.

Gym Membership

In some companies, a gym membership is provided as an employee benefit. 

Dental and Vision Plan

Some private healthcare packages include dental and vision benefits.

Extra Holidays

Some companies give employees 4-8 extra days off free or offer the ability to purchase additional days.

Stock Options

The complexities of issuing options to employees in Ireland are intricate and subject to tax. Regulations are still in a grey area. For more information, get in touch with us directly.

Work Flexibility

Some companies offer compressed working weeks during the summer months, earlier finish on Fridays, flexible working hours and work from home options.

Training and Development Courses

Many companies offer training opportunities for their employees, whether that is through external providers or in-house. As long as the training directly links with the job a person is doing or what the business does, and helps facilitate work that is needed in the company, employees are exempt from paying tax on them. Another contribution related to training is tuition reimbursement.

Employer Contributions in Ireland

Employers in Ireland must deduct taxes from employees’ pay. These taxes include Pay As You Earn (PAYE/income tax), Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and Universal Social Charge (USC). The amount deducted will depend on how much the employee earns and any allowances or credits the employee might claim. Employers are obliged to make contributions to PRSI.

Pay related social insurance (PRSI)

Employers’ and employees’ social insurance contributions are paid into the Social Insurance Fund.

The social insurance rate contributions by the employer are:

Employee Contributions in Ireland

Income tax

Employers deduct tax on the income of their employees directly from their salaries through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. The amount of tax that the employee contributes depends on the amount of the income that they earn and on their personal circumstances. There are several tax credits and reliefs that may offset employees’ tax liabilities, which they may apply for through the Revenue Commissions.

Tax rates and bands for 2020

PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCESANNUAL INCOME THRESHOLDINCOME TAX RATE
Single, widowed or a surviving civil partner without qualifying children€35,300.00€35,300 at 20%
Balance at 40%
Single, widowed or a surviving civil partner qualifying for Single Person Child Carer Credit€39,300.00€39,300 at 20%
Balance at 40%
Married or in a civil partnership (only one spouse with income)€44,300.00€44,300 at 20%
Balance at 40%
Married or in a civil partnership (both spouses with income)€70,600.00€70,600 at 20%
Balance at 40%

Pay related social insurance (PRSI)

PRSI contributions entitle employees that meet the qualifying criteria to the full range of social insurance payments that are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

The social insurance rate contributions are 4.0% by the employee if they earn more than €352 per week.

Employees that earn €352 or less per week (before tax deductions) do not pay any social insurance. However, they are still covered by Class A social insurance, and their employer still pays PRSI contributions.

Universal social charge (USC)

All employees who earn more than €13,000 annually owe USC, which is another progressive tax. Their employer deducts it at the time of processing payroll through PAYE (Pay As You Earn). Contributions to USC determine the eligibility of employees and their family members for many insurance benefits, including unemployment assistance. 

The USC is due on gross income, including notional pay (the value of non-cash benefits, such as benefit-in-kind) and pension contributions, after relief and allowances have been applied. 

Universal social charge for 2020

BRACKETRATE
Up to €12,0120.5%
€12,013 - €19,8742%
€19,875 - €70,0444%

Benefits in Kind

All employees who earn more than €1,905 per year pay income tax, PRSI and USC on the value of any benefits and benefits in kind they receive. The employer makes the deduction during payroll.

The rules that apply to benefits in kind, however, vary. Generally, the value of the benefit in kind is the cost the employer incurs for the benefit unless the employee has made any contribution as well. Special rules apply to the following benefits in kind: 

The following benefits in kind are taxable:

The following benefits in kind are not taxable:

Taxation of benefits (other than benefits-in-kind), is made on the value of the benefit. For example, an employer provides a holiday voucher worth €2,000. This is treated as €2,000 income for tax purposes and is taxed accordingly. 

More information on Benefits in Kind from Irish tax authority.

Overview

CURRENCY
€ The Euro
WORKING HOURS
39-40 hours / week
PUBLIC/BANK HOLIDAYS
9 days per year
CAPITAL
Dublin
LANGUAGE
Irish & English
REMOTE WORKERS
216,000
MINIMUM HOURLY SALARY
€10.50
TAX YEAR
1st Jan - 31st Dec
DATE FORMAT
DD / MM / YYYY
MISCLASSIFICATION PENALTIES
Statutory rights, minumum wage, holiday pay, unpaid taxes, plus interest and penalties for employee misclassification.
FUN FACT
Over 80 million people around the world claim Irish heritage.
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