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Hours of Work in Ireland

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:

  • A 15-minute break if the worker has worked 4½+ hours
  • A 30-minute break if the worker has worked 6+ hours, which may include the first break
  • 11 hours rest between working days
  • Weekly rests must be an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work

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:

  • Name and address of each employee, their PPS number and a brief statement of their duties as an employee
  • A copy of the statement of employment provided to each employee under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994–2014
  • Days and total hours worked in each week by each employee
  • The days and hours of leave granted to each employee in each week for annual leave or a public holiday, and the payment made to each employee for that leave
  • Any additional day's pay for a public holiday provided in each week to each employee
  • A copy of a written record of a notification of working time issued to an employee as provided for in Section 17 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
  • The records kept by an employer must be presented in a format that can be easily understood by an inspector, who has the power to get full access to these records

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.

This page was last updated on 
22 September, 2022,
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