Ireland Employment Contracts

Enquire Now

Ireland Employment Contracts

A successful business largely depends on its employees. By creating working contracts that include the right terms and benefits there will be no misconception and the perfect work-life balance can be created. At Bradford Jacobs, this is our aim, and we support companies in over a hundred countries with creating compliant and balanced labor contracts.

Our team in Germany keeps track of the German laws and regulations on a daily basis to be duly aware of updates that can be implemented in working contracts. By using our PEO and EOR service we can provide compliant labor contracts for employees in Germany including local benefits.

To support your plans, we made this guide including the basics of employment contracts in Germany. After reading this guide you will know everything about social security, notice periods, and the average working hours.

How do you Hire Ireland Employees?

Foreign companies hiring employees for their expansion into Ireland must comply with extensive tax and social insurance regulations. The framework of legislation is based on laws, statutes, trade union and collective agreements. This means employers must take account of employee benefits and entitlements when they draw up contracts.

In Ireland the employer-employee relationship is governed by employment laws setting basic minimums, such as the National Minimum Wage Act, the Organization of Working Time Act, the Maternity Protection Act, the Protection of Employment and Unfair Dismissals Act. Taxation and social security are overseen by the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection.

Ireland has no legal requirement for a formal written contract, though this offers protection for both employers and employees. Employers, though, must offer at least a written statement covering ‘core items’ of the agreement within five days of the employee starting work and the full terms within two months.

Types of employment arrangements in Ireland cover full-time permanent employees on an open-ended or indefinite contract; fixed-term employees working on a special project or defined timescale; part-time workers, seasonal and casual workers. Additionally, collective or trade union agreements may also affect contract types.

When hiring and drawing up employee contracts all of these must be considered.

Employment Contracts in Ireland

There are a variety of contracts in Ireland. The main types are:

  1. Open-ended, indefinite employment contract: Most employees work under these full-time contracts, which are in force until either the employer or employee ends the agreement. The contract need not be in writing, but the employer must provide a written statement of ‘core items’ within five days of the employee starting work. These are:

    - Names and addresses of employer and employee
    - Start and end date of a fixed-term contract
    - Method of calculating pay and payment schedule
    - Normal working hours and working week

    The employer must supply written statement / contract of full terms within two months.

  2. Fixed-term employment contract: These cover employment that ends on a specific date or is tied to a particular project, in which case an end date does not have to be set. A fixed-term contract can be for a number of months or more than a year. Generally, fixed-term contracts provide the same benefits as indefinite contracts under the Terms of Employment Act and the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term) Act. However, certain restrictions apply to fixed-term contracts:

    - They cannot be renewed more than twice or exceed a total of four years, after which employees must be offered an indefinite contract
    - If an employee’s fixed-term contract ends but the individual is re-employed within three months, that is considered continuous employment

  3. Trial period or probationary employment contract: Contracted trial periods typically last between three and 12 months and can be extended. If terminated during the trial period, the Unfair Dismissal Act applies if termination is due to:

    - Trade union membership
    - Pregnancy related issues
    - Entitlements relating to maternity, parental, adoptive or caregiver’s leave
    - The Act may also apply if the probation exceeds 12 months

Employers are expected to clearly state what is expected during the trial period, give feedback on progress via probation review meetings. If the employee fails, the probation period only one week’s notice applies.

Other contract types include:

  • Temporary / agency employment contract: The European Union Directive on Temporary Agency Work stipulates all temporary or agency workers are treated the same as full-time workers as applies to working time, breaks, annual leave, and public holidays, pay, pregnancy and nursing mothers and discrimination. The EU Directive was absorbed into Irish law by the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act of 2012. Whoever pays the agency worker is considered to be their employee.

  • Part-time employment contract: Part-time workers are defined in law as those whose normal hours are less than those of a worker in comparable employment and their rights are protected under the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act. The Act generally applies to any part-time worker in Ireland who:

    - Has a contract of employment or apprenticeship
    - Job shares
    - Is employed through an agency
    - Are state employees

    There is no legal right to change from full-time work to part-time.

  • Youth Employment Contract: The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act stipulates the maximum working week for under-18s is eight hours a day, 40 hours a week in total including if they have more than one job.

Collective Agreements:

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) apply where employers or employers’ federations negotiate with trade unions over employment conditions such as pay, benefits and entitlements. Any collective agreement cannot undercut statutory minimums stipulated by Irish employment laws.

Unlike in other European Union (EU) nations, employers in Ireland are not legally required to negotiate with unions over employment conditions. Ireland brought in the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act in 2015 to encourage collective bargaining, but this remains largely voluntary.

Around a quarter of Irish workers are in Trade Unions and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has close to 50 members. A 2019 EU survey assessed that less than a third of private sector companies “engage with trade unions for collective bargaining.”

What Employment Laws exist in Ireland?

Ireland employment laws are based on a variety of legislation setting basic minimums, such as the National Minimum Wage Act, the Organization of Working Time Act, the Maternity Protection Act, the Protection of Employment and Unfair Dismissals Act. Laws also cover contracts applying to different types of workers, such as the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act. Taxation and social security are overseen by the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection with disputes adjudicated by the Labor Court.

Certain statutory minimums and entitlements must apply to any contract, these include:

  • National Minimum Wage: The 2021 minimum for those over 20 years old is €10.20 (US$12.10) per hour, equating to €20,685 per year (US$24,563), €1,723 (US$2,946) per month and €397.80 (US$472.38) per week for full-time workers. Lower bands apply to younger ages: 19yrs - €9.18 per hour; 18yrs - €8.16 per hour; under 18yrs €7.14 per hour.

  • Working Hours: The Organization of Working Time Act (1997) limits hours to 48 a week on average, including overtime, calculated over a period of months – four months for most employees; six months for employees in such as security, airports, docks agriculture and those in the public sector; 12 months when employer-employee agreements are certified by the Labor Court.

  • Health and Safety: The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act lays out the requirements for employers to provide a safe and healthy occupational environment for their staff, with the risk of fines and penalties applied by the Health and Safety Authority for non-compliance.

  • Privacy and Data Protection: Employers must only retain information about their employees relevant to their role, as covered by the Workplace Relations Commission, the Data Protection Acts, the Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Employment Equality Acts (EEA).

  • Leave Entitlement: The minimum is four paid weeks per year with entitlement calculated on a ‘leave year’ between April 1 and March 31. Employers must include all working hours spent on maternity, paternity, parental, adoptive leave, other annual leave and the first 13 weeks of leave for caregivers. Holiday pay is made in advance or averaged against the previous 13 weeks if weekly pay varies.

  • Maternity Protection: This is covered by the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act. Employers are required to carry out risk assessment for pregnant mothers and when breastfeeding to ensure they have a safe work environment. If such measures are impractical the expectant / nursing mother must be given ‘health and safety’ leave.

  • Probation: Contracted trial periods typically last between three and 12 months and can be extended. If terminated during the trial period, the Unfair Dismissal Act applies if it is due to trade union membership, pregnancy related issues, entitlements relating to maternity, parental, adoptive or caregiver’s leave.

  • Termination and Severance Pay: Employees are protected by the Redundancy Payments, Protection of Employment and Unfair Dismissals Acts. Employees can ask for a written statement as to why they were dismissed from the employer, who must follow strict procedures specified in legislation and give a legal reason for dismissal.

    Tax-free statutory redundancy payments are based on two weeks’ pay for each year’s employment between 16 and 66 years of age, plus an additional one week’s pay capped at €600 (US$713). Individuals must have been employed by the company for at least two years after the age of 16 and qualify with sufficient PRSI contributions.

Translating Ireland Employment Contracts

There is no statutory requirement for contract translation in Ireland. They are usually written in English but should be in a language the employee understands. In this case, compliance to Ireland’s law’s in both languages should be given importance.

How do you Onboard Ireland Employees Internationally?

The most efficient and cost-effective method of onboarding employees into Ireland is through a global recruitment company such as Bradford Jacobs.

Transferring staff from abroad demands compliance with strict and protracted procedures to obtain visas and permits – a long and tedious process. Making mistakes risks sanctions, wasting time and money and with the likelihood the employee will not be allowed to start work, or may even be refused entry on arrival at the airport. In Ireland, different rules apply to European Union and European Economic Area citizens, and those classed as being ‘Third Country’ nationals.

The alternative is to locate and recruit staff from within Ireland with Bradford Jacobs. This takes a thorough knowledge of the employment market. We have that knowledge and will clear the way for your expansion.

Our Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR) solutions manage every stage of the process from finding the employee to seeing their first check is paid on time. The result? Your new employees are quickly operational as part of a team making their mark in your new territory.

Tick all the boxes

Bradford Jacobs’ recruitment specialists will guide you and your employees through every step of onboarding into Ireland. From talent acquisition to the complexities of employment legislation, payroll and tax, Bradford Jacobs ticks all the compliance boxes, and we ensure every aspect is contractually watertight.

The global reach of our Professional Employer Organization (PEO) recruitment platforms combined with the in-country knowledge of our Employer of Record (EOR) specialist teams guarantees a successful and smooth transition of your employees into your new territory.

To learn more about our PEO and EOR packages, contact one of our sales specialists today.