Employ Candidates Compliantly in Ireland

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  1. Overview: Ireland
  2. Global HR Compliance
  3. Global PEO and payroll
  4. Work permit for hiring expats via PEO
  5. Expand without a company set up
  6. Contractor vs. employee: which is better?
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Global HR Compliance in Ireland

If you hire international workforce, or plan to hire, then Hiring and Firing Workforce in Ireland Guide below will help you understand the nuances of labor legislation in the country.

There are two main reasons for companies hiring foreign workforce:

  • Expanding into foreign markets to sell company product or products there. In this case, companies hire sales representatives who would exclusively represent their product in the target market and sell it to their local client base.
  • Hiring the right foreign talent with a unique expertise, often related to IT sphere that cannot be found in the home country or that costs less compared to local specialist with similar skills.

After you have found the right candidate, the question is how to hire and provide compensation to this person so you as a business remain 100% compliant when working with global workforce. Another thing to consider is whether you want to keep the talent long-term and how you can do that.

If you need to hire foreign workforce in Ireland so you can expand there, then our Global Employer of Record solution may be of help. We help you legally hire and reward your foreign workforce by making them employees via a global employment outsourcing service. This is simple as employ your in-house workforce with the only difference that workers can live anywhere in the world and Acumen International would be their legal employer on your behalf. This means we would bear all employment risks, not you. Also, we manage bonuses, vacations, sick leave and can rent the office and a car for your foreign sales representatives if that is what you need.

With our solution, you can test new foreign markets before deciding whether you are going to get established there. You gain flexibility and expand with reduced costs, and easily withdraw from the unattractive countries.

We are experts in global workforce employment in Ireland, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources.

Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need, regardless of time zones. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforce satisfies all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Ireland.

Hiring and Firing Workforce in Ireland Guide

Ireland is often said to be the best place to do business. Compared with most EU countries, Ireland has one of the leading-edge telecoms infrastructure, highly educated labor force and a relatively cheap and stable labor cost. That notwithstanding, there are still some challenges to meet in order to successfully penetrate and do business there. The need for one to grasp and comply with the country’s employment regulatory framework always poses a serious threat to one’s enterprise.

The good news is that there is an alternative way to go about this situation. All you need to do is employ the services of a locally sourced provider who knows the ins and outs of the employment law in Ireland. Global Employer of Record is all you need to do that.

Below are some of the key facts about doing business in Ireland.

Hiring and Firing in Ireland

#Employment Agreements

Permanent employment contracts

The permanent contract of employment is easily the most common form of employment contract in Ireland. This is obviously an open-ended contract whereby the employee agrees to perform certain services for a fixed number of hours per week and the employer, in turn, agrees to remunerate the employee for the work that they do.  Perhaps the most significant point to note in relation to permanent contracts of employment is that once 52 weeks of continuous service have passed, the employee cannot be dismissed without cause.  It’s common to stipulate a probationary period so the employer can swiftly move to end the relationship if it’s obvious that the employee is not a good fit.

Casual employment contracts

This is a comprehensive employment contract for casual workers that complies with The Labour Law. Zero hours are no longer allowed by law. Instead, this agreement provides the employee with a range of hours for which he or she is expected to work. It also covers all the legal requirements for information to be given to an employee. This casual employment contract covers all legal requirements for information to be given to an employee.

Fixed-term contracts

A comprehensive employment contract for any organisation that employs staff on fixed term contracts, whether for projects, seasonal increases in work or to cover full-time employees on leave. It is a superb framework for fair, full and easily understood protection of the employer and compliance with organisational requirements.

#Employment Termination and Severance Pay (Dismissal)

An employee is always entitled to resign from employment, provided he or she gives the requisite period of notice. Where he/she is forced to resign by conduct of the employer amounting to a breach of contract, a constructive dismissal may arise.  Under the UDAs,( Unfair Dismissals Acts) an employer may dismiss an employee for one or more of the following grounds:

  • Capability, competence or qualifications
  • Conduct
  • Redundancy or
  • The employee is prohibited by law from working or continuing to work (e.g., the employee does not hold a valid work permit where one is required).

If the dismissal is not due to any of the above, there must be some other “substantial grounds justifying the dismissal.”

#It is prohibited to dismiss

Unfair dismissal

An employee may challenge their dismissal under the Unfair Dismissal Act. A dismissal is automatically deemed to be unfair, placing a positive onus on the employer to prove otherwise. An unfair dismissal claim is brought to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Wrongful dismissal

In cases of wrongful dismissal, an employee can bring a breach of contract claim in the civil courts. In certain circumstances, such as the employer’s defective fair procedures, an employee can bring an injunction to restrain the wrongful dismissal and seek to be reinstated to their employment position.

Protected employees 

In general, an employee must have at least 12 months’ continuous service to rely on the Unfair Dismissal Acts. A dismissal is automatically deemed to be unfair if it was by reason of:

  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Race
  • Colour
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Trade union membership
  • Unfair selection for redundancy

#Notice period

The contract of employment must contain an agreed notice period. In the absence of a contractual notice period, an employer must give “reasonable” notice prior to the termination of an employee’s contract. If the notice period given is less than the statutory notice period, the statutory notice period prevails. The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act apply to employees who have completed 13 weeks’ continuous service with their employer. The following minimum notice periods apply:

  • 13 weeks’ to less than two years’ service: one week.
  • Two years’ to less than five years’ service: two weeks.
  • Five years’ to less than ten years’ service: four weeks.
  • Ten years’ to less than 15 years’ service: six weeks.
  • More than 15 years’ service: eight weeks.

#Severance payments

Employers are not required to provide severance pay for employees who are terminated. Nevertheless, there are circumstances where an employer might want to pay an employee a severance payment, e.g., when they may have the commercial advantages of reducing the risks of unfair dismissal claims. A waiver and discharge agreement should be signed by an employee where he or she is in receipt of a severance payment. The amount of statutory redundancy payments which an employee is entitled to receive from their employer is calculated as follows:

  • Two weeks; pay for each year of employment continuous and reckonable over the age of 16.
  • In addition, a bonus week. All excess days are calculated as a portion of 365 days.
  • Reckonable service is service excluding ordinary sick leave over and above 26 weeks and an occupational injury over and above 52 weeks.

Reckonable service also excludes absence from work because of lay-offs or strikes. However, short-time work in reckonable.

#Employee Benefits and Contributions

Mandatory benefits required by law to be provided by an employer:

  • Sick Days
  • Vacation Days
  • Social Security
  • Pension Fund

Non-mandatory benefits that are offered by an employer:

  • Retirement benefits which are paid by an employer into a registered pension scheme.
  • Meals provided in a staff canteen.
  • Drinks and light refreshments at work.
  • Parking provided at or near an employee’s place of work.
  • Workplace nursery places provided for the children of employees.
  • In-house sports facilities.
  • Payments for additional household costs incurred by an employee who works at home.
  • Removal and relocation expenses.
  • The provision of a mobile phone or vouchers to make available a mobile phone (limited to one phone per employee only).
  • Annual social functions for employees provided the total cost of all events in a tax year.
  • Trivial benefits.

#Probationary period

Most contracts of employment specify a probation period of twelve months. The Unfair Dismissals Acts do not apply until an employee has worked for twelve months, so during the probation period the employee may be dismissed at will subject to rules on fair procedures and wrongful dismissal.


Employees do not have a statutory entitlement to overtime payments for hours worked in excess of their normal weekly working hours, but they may have a contractual entitlement to such payments. Certain limited categories of employees, such as catering workers and workers in certain manufacturing sectors, are covered by national agreements that contain provisions regarding the rate of overtime pay. Employers obligated to pay additional compensation to employees for work on Sundays. This compensation may take the form of increased pay, provision of an allowance, or time off in lieu thereof. Generally, where offered under contract, overtime is paid at time and one-quarter for hours worked during the normal working week (Monday to Friday), at time and one-half for Saturday work, and at double-time for Sundays or public holidays.

#Work hours

Maximum average working week is 48 hours, subject to certain exceptions. The average work hours may be taken over a four- (most common), six- or 12-month period (this is exceptional and applies to the security industry, hospitals, prisons, gas/electricity, airport/docks, agriculture and employees in businesses which have peak periods at certain times of the year such as tourism).

Every employee has a general entitlement to the following rest periods:

  • Daily - 11 consecutive hours’ daily rest per 24-hour period.
  • Weekly - One period of 24 hours’ rest per week, preceded by a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours.
  • Rest breaks – 15 minutes where more than four and half hours have been worked, and 30 minutes where more than six hours have been worked, which may include the first 15-minute break.
  • Special conditions apply to night workers - A night worker is an employee who works for at least three hours between midnight and 7am, and who works at night for at least half of their annual work. Employers must prevent night workers from working more than an average of eight hours in a 24-hour period. The average period for night workers is calculated over two months. Night workers are entitled to the same rest break provisions as normal workers.

#Annual leave

Employees are entitled to the greater of one of the following paid annual leave entitlements:

  • Four working weeks in a leave year in which the employee works at least 1,365 hours (unless it is a leave year in which the employee changes employment).
  • One-third of a working week for each month in the leave year in which the employee works at least 117 hours.
  • 8% of the hours the employee works in a leave year (but subject to a maximum of four working weeks).

Additional annual leave may be provided at the discretion of an employer. If an employee has worked for their employer for less than the full holiday year, holidays are granted on a pro rata basis.

#Sick leave

Usually required to be certified by a medical practitioner after 3 days of absence. Employees may be entitled to illness benefit from the state after 7 days, but no other general right to sick pay from the employer. There is no statutory sick pay scheme in Ireland, although an entitlement may be provided for expressly in a contract of employment or implied from the custom and practice of an employer.

#Parental leave

Maternity leave

The Maternity Protection Acts provide an entitlement of 42 weeks’ maternity leave for pregnant employees, composed of 26 weeks’ “ordinary maternity leave” and 16 weeks’ “additional maternity leave”, regardless of the employee’s period of service. At least two weeks of maternity leave must be taken before the baby’s expected date of birth and at least four weeks’ leave taken after the birth. An employee must notify her employer in writing of her intention to take maternity leave no later than four weeks before commencing maternity leave

Paternity leave

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 provides two weeks’ statutory leave and benefit for employees who are the relevant parents of children born or adopted. Paternity leave generally must be taken in one block of two weeks within the first six months following the birth or adoption placement.

Acumen International can help you fast-track your possibilities of entering and expanding your business in Ireland by providing you with an Employer of Record services. Our unique mix of PEO/EOR solutions will enable you to jumpstart your global operations almost immediately, cost-effectively and compliantly without any requirement to set up a legal entity first or thereafter.

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