Employ Candidates Compliantly in Ireland

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  1. Overview: Ireland
  2. Global PEO and Payroll
  3. Global HR Compliance
  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

Hiring a workforce for your business in international markets can be complex and challenging. Every country has its labor laws and regulations, and employers must be careful to comply.  When hiring talent in Ireland for your company or your clients, it is crucial to comply with legal and tax requirements. As your global HR partner, Acumen International takes the guesswork out of global compliance with our innovative global employment solution. We help you navigate the complexities and nuances of Irish labor legislation and manage employee onboarding, payroll, and compensation, including mandatory and voluntary benefits, on your behalf.

Acumen International reduces your legal and financial risks by ensuring you stay fully compliant in Ireland, so you can focus on growing your business.

Hire an international workforce or plan to hire. The 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 to hire foreign workforce:

  • Expanding into foreign markets to sell company products or products there. In this case, companies hire sales representatives who exclusively represent their product in the target market and sell it to their local client base.
  • Hiring the right foreign talent with unique expertise, often related to the IT sphere, that cannot be found in the home country or that costs less compared to local specialists 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 a 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 a foreign workforce in Ireland to expand there, then our Global Employer of Record solution may 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 employing your in-house workforce, with the only difference being 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.

Our solution allows you to test new foreign markets before deciding whether you will get established there. You gain flexibility, expand with reduced costs, and easily withdraw from unattractive countries.

Hiring and Firing Guide for Hybrid Workforce in Ireland

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, a highly educated labor force, and a relatively cheap and stable labor cost. That notwithstanding, there are still some challenges to penetrate and do business there successfully. 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 in Ireland

Permanent Employment Contracts in Ireland

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 their work.  Perhaps the most significant point to note in relation to permanent employment contracts 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.

Temporary Employment Contracts in Ireland

This comprehensive employment contract for casual workers complies with 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 in Ireland

A comprehensive employment contract for any organization 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 organizational requirements.

Employment Termination and Severance Pay (Dismissal)

An employee is always entitled to resign, provided he or she gives the requisite notice period. Where he/she is forced to resign by the 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
  • 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 in Ireland

Unfair Dismissal

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

Wrongful Dismissal

An employee can bring a breach of contract claim in the civil courts in wrongful dismissal cases. 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 

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

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

Notice Period in Ireland

The contract of employment must contain an agreed notice period. In the absence of a contractual notice period, an employer must give “reasonable” notice before an employee’s contract is terminated. 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 of 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 in Ireland

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 advantage of reducing the risks of unfair dismissal claims. A waiver and discharge agreement should be signed by an employee where he or she receives 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 excludes 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 is reckonable.

Employee Benefits and Contributions

Mandatory Benefits 

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

Voluntary Benefits

Retirement benefits which an employer pays into a registered pension scheme.

  • Meals are 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 in Ireland

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.

Overtime in Ireland

Employees do not have a statutory entitlement to overtime payments for hours worked more than 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 are 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, 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.

Working Hours in Ireland

The 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 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 in Ireland

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 in Ireland

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

Parental Leave in Ireland

Maternity Leave

The Maternity Protection Act provides an entitlement of 42 weeks of maternity leave for pregnant employees, composed of 26 weeks of “ordinary maternity leave” and 16 weeks of “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 must be 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 Employer of Record services. Our unique mix of PEO/EOR solutions will enable you to jumpstart your global operations immediately, cost-effectively, and compliantly without any requirement to set up a legal entity first or thereafter.

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