Hiring in a new country can be a complex and challenging process, with unique laws, regulations, and cultural differences to consider. This guide is designed to help you navigate the employment system in Ireland, providing an in-depth overview of the job market and recruitment landscape – from contractual nuances, up to financial implications and immigration considerations. Our resource outlines the components you will need to create a comprehensive recruitment plan for your local hiring needs.
The Irish labour market has shown strong performance in recent years, suggesting great potential for further development. As it stands, Ireland maintains an unemployment rate below 5% – a favourable figure compared to other European Union (EU) countries. This trend is further driven by the rise of more fluid work structures – remote and freelance gigs being prime examples.
Yet, not all sectors are thriving, particularly technology and healthcare, where skill shortages persist. In a bid to attract a new generation of potential talent, many companies are offering flexible schedules, part-time and freelance options, among other compelling benefits.
On the legal front, two pivotal acts – the Employment Equality Act and the Protection of Employment Act – shape the Irish workforce policies. These regulations stand as pillars that govern employment standards, from contractual nuances to compensation structures, ensuring equity and transparency.
In terms of employment agreements, Ireland’s approach mirrors many European standards. Temporary jobs are common, while employers have access to a range of contractual frameworks, from short-term assignments to permanent placements. Certain industries operate under sector-specific Collective Agreements, providing benefits and conditions beyond those mandated by law. These often include improved remuneration and secondary benefits for workers, creating a more tailored approach to temporary roles compared to other EU countries.
For businesses wishing to expand their operations in Europe, Ireland’s business-friendly tax environment, along with its unique position as an EU member, Eurozone participant, and English-speaking country, makes it a compelling choice for growth and innovation.
Likewise, foreigners seeking job opportunities have access to various permits and visas. EU citizens, granted, face a reasonably straightforward transition, while non-European Union (EU) citizens typically face more nuanced requirements to qualify for employment. Among the most common permits are those designed for top-tier professionals, roles experiencing shortages, and global company affiliates.
In the EU landscape, Ireland’s workforce system is distinctive, highlighting mandatory benefits like paid leave and maternity provisions that contribute directly to employees’ well-being. This approach is backed up by ample additional benefits and a thorough social security framework, providing sustained workplace reliability. The rich talent pool, notably in sectors like finance and technology, makes it especially attractive to employers. Still, the differences in benefits and regulations across EU countries suggest that employers should consider offering perks that align with local standards and workforce needs.
Similar to other European countries, Ireland’s recruitment scene has evolved significantly, reflecting a blend of tradition and innovation. Along with established methods like personal referrals, digital avenues, such as digital platforms and AI tools, have become integral to the country’s recruitment efforts. Even so, evolving hiring needs often benefit from external recruitment agencies equipped with local expertise, distinctive candidate pools, and vast cultural insight. Generally, recruitment fees are based on a percentage of the hired candidate’s salary, ranging between 10% and 30%, in line with the complexity of the role.
As a whole, hiring in Ireland comes with both challenges and opportunities. Addressing the talent gap and adhering to employment regulations can be tricky, but the benefits – a robust talent pool, a thriving business atmosphere, and strategic positioning – are tangible. Teaming up with expert recruitment agencies adds to this value proposition, making the argument compelling: Ireland serves as a promising arena for business expansion and professional growth.
Job Market Overview
The Irish labour market is vibrant, marked by a diverse talent base and a resilient push towards development. In 2022 alone, over 1.2 million vacancies were opened, of which more than 1.1 million were filled throughout the year.
In 2021, the country displayed a significant economic recovery, credited in part to its emphasis on foreign trade and keen sense of global market trends. By year’s end, the employment figures had topped 2.5 million, surpassing numbers before the pandemic.
This progress has led to a significant drop in unemployment, with a rate dipping below 7%, compared to its peak at 32% in the previous year. Particularly among young workers, the rate settled around 10%, mirroring pre-pandemic stability. The trend remained positive, currently standing at 3%.
In light of this, the current trajectory of the market further points to its ability to rebound after significant setbacks.
Job Benefits: Mandatory & Common Optional Benefits
Ireland has robust labour laws that ensure employees receive certain mandatory benefits as part of their employment contracts. These include:
- Mandatory benefits:
- Pay: Employers must ensure at least the national minimum wage, which is periodically updated.
- Annual Leave: 4 weeks’ paid annual leave (20 working days), with pro-rata for part-timers.
- Public Holidays: Paid leave on 9 public holidays; workdays offer pay or an extra day off.
- Sick Leave: Typically includes sick pay, or access Illness Benefit from government.
- Parental Leave: Up to 26 weeks’ unpaid leave per child under 12 (or 16 for a disabled child).
- Maternity and Paternity Leave: 26 weeks’ paid maternity leave, plus 2 weeks’ paid paternity leave.
- Common optional benefits:
- Health Insurance: Many extend health coverage as an optional benefit, granting private healthcare access.
- Pension Plans: Some offer pension schemes for retirement saving, with auto-enrollment becoming common.
- Life and Disability Insurance: Possible provision of coverage for employee and family financial protection.
- Flexible Working Arrangements: Choices like remote work, flexible hours, and compressed weeks can boost work-life balance.
- Professional Development: Opportunities for skill growth, training, and education to enhance career paths.
- Gym Memberships and Wellness Programs: Benefits like gym access and wellness initiatives for employee well-being.
- Stock Options and Bonuses: In select fields, there might be stock options and performance-based rewards.
- Transport Allowance: Assistance for commuting expenses via allowances or subsidies.
In recent years, Ireland has embraced remote work, and the trend accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, about 29% of the workforce engaged in occasional remote work. By the end of 2022, over 60% of employees (around 1.7 million) were working from home at least occasionally, with a substantial number primarily working remotely.
To support the growing importance of remote work, the Irish government introduced legislation granting employees the right to request adjustments to their working hours and workplace after six months of employment. Employers are now obliged to consider these requests, with only limited grounds for refusal, showcasing Ireland’s commitment to promoting flexible work arrangements and meeting the changing needs of its workforce.
Employment Hubs in Ireland
Below follows a breakdown for the top 4 largest regions, showcasing the number of employed persons and businesses in each:
The recruitment industry in Ireland operates within a framework of established regulations. Companies of various sizes often have their own internal recruitment teams to handle hiring needs. However, when specialized expertise or a broader talent pool is required, businesses frequently engage the services of recruitment agencies.
Recruitment agencies, ranging from local to international, including freelancers, are abundant in bustling urban centers. Their branches are located across Ireland, with recruiters specializing in IT, marketing, sales, and other sectors, all aimed at serving regional requirements. A notable growing trend has seen global agencies outsourcing recruiters to meet specific company needs.
According to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Ireland, the total labour force in Ireland stands at approximately 2.4 million people. This includes both the employed and those who are actively seeking work, and the breakdown is as follows:
- 96.2% of the population is employed.
- 3.8% of the population is unemployed.
Gender Divide across industries
While Ireland maintains a relatively balanced gender distribution in the overall workforce, certain industries still experience significant gender gaps. Key examples include:
Based on our LinkedIn insights, the median tenure for professionals in Ireland is 1.4 years.
This rate fluctuates, however, varying on factors such as industry, profession, and individual circumstances.
What sectors are the most popular?
The largest industry sectors in Ireland, according to research by the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit of Smartchoices.ie, are:
The talent pool in Ireland is concentrated in key regions, particularly major cities and their surroundings, which serve as significant employment hubs offering diverse opportunities for employers and job seekers, namely:
Source: Central Statistics Office
Primary Employment Hubs:
- Dublin Metropolitan Area : The capital and largest city of Ireland, Dublin is a bustling metropolis known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and dynamic business environment.
- Population & Workforce: Over 1.2 million, highly skilled workforce.
- Key Industries: Technology, finance, professional services, pharmaceuticals.
- Highlights: Main employment hub of Ireland.
- Cork: Ireland’s second-largest city, Cork is a thriving port city with a strong maritime tradition and a reputation for innovation and creativity.
- Key Industries: Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information technology, financial services.
- Highlights: Offers numerous employment opportunities for professionals and contributes significantly to regional growth.
- Galway: A picturesque city on Ireland’s west coast, Galway is renowned for its lively arts scene, stunning coastal views, and vibrant community spirit.
- Key Industries: Medical technology and healthcare.
- Highlights: Growing job market, attracts professionals in research, development, and innovation.
- Limerick: Located on the River Shannon, Limerick is a historic city with a strong industrial heritage and a modern, forward-looking approach to business.
- Key Industries: Manufacturing, technology, services, including engineering, pharmaceuticals, software development, and financial services.
- Highlights: Diverse job opportunities in various sectors.
Emerging Employment Areas:
- Waterford: A charming port city in southeastern Ireland, Waterford is known for its long-standing glassmaking tradition and its scenic coastal location.
- Key Industries: Pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
- Highlights: Holds significant potential for employment growth.
- Sligo: Nestled along the Atlantic coast, Sligo is a small city with stunning landscapes and a rich literary heritage, known as the birthplace of poet W.B. Yeats.
- Key Industries: Technology, healthcare, creative industries.
- Highlights: Emerging location for professionals seeking work-life balance and a thriving cultural scene.
- Dundalk: Situated halfway between Dublin and Belfast, Dundalk is a vibrant town with a strategic location and a strong sense of community.
- Key Industries: Manufacturing, logistics, services.
- Highlights: Benefits from proximity to both the Dublin and Belfast markets, offering a variety of opportunities.
Rank of titles in high demand
1y growth – The percentage change in the number of professionals with this skill, compared to the number of professionals one year prior.
Main job boards and channels for sourcing candidates
The top job sites in Ireland, measured by visitors per month are:
- 1. Locanto: 1.832.000
- 2. Jobs.ie: 930.000
- 3. Irishjobs.ie: 829.000
- 4. JobsIreland: 207.000
- 5. JobAlert: 186.000
- 6. Indeed: 185.000
- 7. Careerjet: 176.000
- 8. Recruit Ireland: 53.000
- 9. Monster: 23.000
- 10. LinkedIn: 21.000
The employment landscape presents a wide array of opportunities and contract types designed to cater to the diverse needs of both employers and workers. For those seeking stability and a consistent work schedule, full-time employment is a popular choice. On the other hand, part-time positions offer flexibility, appealing to individuals who require additional income or desire a better work-life balance.
Fixed-term contracts come into play for specific projects or temporary vacancies, allowing employers to manage their staffing needs effectively, while temporary agency work provides a flexible solution for both employees and businesses, particularly suitable for industries with fluctuating demands.
Internships and traineeships are valuable options for students and graduates seeking practical work experience and training, easing their transition into their chosen careers.
The market also embraces self-employment and freelancing opportunities, giving individuals the freedom to work independently and provide services to multiple clients. These contract types are commonly seen in creative industries, IT, consulting, and professional services.
The current employment status also reflects the prominence of permanent positions:
Source: Central Statistics Office
Permanent employment is a prevalent and foundational form of work arrangement in Ireland. Since it does not have a fixed end date and has no limitations on the length of time it can be carried out, it provides both employers and employees with stability and continuity in their working relationships.
In this type of employment arrangement, the employee is typically entitled to various benefits and protections under Irish employment law, such as notice periods, redundancy entitlements, and statutory employment rights. Permanent employees are generally considered to have a long-term commitment to the employer and are expected to work for the organization on an ongoing basis, subject to standard employment terms and conditions.
- Stability and Continuity: Hiring permanent employees ensures a stable workforce with consistent commitment, reducing recruitment and training needs.
- Loyalty and Engagement: Permanent employees exhibit higher loyalty and engagement, leading to increased productivity and a positive work culture.
- Reduced Recruitment Costs: Long-term employees result in lower turnover rates, saving time and resources on frequent recruitment and onboarding.
Temporary & Fixed Term Employment
Temporary and fixed-term employment are common work arrangements in Ireland, offering employers flexibility to meet varying business demands. Temporary employment has a specific start and end date, often for short durations, whereas fixed-term employment may last longer but still has a predetermined end date. Temporary employees are typically hired to address short-term needs, such as covering employee absences or completing seasonal projects. On the other hand, fixed-term employees are recruited for specific roles or projects.
While both types of employees may have limited access to certain benefits compared to permanent ones due to the temporary nature of their contracts, employers need to adhere to legal requirements, and treat either group fairly.
These arrangements enable employers to manage their workforce efficiently, adapting to fluctuating business demands and strategically utilizing the skills and expertise of contingent workers.
- Flexibility: Businesses can quickly adjust their workforce according to varying demands without long-term commitments, optimizing resource allocation and response to market fluctuations.
- Cost-effectiveness: Hiring temporary and fixed-term employees allows for cost savings in terms of benefits, recruitment, and training expenses, giving space for companies to improve their financial performance.
- Specialist skills: Employers have access to niche expertise for specific projects, enhancing overall efficiency and project outcomes, without permanent commitments, ensuring focused solutions for particular tasks.
Day-rate contractors, LTD contractors, or Self-Employed persons
When a company brings in a contractor or a self-employed person, the type of agreement is typically referred to as a “Contract for Services” or an “Independent Contractor Agreement.” As opposed to an employment contract, this collaboration distinguishes the contractor as an independent entity responsible for their taxes and social contributions, without establishing an employer-employee relationship. The agreement outlines the scope of work, payment terms, duration, and other relevant conditions.
- Day-rate Contractors are hired on a short-term basis for specific projects, often bringing specialized skills or expertise, they work as independent contractors, responsible for their own taxes and social security contributions. While they may not receive benefits like paid leave, they typically earn higher daily rates.
- LTD Contractors (Limited Company Contractors), operate through their own limited companies rather than being direct employees. Considered self-employed for tax purposes, LTD contractors have control over their work schedule and client base. This structure provides certain tax efficiencies and limits personal liability for the contractor.
- Self-Employed Persons are not employed by any specific company. They offer their services or products to multiple clients, giving them the freedom to choose their work engagements. Since they are self-employed, they manage their own taxes, social contributions, and financial affairs, allowing for greater control over their work schedule and the types of projects they undertake, but it also entails personal liability for their business activities.
- Flexibility: Employers can better manage their workers effectively for short-term projects or peak workloads, allowing employers to adjust their workforce as needed without the long-term commitment associated with permanent employees.
- Cost-effectiveness: These arrangements allow employers to avoid providing benefits like paid leave or retirement plans. LTD Contractors may benefit from certain tax efficiencies, while Self-Employed Persons are responsible for their own taxes and contributions, further reducing employer costs.
- Access to Specialized Skills: Such contractors bring valuable niche knowledge and expertise to the table. They possess specialized skills and offer unique services not available within the company’s permanent workforce, enhancing the organization’s capabilities and efficiency.
Key Elements in an Irish Contract
Written Statement of Terms of Employment:
- Job title and description
- Commencement date of employment
- Working hours and schedule
- Pay and remuneration details
- Holiday and leave entitlements
- Notice periods for termination
- Job location and place of work
- Probationary period details
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures
- Relevant collective agreements (if applicable)
Express and Implied Terms:
- Express terms: Explicitly stated in the contract, such as salary, working hours, and job responsibilities.
- Implied terms: Not expressly mentioned but automatically apply, such as the duty of employees to work diligently and obey reasonable instructions.
Fixed-term or Open-ended Contracts:
- Open-ended contracts: Employment continues until either the employer or employee terminates it with proper notice.
- Fixed-term contracts: Employment ends on a specific date or upon the completion of a specific project or task.
Hiring permanent staff in Ireland
Permanent contracts are the most prevalent type of employment in Ireland, and they remain a popular choice for both employers and employees seeking a lasting commitment in their working arrangements. These contracts are highly valued for their distinctive aspects, including their indefinite duration, providing stability and continuity without a predetermined end date.
Distinctive aspects of permanent work contracts include:
- Indefinite Duration: Permanent work contracts have no fixed end date, providing stability and continuity for employers and their employees.
- Probationary Period: Employers have the option to include a probationary period at the contract’s beginning to assess the employee’s suitability for the role. This allows either party to terminate the contract with minimal notice if necessary.
- Notice Period: The contract needs to stipulate the notice period required for termination, allowing both employers and employees to adequately prepare for the contract’s end.
- Termination Grounds: Employers should clearly outline valid reasons for contract termination, such as misconduct, poor performance, or redundancy, to comply with employment laws.
- Unfair Dismissal Protection: Employees on permanent contracts are protected against unfair dismissal, providing them with legal recourse if the contract ends without valid grounds.
- Statutory Entitlements: The contract should cover employees’ statutory entitlements, including holiday pay, sick leave, and parental leave, ensuring compliance with employment regulations.
- Working Hours and Breaks: Employers need to specify the employee’s working hours and break entitlements in the contract to adhere to labour laws.
- Collective Agreements: If applicable, any collective agreements that affect the terms and conditions of employment should be mentioned in the contract.
Hiring temporary staff in Ireland
Temporary work contracts are short-term agreements used by employers to address fluctuating staffing needs, fulfil specific projects, or meet seasonal demands. In Ireland, they are preferred by industries with changing demands and project-based work, offering flexibility in hiring individuals with specialized skills without the long-term commitment of permanent employment. A contract of this type is cost-effective since employers only pay for the work performed during the contract period.
Distinctive aspects of temporary work contracts include:
- Fixed Duration: Temporary work contracts in Ireland have specific start and end dates, providing a clear timeline for the employment period.
- Job Scope: The contract outlines the tasks or responsibilities that temporary employees will perform in order to meet the employer’s immediate demands.
- Agency-Based Recruitment: Many employers utilize recruitment agencies to find suitable temporary candidates, streamlining the hiring process for short-term positions.
- Payment Structure: Temporary employees often receive compensation based on hourly rates, daily rates, or project-specific terms, in alignment with the short-term nature of their engagement.
- Flexible Working Hours: Employers can adjust working hours based on project demands or staffing requirements under short-term agreements.
- Conversion to Permanent: In some cases, temporary contracts may be converted to permanent contracts based on the employee’s performance and business needs.
- Trial Periods: Short-term positions often include probationary periods, enabling employers to assess an employee’s suitability for a permanent role before making a long-term commitment.
- Termination Clause: Specific provisions for contract termination provide clarity and avoid confusion regarding contract end dates.
- Limited Notice Period: Compared to permanent contracts, temporary agreements typically have shorter notice periods for termination.
- Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: Some temporary contracts incorporate mechanisms for resolving disputes that may arise during the contract period.
- Adherence to Employment Laws: Temporary work contracts must comply with Irish employment laws and regulations to ensure fair treatment and protection for temporary workers.
- Statutory Entitlements: Temporary employees are entitled to certain minimum benefits, regardless of the temporary nature of their employment, including minimum wage requirements and paid annual leave.
Hiring Self-Employed Workers in Ireland
Employing Day-rate Contractors, LTD Contractors, or Self-Employed Persons offers a flexible and dynamic solution for both businesses and professionals. These are ideally suited for businesses in need of specialized skills for specific tasks, or for professionals who prefer autonomy in their work arrangements. Distinctively adaptable, they enable both parties to craft bespoke terms, duration, and compensation that precisely fit the task at hand.
Contracts overview and distinctive features:
- Contract Types and Duration
- Day-rate Contractors are typically hired for short-term projects with contracts specifying a daily rate of pay.
- LTD Contractors provide services through their own limited liability company, with contracts established between the client and the company.
- Self-Employed Persons operate as sole traders and have the freedom to negotiate their own contracts.
- Scope of Work and Independence
- All contractor types generally have contracts outlining specific tasks or deliverables, including completion timelines and performance benchmarks.
- Contractors and self-employed individuals have more control over their work, including setting their hours and work methods, compared to regular employees.
- Payment and Tax Responsibilities
- Contractors’ contracts usually detail the rate of payment and when payments are due, which can vary depending on the agreement.
- Day-rate Contractors are paid based on daily rates.
- LTD Contractors pay themselves through salary and dividends, which can have tax advantages.
- Self-Employed Persons must register with Revenue, the Irish tax authority, and are responsible for filing their own tax returns and paying taxes.
- Contractors and self-employed individuals are responsible for their own taxes, while employees have taxes withheld from their paychecks.
- Liability and Insurance
- Contractors often need their own insurance and may be personally liable for any mistakes or negligence in their work.
- LTD Contractors have the liability shielded through their limited liability company, but as directors, they have certain responsibilities under company law.
- Self-Employed Persons operate as sole traders and are personally responsible for their business’s debts.
- Distinctive Features
- Level of Control: Contractors and self-employed individuals generally have more control over their work compared to employees.
- Tax Implications: Contractors and self-employed individuals handle their own taxes, while employees have taxes withheld.
- Liability: Contractors and self-employed individuals typically have higher personal liability for their work, while employees are generally protected by their employer’s insurance.
- Contract Terms: Contractors and self-employed individuals often have more freedom to negotiate contract terms, whereas employees are typically given a standard employment contract.
- Benefits and Protections: Employees usually have more benefits and legal protections, such as the right to paid leave and protection from unfair dismissal, which contractors and self-employed individuals typically do not enjoy.
Foreign employees might be eligible to work under various visas and permits, each catering to specific circumstances and employment needs.
Irish visas and permits for foreign employees include:
- General Employment Permit: available to foreign employees seeking occupations with labour shortages in Ireland, allowing them to work for a specific employer for a specific
- To apply for a General Employment Permit, the foreign employee or their employer must submit the application to the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation (DBEI) in Ireland.
- The employer must demonstrate that they have been unable to find suitable candidates from within the European Economic Area (EEA) to fill the position.
- The application process involves providing relevant documentation, such as the employment contract, proof of qualifications, and evidence of labour market efforts.
- Critical Skills Employment Permit: designed for highly skilled workers in demand sectors, offering a pathway to permanent residency and the ability to change employers without a new permit.
- To be eligible for the Critical Skills Employment Permit, the foreign employee must have skills in high-demand sectors as listed in the Critical Skills Occupations List.
- The employer or employee can apply for this permit, and the application is also submitted to the DBEI.
- The permit offers certain benefits, such as shorter processing times and a pathway to long-term residency.
- Intra-Company Transfer Permit: used for facilitating the temporary transfer of skilled employees within a global company to work in its Irish branch or affiliate.
- The Intra-Company Transfer Permit is available to employees transferring from a related company abroad to a branch in Ireland.
- The employee must have worked for the company for a specific period, usually at least six months.
- The permit application should be submitted by the Irish company to the DBEI.
- Spouse or Dependant Permit: issued to the spouses and dependents of work permit holders, enabling them to join the main work permit holder in Ireland, with potential work or study permissions.
- Spouses and dependents of foreign workers with valid work permits can apply for this permit.
- The application process involves providing evidence of the family relationship and the main permit holder’s employment status.
- Working Holiday Visa: an option for young individuals from specific countries to work and travel in Ireland for a limited period, typically one or two years.
- Young people from countries with working holiday agreements with Ireland can apply for this visa.
- The visa allows individuals to work and travel in Ireland for a limited duration, typically up to one year.
- Applicants must meet specific age and eligibility criteria set by the Irish authorities.
- EU Blue Card: the most favoured residence and work permit for highly skilled non-EU workers with job offers in specific occupations, providing a path to long-term residency and EU citizenship.
- The EU Blue Card is designed for highly skilled non-EU nationals who wish to work in specific occupations.
- The applicant must have a job offer in Ireland with a minimum salary threshold.
- The application is typically made to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).
Employment taxes and contributions in Ireland are covered by both employers and employees.
Employer tax contributions in Ireland primarily go toward Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), at a rate between 8.8% and 11.05% of an employee’s gross salary. This payment is determined by their income level, detailed as follows:
- Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI):
- 8.8% on income up to €441 per week.
- 11.05% on income exceeding €441 per week
- Employer PRSI on Taxable Benefit: 10.85%
Any non-cash benefits, or Benefits in Kind (BIK) such as company cars or health insurance are also subject to specific taxations, determined by their fair market value.
Employee deductions could amount for up to 52% of their gross income. However, the effective rate will often be less due to various allowances, reliefs, and credits they qualify for. Basic taxation consists of:
- Income Tax (PAYE):
- Standard Rate: Taxed at 20% on income up to a certain threshold known as the “standard rate tax band.”
- Higher Rate: Any income above the standard rate tax band is taxed at 40%.
- Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI): 4.50% to 15.00%.
- Universal Social Charge (USC): 0.50% to 11.00%.
Since 1 January 2023, the national minimum wage in Ireland is 11.30 EUR per hour. However, certain age groups earn a lower pay:
- Aged 20+: 11.30 EUR
- Aged 19: 10.17 EUR
- Aged 18: 9.04 EUR
- Aged under 18: 7.91 EUR
The legal framework that governs employment standards is overseen and enforced by the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment and is fundamental to defining workplace agreements. As a whole, the legislation advocates fairness, protects people’s privacy and personal data, contributes to a safe and balanced workplace, and shields employees against discrimination.
Notable aspects include:
- Transparency and Worker’s Rights
- Terms of Employment (Information) Acts require employers to provide essential information to employees, including contracts, job descriptions, salary, and working hours.
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) grants employees greater control over their personal data, ensuring responsible handling by companies.
- Work-Life Balance and Leave Provisions
- Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 regulates working hours, rest periods, and annual leave.
- Statutory leave provisions, including Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004, Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2019, and Adoptive Leave Act 1995, support employees during significant life events.
- Workplace Health and Safety
- Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work Act 2005 ensures workplace safety and protects employees from potential hazards, ensuring their well-being.
- Equality and Anti-Discrimination
- Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 and Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 prohibit discrimination based on gender, race, age, religion, disability, and sexual orientation.
- The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission actively promotes and safeguards individual rights.
- Whistleblower Protections
- The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022 strengthens whistleblower protections, extending safeguards to volunteers, job applicants, and trainees.
- Work Permits, Redundancy, and Data Protection
- The Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation oversees work permits for non-EU workers to ensure proper authorization.
- The Protection of Employment Act and the Unfair Dismissals Acts protect employees from unjust job losses.
- GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 uphold employees’ privacy and data security.
Probation in Ireland
The probationary period is a key component of the employment law system. Providing the foundation for employment relationships, this phase defines a timeframe for employers to assess suitability, while allowing employees to adjust in their new environment.
The process acts as a trial run, observing work performance, adherence to company rules, and alignment with the organization’s culture. If completed successfully, this leads to a permanent position, while underperformance can result in contract termination without formal dismissal procedures.
As of December 16, 2022, the European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 introduced significant changes to probationary periods, replacing previous contract-based provisions with legislative norms.
Key elements of the probationary statute include:
- Maximum Duration: Probationary periods are now limited to 6 months in the private sector and 12 months in the public sector, with few exceptions.
- Limited Extensions: Employers can extend probation only in exceptional circumstances, with reasonable justification.
- Existing Staff: Employees hired before December 16, 2022, will have their probationary period capped at six months, ending either as initially set or by February 1, 2023, whichever is earlier.
- Protected Leave: Protected leave (e.g., maternity, or sick leave) extends the probationary period by the leave duration, granting additional time for employees to demonstrate their competence.
Notice Period in Ireland
The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts (1973-2005) sets out regulations regarding notice periods, providing a structured framework for ending employment relationships.
Main considerations include:
- Employee Notice Period: Employees with 13+ weeks of service are required to give at least one week’s notice before resigning.
- Employer Notice Period: Employers must provide notice based on the employee’s tenure:
- 13 weeks to 2 years: 1 week
- 2 to 5 years: 2 weeks
- 5 to 10 years: 4 weeks
- 10 to 15 years: 6 weeks
- Over 15 years: 8 weeks
- Probationary Periods: Employees in their initial 13-week probationary period have no notice requirement.
- Fixed-Term Contracts: Contracts which end at a predetermined date or upon completion of the job are not subject to notice periods.
- Maintaining Continuity: Events such as strikes, layoffs, or immediate reemployment after dismissal do not affect notice periods, maintaining the continuity of the service record.
- Custom Agreements: Employment contracts may outline a custom notice period beyond the standard provisions, aligning to the needs of both parties.
- Stringent Cases – Instant Termination: Under exceptional circumstances, immediate termination without notice is allowed, such as cases of severe misconduct or unforeseen emergencies.
- Payment in Lieu of Notice (PILON): A unique provision in Irish employment law – when immediate termination conditions apply, the employer may pay the employee the salary amount expected throughout the notice period.
- Business Transfers: During the transfer of a business from one entity to another, known as a “Transfer of Undertakings,” continuity of service and notice periods are preserved, ensuring that employment record is not affected.
Maternity & Paternity leave in Ireland
Working parents benefit from comprehensive support in balancing family and professional responsibilities.
Policies applicable to parents in the workplace have witnessed significant developments, most notably with the implementation of the Work Life Balance Act 2023. Signed into law in April 2023, these provisions support work-life balance, family responsibilities, and overall employee well-being for parents and carers. Other legislative updates, such as the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 (Extension of Periods of Leave) Order 2022, reflect the government’s commitment towards family-friendly workplaces.
- Maternity Leave
- Duration: 26 weeks – at least 2 weeks before the due date and 4 weeks after childbirth.
- Compensation: 70% of average weekly earnings, up to €245 per week, available based on PRSI contributions.
- As of July 2023, transgender men who are pregnant or have given birth are also covered under this provision.
- Paternity Leave:
- Duration: 2 weeks within the initial six months of birth or placement.
- Compensation: 70% of average weekly earnings, up to €245 per week.
- Adoptive Leave:
- Duration: 24 weeks, with 16 additional unpaid weeks if needed.
- Compensation: 70% of average weekly earnings, up to €245 per week.
- Parental Leave:
- Duration: up to 26 weeks for both parents before the child’s 12th birthday (or before the 16th for children with special needs).
- Compensation: Unpaid
- Eligibility: Requires one year of employment.
- Parental Sick Leave:
- Duration: 3 days/year, granting parents the ability to tend to their child’s health when needed.
- Compensation: 70% of normal pay, up to €110 per day
- Parent’s Leave:
- Duration: Effective July 1, 2022, parents are entitled to 7 weeks of leave within the first 2 years of a child’s life or adoption placement.
- Compensation: Financial support at a rate of €262 per week.
- Other Parental and Child-Centric Leave:
- Breastfeeding Breaks: daily breaks for breastfeeding parents, up to 26 weeks following maternity leave.
Sick Leave in France
Statutory sick pay (SSP) is governed by the Sick Leave Act 2022, which came into effect on January 1, 2023. The entitlement covers both self-certified and certified sick leave, providing financial support to employees during periods of illness or injury, previously not mandatory for employers.
This act established a legal framework for employee sick leave compensation for the first time, following a phased approach over the years 2023-2026, outlined below:
- Initial entitlement: Up to 3 paid sick leave days per year.
- Phased increase: 5 days in 2024, 7 days in 2025, 10 days in 2026.
- Qualification: 13 weeks’ continuous service with the employer.
- Compensation: 70% of usual daily earnings, up to €110/day.
- Certification: Medical documentation required for certified sick leave.
- Other relevant aspects:
- Employees can take sick days as consecutive or non-consecutive days.
- Employers may have a more generous sick pay scheme, but they cannot provide less than the statutory amount.
- The Act allows for the possibility of increasing the number of statutory sick leave days through Ministerial order.
- The Sick Leave Act also introduces provisions for the Labour Court to exempt an employer from its provisions in certain circumstances.
- Self-certified sick leave allows for up to 7 days of paid sick leave in a continuous 2-year period without requiring a medical certificate.
- Sick leave can be used for both physical and mental health-related reasons.
Redundancy Payment in Ireland
The Redundancy Payments Act 1967 outlines the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in case of layoffs. Redundancies may arise due to business closure, downsizing, or a change in business operations and are subject to certain legal criteria, as follows:
- Employees with 2 years’ continuous service (104 weeks) qualify for statutory redundancy payment.
- Employees must be over 16, insurable under Social Welfare Acts, and affected by redundancy.
- Statutory payment is 2 weeks’ remuneration/year of service + 1 bonus week.
- Calculation uses weekly remuneration (up to €600/week).
- Notice Period:
- Employers must provide 2 weeks’ notice before dismissal.
- Longer notice periods can apply under the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973.
- Employer Safeguards:
- When an employer is unable to make statutory redundancy payments due to financial difficulties or insolvency, the state ensures eligible employees receive their entitlements.
- 2022 Amendment:
- The Redundancy Payments (Amendment) Act 2022 introduced revisions to address employees affected by certain lay-off periods from March 2020 to September 2021, reflecting evolving challenges.
Recruitment agencies commonly charge employers a finder’s fee for successful placements, calculated as a notable percentage of the candidate’s salary. This percentage is influenced by the agency’s policies, the type of employment, and the salary tier of the position.
Their services are usually provided under the following types of contracts:
- Retainer Contract – an employer engages a recruitment agency by paying an upfront fee. In return, the agency agrees to conduct the recruitment process on the employer’s behalf, including sourcing, screening, and presenting suitable candidates. The agency is typically engaged for a set period and focuses solely on filling the employer’s vacancy.
- Application: Often used for executive-level or specialized positions where a targeted and dedicated search is required.
- Contingency Contract – the recruitment agency only gets paid if the employer hires a candidate that the agency provided. The agency assumes the risk of the recruitment process and earns a commission only upon a successful placement.
- Application: Typically used for mid-level roles where multiple agencies might compete to fill the position. The fee is often a percentage of the hired candidate’s first-year salary.
- Project-based Contract – involves a recruitment agency being engaged to fill multiple roles for a specific project. The agency manages all aspects of the hiring process for the project’s duration and is paid a fixed fee for the entire project, irrespective of the number of candidates placed.
- Application: Suitable for large-scale projects requiring multiple hires within a specific timeframe, such as a new office opening or a significant expansion.
- Temporary/Contract Staffing – the recruitment agency provides temporary staff or contract workers to the employer. The agency manages the hiring process, payroll, benefits, and other administrative tasks for these workers, who remain on the agency’s payroll.
- Application: Used for short-term staffing needs, seasonal work, or project-based assignments where hiring permanent staff is not viable.
- Exclusive Contract – an employer agrees to work solely with one recruitment agency for a specified period. This gives the agency exclusive rights to fill the vacancy, and other agencies cannot compete for the placement.
- Application: The agency typically receives a retainer fee and may also receive an additional fee for each candidate successfully placed. This arrangement is used when employers want a dedicated recruitment effort for a specific role or set of roles.
Recruitment fees are typically associated with the recruitment contracts mentioned above. The fees vary depending on the contract type, the position being hired for, and the agency’s experience and reputation.
Here are some of the most common types of recruitment fee structures:
- Contingency Fee (No Placement, No Fee) – paid to the recruiter only when they successfully place a candidate on the job. The fee is typically calculated as a percentage of the candidate’s first-year salary.
- Fee structure: Common for junior to mid-level roles, where the recruiter assumes the risk of the search and earns a commission upon successful placement.
- Retained Fee (Retainer) – the employer pays an upfront fee, which acts as a retainer. This fee covers the costs of the recruitment process, and the agency may charge an additional fee once a successful candidate is placed.
- Fee Structure: Often used for senior-level and executive roles, where a dedicated and targeted search is required.
- Flat Fee – a set amount charged by the recruitment agency for their services, regardless of the candidate’s salary. This fee can be charged upfront or upon successful placement of a candidate.
- Fee Structure: Often used for roles with a set salary range, where the employer prefers a predictable cost structure.
- Hourly Rate – recruitment agencies charge an hourly rate for their services, based on the time spent on the recruitment process rather than the candidate’s salary.
- Fee Structure: Less common, this may be used for certain specialized roles or industries where the recruitment process requires more intensive effort.
- Project Fee – covers the cost of filling all positions in a large-scale hiring project. The recruitment agency manages the entire recruitment process for the project.
- Fee structure: Used for projects with a large number of positions, this fee can be structured as a lump sum or a series of payments.
- Temp-to-Perm Fee – when a recruitment agency places a candidate in a temporary role with the possibility of becoming permanent, the agency charges a temp-to-perm fee if the candidate is hired permanently.
- Fee Structure: Typically, a percentage of the candidate’s salary if they are hired permanently.
- Exclusivity Fee – charged when the employer agrees to work exclusively with a recruitment agency for a specified period. In most cases, the fee is paid upfront and secures the agency’s dedicated effort in filling the vacancy.
- Fee Structure: May be refunded if the agency does not successfully place a candidate within the agreed period.
- Succession Planning Fee – planning services involve helping companies plan for the eventual replacement of key personnel. Recruitment agencies offer a variety of services in this area, including identifying and developing potential successors.
- Fee structure: Variable, including a retainer, a contingency fee, or a combination of both, depending on the scope of the succession planning services provided.
Recruitment in the Irish market also comes with its unique set of challenges, namely:
- Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs): Ireland enforces regulations regarding CBAs that outline compensation and working condition rules. These agreements, often negotiated between unions and companies, can extend to specific sectors. Familiarity with CBA rules helps navigate employee hiring challenges.
- Regional Disparities: Despite its small size, Ireland exhibits significant regional variations. While bustling cities like Dublin and Cork thrive, smaller towns and rural areas may struggle to attract top-tier talent.
- Skills Shortages: Sectors like IT and healthcare may encounter skill gaps, particularly for roles such as cybersecurity experts, software developers, and nurses.
- High Candidate Expectations: Irish candidates often anticipate competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and a healthy work-life balance. Clear career progression paths, regular feedback, and training opportunities are also sought-after.
- Digital Transformation: Ireland’s rapid digital evolution has prompted remote work and tech adoption. Candidates now seek flexibility, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact.
- Recruitment Agencies: While many promise superior talent, finding agencies specialized in specific industries or job roles can be challenging. Opting for experienced agencies familiar with the Irish market is crucial.
- Millennial and Gen Z Dynamics: These generations wield growing influence, valuing salary transparency, company culture, and social responsibility. Flexible work setups and avenues for growth rank high on their priorities.
An Employer of Record (EOR) is an organization that acts as an employer for legal and tax purposes. The EOR is legally responsible for paying international employees, as well as handling employee taxes, insurance, and benefits. The business where the employee works retains control over business operations.
A recruitment agency can also provide a number of similar services and is usually responsible for hiring directly for the jobs and employees themselves, as well as managing contracts between employer and employee.
Allen Recruitment can support any type of contract (permanent, temporary or contract). We can offer a number of high touch services that suit employers and employee’s needs. In Ireland, we deliver the full service in house with no hand offs to local suppliers.
Our legal entity in Ireland ensures local compliance with registration procedures, employment contracts, payroll, HR regulations and tax law. Our team is equipped to source/headhunt and manage employees across Ireland as well as hire and employ pre-identified candidates on your behalf. Our temporary employees are fully insured by us for the work they do for you.
We pay temporary workers on time, irrespective if you have paid us or not. Our billing solution is simple and convenient – we can bill clients in their preferred location and currency. We can provide a full breakdown of fees with no hidden charges and at a lower cost than employer of record services.
Our onboarding team smooths the local onboarding process and can help with additional services around relocation and governmental documentation. Temporary workers can use our offices if they need somewhere to work. We have local technical support to deliver the tech kit they need to get started.
We are experienced in sourcing and employing temporary staff for some of the biggest multinational companies in the world. We pride ourselves in proving the best experience for our client’s and temps, check out our reviews on Glassdoor to see for yourself!
We think differently about recruitment and possess technological advantages that enable our recruiters to find better candidates faster. How? Our technology-led solution is built on leading machine learning search and automated communication/scheduling software.
Our solution is described as the future of recruitment and allows us to find and engage with the potential candidates that are currently considering changing positions.
Not only do we target local talent but also suitable candidates across many countries that may be interested in your role, company, and location – our candidate reach is truly global.
Our software also allows us to follow up with extensive pools of passive candidates who may be interested in your role or company but are currently sitting on the fence.
Trusted by many of the leading technology and finance companies across the globe since 1998, supporting their recruitment programs across multiple countries from our offices in Ireland, the UK, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Sweden and Belgium.
Sourcing in permanent, temporary and contract jobs with multinationals, early stage and local indigenous companies, providing an unrivalled and established recruitment service for our candidates and clients alike.
We specialise in a variety of areas, with experienced insights into areas such as Desktop/Network Admin, Software Development, Sales/Marketing, Business Support, Finance, Customer Service and HR/Recruiter roles and much more.
Are you interested in learning more about employing fantastic talent in Ireland, but you’re not sure where to start? Or perhaps you simply need a little help to get on your way? Then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
Local Terminology Reference Guide:
Posted in: Blog / Ireland