Employment Questions

Frequently Asked

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Frequently Asked

We believe it’s vital for all workers to know their rights, so here are the answers to the questions people ask us most often. If you have a question about your particular situation, you can always contact us and speak to a caseworker – you have rights, and you’re not alone.

Legal disclaimer

Disclaimer: These materials have been prepared by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) for information purposes only with no guarantee as to accuracy or applicability to a particular set of circumstances. The materials are not intended and should not be considered to be legal advice. The information given may change from time to time and may be out of date. The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland disclaims any legal responsibility for the content or the accuracy of the information provided. MRCI is not a practising law centre.

Who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage in Ireland?

If you are an employee and over the age of 18 you are entitled to the national minimum wage rate irrespective of industry.

Exceptions apply to:

  • individuals who are employed by a close relative (for example, a spouse, civil partner or parent);
  • people who are in a statutory apprenticeship, internship or volunteering program; and
  • employees under the age of 18.

The national minimum wage is currently €10.10.

For more information please go to: https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/hours-and-wages/nationalminimumwage/

Is my employer allowed to make deductions from my wages?

Employers are allowed to make deductions from wages only if:

  • required by law, such as tax deductions (PRSI/PAYE) or
  • provided for in the contract of employment, (e.g. for certain occupational pension contributions; bike to work scheme; commuter travel scheme)
  • made with the written consent of the employee, for example, a private health insurance payment or trade union subscriptions.

If you are a live-in Au Pair or Domestic you are entitled to the national minimum wage but board and lodging rate is allowed to be deducted from your pay:

  • For board (food) only: €0.90 per hour worked (calculation at an hourly rate)
  • For lodging (accommodation) only: €23.86 for accommodation only per week or €3.42 per day

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/employment_types/domestic-workers/

It is illegal for an employer to make any other deductions from your salary if they were not agreed to in writing in advance. In order for the deduction to be legal, you must explicitly agree to it!

For examplean employer should not deduct money for damaged equipment or tools unless a deduction from your wages of this kind was agreed with you by virtue of a term in the contract of employment which you signed. IN ADDITION, the value of the deduction in such a situation must be fair and reasonable, taking into consideration all circumstances, including the salary of the employee. Any such deduction must take place within six months of the cost occurring. 

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/hours-and-wages/deductions%20from%20pay/ 

I work over 60 hours a week, is it legal?

As per the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 the maximum average working week should not exceed 48 hours. The average is usually based on the past 4 months. This does not mean that a working week can never exceed 48 hours; it is the average that is important.

If you are required to work more than 48 hours per week on a long-term basis this is in breach of the Act and you are entitled to lodge a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.

For more information please see: https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/hours_of_work/working_week.html 

What is the contract of employment?

It is an important document that employers are required to provide to all employees by law. This document is a contract which sets out main and fundamental information about your employer, job location, salary, job description, responsibilities and types of leaves and holidays you are entitled to and other terms and conditions of your employment.

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/contracts_of_employment/contract_of_employment.html

What other documents my employer is required to provide to me?

In addition to the contract of employment, your employer is obliged to provide you with a payslip.

A payslip is a document that contains information about your gross pay, tax deductions and any other agreed deductions and your final take-home net pay.

Sample of payslip can be found here:

https://www.thesaurus.ie/docs/2015/feature-payroll/feature-payslip/ 

For example, if you paid weekly you should receive a payslip every week. Payslip will outline how much you earned that week based on the hours you worked and how much tax was deducted for that particular week. It is an offence for an employer not to provide payslips.

Your employer must keep all records about your working hours and your pay for at least 3 years.

Here is a sample of records log your employer needs to have:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what-we-do/wrc-events/employers-record-log1.pdf 

It is not required by law but it is always beneficial and recommended for employee to have a separate record-keeping document where you will track your weekly hours worked, your annual leave days taken, breaks and payment received.

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/pay_and_employment/pay_slip.html 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/hours-and-wages/payslips/ 

Am I entitled to be paid for overtime work?

Overtime is work done outside normal working hours/agreed working hours as per contract. Employers have no legal obligation to pay you for work completed in overtime (unless you work in a specific sector that is covered by special agreements like construction). However, your contract of employment should state whether you are required to work overtime and if you will be paid for it.

However, if you are an hourly paid employee, your employer should compensate for every single hour you had worked.

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/hours_of_work/working_week.html 

I do not receive breaks at my workplace, is it legal?

In general, an employee is entitled to a minimum of:

  • A 15-minute unpaid break after 4 ½ hours of work
  • A 30-minute unpaid break after 6 hours of work, which can include the first 15-minute break.

NOTE: There is no entitlement to be paid for these breaks and they are not considered working time.

  • retail/shop employees who work more than 6 hours and whose hours of work include the period 11.30 am–2.30 pm are entitled to a one-hour consecutive break which must occur between 11.30 am–2.30 pm.
  • 11 consecutive hours rest should be provided in between periods of work (e.g. if you finished work at 22:00 you should not be required to come back to work earlier then 9:00 next morning).

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/hours-and-wages/working_hours/

If you are required to work without proper breaks and rest periods this is in breach of your employment rights and you are entitled to lodge a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.

I work full-time but I've never received any holidays, is it legal?

All employees are entitled to paid holidays. If you worked full time (or at least 1,365 hours) in a year you are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks’ paid holidays. If you work part-time you are entitled to 8% of total hours worked in a leave year.

Your holidays are not affected by any other type of leave provided for by law (e.g. parental leave), this is a separate legal entitlement.

If you never took holidays or have not been paid for your holidays this is in breach of your employment rights and you are entitled to lodge a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/leave/annual-leave/ 

What is the difference between a fixed-term employment contract and a permanent employment contract?

A fixed-term contract is an employment contract for a fixed agreed duration or a specific agreed purpose. For example, 9-months maternity cover contract is a type of a fixed-term contract. It means that your employment will be terminated on the fixed agreed date. This type of contract is usually practised for specific project management positions, maternity covers or specific research. While a permanent contract is a contract without a fixed termination date or so-called an open-ended contract. In other words, the contract continues until the employer or employee ends it.

An employee cannot be employed on fixed-term contracts indefinitely.  The legislation states  where a fixed-term employee completes or has completed a third year of continuous employment, his or her fixed-term contract may be renewed by the employer on only one occasion and any such renewal shall be for a fixed term of no longer than one year.  If the employer contravenes this the contract becomes one of indefinite duration i.e. it is identical to the contract except for duration unless the future renewals on a fixed-term basis can be objectively justified. 

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/contracts_of_employment/fixed_term_or_specified_purpose_contracts.html 

Are there any differences in employment rights entitlements between fixed-term and permanent employees?

Generally, there are no differences in employment rights entitlements and all employees under any contract type should be treated equally. The only exception is that an employee on a fixed-term contract cannot claim unfair dismissal if a claim is solely based on a fact that the contract was terminated on the expiration of the term and not renewed. An unfair dismissal cannot be argued where the only reason for ending the contract is the expiry of the fixed term or the completion of the specified purpose and the contract contains appropriate language mandated by the unfair dismissals acts.

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/contracts_of_employment/fixed_term_or_specified_purpose_contracts.html 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/publications_forms/employment-law-explained.pdf  

What is the difference between an employee and an independent contractor?

An employee is a person who is employed under the contract of service and is provided with an employment contract.

An employee is required to work under the terms and conditions of the employment contract and their daily duties, hours, conditions, pay, leave and other entitlements are defined and suggested by the employer, who is the boss in other words. Usually, there are no negotiations of terms and the employer is the one that dictates and sets its own rules and conditions of work.

Example: SPARK shop employs you as a sales assistant. SPARK rosters your hours of work, they set a rate of your pay, they tell you how to perform your job, they provide you training, they approve your annual leave and other requests. You have very limited flexibility and very limited capacity to negotiate your terms and working hours. Main principle is your employer/your boss controls how, when and where your work is to be carried out.

As an employee, you have employment rights protection under the law. Employers must respect employees’ rights and they have numerous obligations. For more information on your basic employment rights and entitlements please see our booklet here: Link to MRCI booklet

An independent contractor is a person who works under the contract for services, meaning he/she provides his/her service to the person or company who contracted him/her for these services. Independent contractors are usually self-employed people or sole traders and are responsible for their own taxes.

Independent contractors will usually sign a contract for services with a person or commercial firm to whom such service will be provided. Usually, terms of the contract are drafted by an independent contractor but hiring firm or hiring person could propose terms as well. Terms of a contract for services could be negotiated and amended to suit the needs of both parties. The contract for service could be for a fixed specific project, fixed duration or continuous.

The main principle is that an independent contractor has control over what, how, when and where the work is to be done and whether they do it personally or they engage subcontractor. The pay will be agreed in the contract for services and it could be for a set project/site, an hourly service rate, quarterly or annual payment.

Example: You are a sole trader and your main profession is a plumber. You were approached by a large construction development firm that is willing to hire and use your plumbing services for a housing development site. They require you to make necessary plumbing works for the development site by the end of the year. You had agreed that you will be paid per completed house as you go.

The firm has provided you with a contract for services which contains: the number of houses to be serviced; a target deadline date; firm’s responsibilities and liabilities; your liabilities and your insurance requirements; agreed pay per site; and penalties for delay in service provision.  

This contract does not specify your daily duties, training requirements or reporting lines.  In fact, your daily work on this site is not over-controlled. You are the one that controls your own time, breaks, days off and annual leave and you pay your own tax.

For more information please see:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/employing-people/becoming-an-employer-and-ongoing-obligations/guide-to-pay-as-you-earn-paye/determining-the-employment-status-of-an-individual.aspx

https://www.revenue.ie/en/self-assessment-and-self-employment/documents/code-of-practice-on-employment-status.pdf 

Can I bring an employment complaint if I am an independent contractor?

As an independent contractor, you do not have the same protections as employees/people hired under a contract of service and do not have the right in law to maintain an employment rights claim. You are only covered and bound by the terms of the contract you had signed and agreed with the firm who hired your services. You can dispute or bring the case to the court only for a breach of contract if the other side, the firm, does not fulfil its obligations or terms as per agreed contract.

It is very important to highlight that in some industries like construction, cleaning and care sector the contract for services is often exploited and people are forced to sign it when in reality they are not sole traders or individual contractors. Some contracts are used in some cases to avoid tax liabilities and to free firms from an employers’ obligations under the employment law.

It is important to be aware that signed contract for services in itself is not sufficient for you to be automatically considered in law as an independent contractor. The law and case law provides that we need to look beyond the contract and look at the actual and factual relationship and daily duties performed by the individual to establish if there so-called “employee-employer” relationship.

In other words, if you were forced to sign a contract for services, which states that you are an independent contractor but in fact, you are treated and controlled as an employee, you might then avail protections under employment law if the employee-employer relationship is established before the WRC or the Courts first.

If you have any doubt about your employment status, please feel free to come to our drop-in centre for assessment and further guidelines.

For more information please see:

https://www.revenue.ie/en/self-assessment-and-self-employment/documents/code-of-practice-on-employment-status.pdf 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/employment_types/employment-types/ 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/publications_forms/employment-law-explained.pdf 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/publications_forms/other_language_publications/ 

I always work on Sundays, am I entitled to extra pay?

If you work on Sundays, regardless of whether this is your usual working day or a single occasion, you are entitled to get a reasonable allowance.

The employer must give you one or more of the following:

  • a reasonable allowance;
  • a reasonable pay increase; or
  • reasonable paid time off work. 

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/hours_of_work/working_week.html

As a night shift worker, what is my national minimal wage entitlement?

Firstly it is important to understand who is considered as a night worker. A night worker is a person who works at least 3 hours at night and half of its working time in a year. The night hours are considered to be from midnight until seven in the morning (00:00 to 07:00).

If you work at night you are entitled to at least the national minimum wage rate. The national minimum wage rate is subject to change and depends on the State’s annual budget plan. It is an offence for employers to pay their adult employees below this rate.

However, only certain industry workers are entitled to pay above the national minimum wage. For example, the security industry has a separate agreement and it’s agreed by law that night-shift security officers should be paid extra for their night shift, €16.80 extra per shift.

For more information please see:

https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Healthcare_Sector/Night_and_Shift_Work_2012.pdf 

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/hours_of_work/night_work.html 

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2006/si/500/made/en/print 

What professions are entitled to pay above the national minimum wage rate?

In Ireland, all professions and industries are entitled to be paid at least a national minimum wage rate. However, some industries had negotiated different terms and agreed for special conditions and rate of pay.  Such industries include:

  • Workers employed in the Mechanical Engineering Building Services Contracting Sector, for example, qualified Plumbers and Pipefitters are entitled to a variable rate of pay depending on their experience and qualifications
    • Category 1 – newly qualified Plumbers and Pipefitters employed in the sector €22.73
    • Category 2 – qualified Plumbers and Pipefitters employed in the sector for 3 years €23.33
    • Category 3 – qualified Plumbers and Pipefitters employed in the sector for 6 years €23.60

For more information please see: https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/publications_forms/si_59_of_2018_sectoral_employment_order.pdf 

  • Workers employed in the Electrical Contracting Sector, for example, qualified electricians are entitled to a variable rate of pay depending on their experience and qualifications
    • Category 1- newly qualified Electricians employed in the sector € 23.49
    • Category 2 – qualified Electricians employed in the sector for 3 years € 23.96
    • Category 3 – qualified Electricians employed in the sector for 6 years € 24.34

For more information please see: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/si/251/made/en/pdf

I got sick during my holidays, am I entitled to get my holiday days back?

Yes, if you got sick during your holidays and your sickness is medically certified, then these holiday days should be given back to you. You can use these days as annual leave days at a later date. Please note it’s illegal to require you to take annual leave if you are sick and have a valid medical certificate.

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/leave_and_holidays/sick_leave.html 

I am a live-in domestic worker, am I entitled to the national minimum wage and paid holidays?

Irrespective of where you come from and what job you have, you are entitled to the same basic employment rights as any other worker. As a domestic worker, you are entitled to the national minimum wage and a paid annual leave. If you work full time for this family and you work at least 1,365 hours in total in a year you are entitled to a minimum of 4 weeks’ paid holidays or 8% of the hours worked in the leave year.

Moreover, your employer (family with whom you live) is obliged to obey and comply with all other employment law requirements. For more information on your basic employment rights and entitlements please see our booklet here: link to a booklet and visit following websites:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/types_of_employment/domestic_workers_in_ireland.html 

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/codes_practice/cop10/ 

What is unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is a termination of your employment by the employer without any justifiable and valid reason. Dismissal is considered unfair if you were dismissed because:

  • you are a member of a trade union;
  • of your religious beliefs (e.g you are Muslim or Jewish);
  • of your political opinions;
  • of your gender (this includes matters relating to pregnancy, giving birth and breast-feeding)
  • of your race, colour or nationality;
  • of your family status (if you are treated unfairly because you do or do not have children);
  • of your civil status (you are married or single);
  • of your sexual orientation (you are LGBTI+);
  • of your age;
  • you are member of the Traveller community
  • you have lodged legal proceedings against an employer or you are a witness in a case;
  • you are availing of your leave entitlements (eg maternity leave, adoptive leave, paternity leave, carer’s leave, parental leave or force majeure leave etc.); or
  • you have raised concerns about possible wrongdoing at work (the Protected Disclosures Act 2014).

To justify your dismissal your employer must show that it was fair and reasonable to dismiss you based on your behaviour or performance. Justifiable, fair and reasonable termination of employment could be in a situation of gross misconduct.  Examples of gross misconduct may include: theft; intentionally damaging equipment; stealing money or personal and sensitive client’s data; assaulting or harassing other employees; you were caught drunk or intoxicated at work; your behaviour is dangerous towards other employees, clients or members of the public; or you repeatedly break a company policy on health and safety rules after numerous warnings and training;

For more information please see:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/unemployment_and_redundancy/dismissal/fair_grounds_for_dismissal.html#ldcefb

http://www.employmentrightsadvice.ie/employer/ending-the-employment/gross-misconduct

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is a term which is used in cases when an employee leaves the job because it was difficult for him/her to continue employment due to the conduct of the employer. However the conduct must have been such that it would have been reasonable to terminate employment, you as an employee cannot cope with a situation anymore.

Before bringing a case to the WRC the employee must first demonstrate that they have exhausted all internal procedures. 

Example: You work as a cleaner, full-time Monday to Friday, in one single location for the past 2 years. With a recent change of management, your normal working hours were changed and now you required to work Tuesday to Saturday and start work at 6.30 am instead usual 9.00 am due to “business needs”. These changes are not suitable to you due to family commitments and you are unhappy that you were consulted about changes. You raise your concerns with your management but your complaint and concerns were ignored for 2 months. You had no other option left but to terminate your employment. This termination may be considered as reasonable and justifiable because your terms of the contract were breached and your employer failed to address your concerns and negotiate changes with you.

For more information please see:

https://www.siptu.ie/services/workersrightscentre/knowyourrights/constructivedismissal/

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/unemployment_and_redundancy/dismissal/constructive_dismissal.html

https://spunout.ie/employment/article/all-you-need-to-know-about-constructive-dismissal 

I was discriminated at the workplace on the grounds of nationality or race, what steps I could take to seek compensation?

Discrimination on the grounds of race and nationality is prohibited by the Irish equality law. If you feel you had been discriminated by your employer or colleagues it’s recommended as a first step immediately to bring an official complaint to a higher management or HR department. You need to inform your management/HR (preferably in writing) about the incident and request them to investigate the matter. However, if you believe the investigation was completed unsatisfactory or unfairly you should proceed to step 2.

Step 2 is to send an official ES1 form to your employer which can be downloaded from the Workplace Relations website and then to lodge the official WRC e-complaint seeking adjudication hearing (not an inspection request)It is important to know that discrimination form ES1 must be sent to your employer within 2 months since the discrimination incident (no exceptions). Then WRC e-complaint should be submitted 1 month after ES1 form was sent and within 6 months since the date of discrimination incident. Example if you were discriminated by a colleague on 1 March, you must submit ES1 form by 30 April, then you have time by 31 August to lodge e-complaint. It is very important to remember the exact date of the discrimination incident.

If you have no trust in your management or HR or discrimination comes directly from the top management you should consider going to step 2.

For more information please see: 

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/enforcement_and_redress/equality_tribunal.html

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what_you_should_know/equal-status-and-employment-equality/equal-status/

Where I can complain about health and safety breaches at my workplace?

Any complaints concerning workplace safety, health and welfare issues should be addressed to the Health and Safety Authority.

The Health and Safety Authority has an information line you can call: 1890 289 389 (9:00am to 12:30pm Monday – Friday)

For more information please visit:

https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Customer_Service/Making_a_Complaint/ 

Where I can get free legal advice and opinions on my employment issues?

  • FLAC lawyers provide free and confidential basic legal advice. They operate with the active co-operation and involvement of Citizens Information Centres. You need to make an appointment through your local Citizens Information Centre. More information could be found here: https://www.flac.ie/help/centres/employmentlaw/
  • A free employment law advice clinic for women has been set up by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) in partnership with Community Law & Mediation (CLM). The clinics are held once a month at NWCI offices, North King Street, Smithfield, Dublin 7 and operates by appointment only. If you are interested in meeting a solicitor at this clinic, please contact Legal and Policy Officer, Denise Roche, at deniser@nwci.ie first.
  • If you live in Ballymun, County Dublin or the surrounding area you may contact Ballymun Community Law Centre, they have weekly Drop-in Legal Advice Clinics. Please contact their helpline for more information: Helpline: +353 (1) 862 5805.

If you struggling to get support and require more guidance and information on your employment situation, please feel free to attend our MRCI drop-in centre.

Workplace Relations Commission

What is the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)?

The Workplace Relations Commission is an independent statutory body. It has a wide range of responsibilities and one of its core is to promote and encourage compliance with employment and equality legislation and to hear complaints from workers.

The WRC is not a standard civic court as such and was set up as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism but its decisions are legally binding. WRC is informal in comparison to civil courts.

The WRC is used as an official first legal step to seek clarity and justice for employees. It’s a place where employees would lodge official complaints if they believe their employment rights were breached. WRC decisions could be appealed to Labour Court if you unsatisfied or think there was an error.

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/what-we-do/wrc/

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/enforcement_and_redress/labour_relations_commission.html

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2015/act/16/enacted/en/print#sec11 

What is the difference between a WRC inspection and a WRC adjudication hearing?

A WRC Inspection is an inspection which is conducted by independent WRC inspectors to ensure that reported employer complies with employment laws concerned. WRC Inspection might slightly look like an audit or Garda investigation where an inspector has the following powers:

  • to enter at all reasonable times any work premises
  • to inspect and take copies of any documents and records and keep them for the duration of inspection
  • to question employees and ask them to produce documents if necessary

If a WRC Inspector found breaches they may issue a Compliance Notice or a Fixed Payment Notice to an employer, issue a fine to the employer. Also depending on the breaches, some of them are classed as offences and may result in a criminal prosecution against the employer. However, it is important to note that Inspectors do not award compensation to employees. In other words, if your employment rights were breached you will not receive compensation for such breaches but your employer may get fined or prosecuted instead. 

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/complaints_disputes/inspections/

WRC Adjudication 

WRC Adjudication happens when employee submitted an e-complaint seeking adjudication. Adjudication is performed by independent adjudication officers, where they review and hear a particular concern/dispute from both sides. Then based on the evidence provided will decide whether or not there was a breach of employment rights.

Adjudication usually happens in the meeting format (hearing), where the employee and the employer are required to be present and the meeting is chaired by a single independent adjudicator. The hearing date is set by WRC and both parties will be informed of the date, time and venue of the meeting. Hearings are conducted in English but if either side has a language barrier, an interpreter will be organised free of charge by the WRC. Please note you need to request interpreting services well in advance of the hearing day.

The decision delivered by Adjudicator is legally binding but can be appealed to Labour Court by either side. Adjudication is the only avenue available to an employee seeking compensation for breach of employment rights.

Adjudicators have the power to issue compensation to the employee and this is the main difference in comparison to Inspectors. Therefore it’s important to highlight that if you are looking for the monetary compensation you should lodge a complaint seeking adjudication and NOT an Inspection.

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/news-media/workplace_relations_notices/guidance_note_for_a_wrc_adjudication_hearing.html

Do I need to hire a lawyer for a WRC adjudication hearing?

There is no requirement for you to hire a lawyer but you could do so if you wish. The WRC was set up as an alternative dispute resolution and it is not a standard civil court.

You are entitled and you are welcomed to represent yourself. If you do not speak a language an interpreter could be arranged free of charge by the WRC.

You may bring a trade union official, Citizen Information Centre advocate, NGO caseworkers or Equality Advocates to represent you at the adjudication hearing. 

However, it is always beneficial to obtain qualified legal advice and representation.

How much time do I have to submit an electronic complaint to the WRC?

It depends on the employment breach concerned, however, the majority of claims should be brought within 6 months since the date a breach occurred. In exceptional and very limited circumstances (e.g certified health issues) this timeframe could be extended for an additional 6 months, and again it depends on the breach.

For more information please see:

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/publications_forms/employment-law-explained.pdf

https://www.workplacerelations.ie/en/complaints_disputes/refer_a_dispute_make_a_complaint/ 

What kind of evidence would I need to present at a WRC adjudication hearing?

You need to bring any type of information that was lawfully obtained by you in support of your complaint. This list is not exhaustive, for example:

  • Any official communications you had with your manager or employer (letters, messages, emails)
  • Photos
  • Medical Reports
  • Contract of employment
  • Payslips
  • Your records of hours worked
  • Your records of annual leave and pay
  • Copies of disciplinary procedures
  • Copies of investigation notes and meetings notes

Also, you are entitled to bring witnesses on the day of the hearing. For example, if your colleague has witnessed an incident or he/she is aware of something that would support your complaint, he/she could come to the hearing and speak about it.

Employment Permits

This section provides information on working in Ireland. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation administers the Employment system in the State.

Legal disclaimer

These materials have been prepared by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) for information purposes only with no guarantee as to accuracy or applicability to a particular set of circumstances. The materials are not intended and should not be considered to be legal advice. The information given may change from time to time and may be out of date. The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland disclaims any legal responsibility for the content or the accuracy of the information provided. MRCI is not a practising law centre.

Do I need an employment permit for Ireland?

If you are an EU or EEA (or Swiss) national, you have an automatic right to work in Ireland and do not require a permit or visa.

Most non-EEA nationals will require an employment permit to reside in Ireland, with the exception of: 

  • Students; permitted to work up to 20 hours per week or full time during vacation periods 
  • Stamp 4 holders
  • Refugees 
  • Individuals who hold business permission in Ireland 
  • Holders of immigration status introduced by the Department

What are the most common types of permit?

Critical Skills Permits and General Skills Permits (formerly Green Card permit) are the most common types of permits.

Critical Skills Employment Permits mostly cover “highly skilled” occupations, eg:

  • Engineers, Information and Communication Professionals (ICT), Health Professionals, Architects

General Skills Employment Permits cover all other occupations unless otherwise specified in the Ineligible list, e.g.

  • Restaurant managers, Cleaners, Electricians are all on the Ineligible list 
  • Chefs, Private home Carers, Customer Service (with language), Horticulture Workers, Meat Processing Operatives and Dairy Farm Assistants are eligible

Reactivation Employment Permits are designed for situations where a foreign national who entered the State on a valid Employment Permit but who fell out of the system through no fault of their own; or who has been badly treated or exploited in the workplace, to work legally again.

I am eligible for a permit, how do I apply?

The Department of Business, Enterprises and Innovation (DBEI) oversees the Employment Permits system. You can make an application online on the DBEI website.

A user guide is also available on DBEI website. 

See below for more information on General Employment Permits, Critical Skills Employment Permits, and Reactivation Permits.

How much does an employment permit cost?

A general employment permit costs €1,000 up to 24 months and €500 for six months or less.

Renewing a general employment permit costs €750 for six months or less, and €1,500 up to 36 months 

A critical skills employment permit cost €1,000 up to 24 months 

Reactivation employment permit cost €1,000 up to 24 months and €500 for six months or less.

To renew a reactivation employment permit it costs €750 for six months or less and €1,500 up to 36 months

Will I get money back if the permit is refused?

The applicant is refunded 90% of fees paid if an application is refused.

What documents do I need to apply for an employment permit?

Documents vary from various occupations and depending on the permit type. The full list of documents for general employment permits can be found here. 

All occupations and permits can expect to need: 

  • Passport photo of applicant 
  • Copy of applicant’s national passport
  • Contract of employment
  • Copy of P30 or letter confirming registration as an employer 
  • Copy of qualification relating to employment 
  • Signature pages signed by employer, employee and agent (if applicable) from online application

Does a work permit automatically give me permission to live in Ireland?

No, receiving an employment permit does not confer automatic right to live in Ireland.

For individuals who applied from inside Ireland and with a valid status, you can present at your local GNIB office with your work permit and will receive stamp 1 permission.

For individuals who applied from outside of Ireland, applications must be made to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for permission to enter and reside in Ireland.

General Employment Permits

Am I eligible to apply for a general employment permit?

Most occupations will be considered for a general employment permit, other than those listed on the ineligible jobs list. To be eligible for a general employment permit, your annual salary in general is €30,000 and must be based on 39 hour week.

Is there an exception to the minimum salary of €30,000?

The minimum annual salary is €30,000. However, there are the following exceptions:

  • €27,000 in respect of a non-EEA student who has graduated in the last 12 months from an Irish third-level institution, and who has been offered a graduate position from the Critical Skills Occupations List; the minimum annual remuneration must be €30,000 at renewal stage
  • €27,000 in respect of a non-EEA student, who has graduated in the last 12 months from an overseas third-level institution, and who has been offered a graduate position as an ICT professional from the Critical Skills Occupations List; in such cases the minimum annual remuneration is €30,000 at renewal stage
  • €27,000 in respect of an employment which requires a person fluent in the official language of a state which is not a Member State of the EEA, where the employment is supported by an enterprise development agency and the employment is in:
    • a customer service and sales role with relevant product knowledge,
    • a specialist online digital marketing and sales role, or
    • a specialist language support and technical sales support role, and
  • €27,500 in respect of an employment as a boner (meat).

What are the other criteria to apply for a general employment permit?

  • You must have a valid job offer from a registered employer 
  • You must apply from a valid status in the State OR from outside of Ireland. 
  • You must have the relevant qualifications, skills or experience that are required for the job
  • At least 50% of the workplace is from Ireland or the EEA 
  • The employer must have completed a labour market needs test 

Can I apply from within Ireland?

  • In order to apply from within the State, you must apply from a valid residence status (stamp 1, 1A, 1G, 2, 2A or 3 – except stamp 1 holders of a working holiday authorisation). 
  • If you are currently undocumented in Ireland, applications must be made from outside of Ireland. 
  • If you are the holders of a working holiday authorisations (WHA) you must leave the State on the expiry of your permission or cancel the existing WHA and must apply from outside the State for an employment permit 

What does a labour market needs test involve?

Your employer must advertise the vacancy:

  • with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection Employment Services/EURES employment network for at least 2 weeks and
  • in a national newspaper for at least 3 days and also
  • in either a local newspaper or jobs website (separate to Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection/EURES websites) for 3 days.

In line with Regulations made under the Employment Permits Act 2006, as amended the vacancy must include the following information:

  • a description of the employment,
  • the name of the employer,
  • the minimum annual remuneration,
  • the location/s of employment, and
  • the hours of work.

How do I renew my general employment permit?

You can renew your employment permit online via the Employment Permits Online system. Renewals must be made within 16 weeks of the existing permit expiring.

Can my family join me in Ireland?

Your dependents including spouse/ civil partner and/ or children can join you in Ireland. Your dependents will be given stamp 3 permission, which means they are unable to work in Ireland. 

How do I renew my general employment permit?

You can renew your employment permit online via the Employment Permits Online system. Renewals must be made within 16 weeks of the existing permit expiring. 

Critical Skills Employment Permits

What is a critical skills employment permit?

The critical skills employment permit is a scheme to attract highly skilled people into the shortages of Ireland’s labour market. The scheme aims to encourage people to take up permanent residence in the State.

Am I eligible to apply for a critical skills employment permit?

  • All occupations listed on the critical skills occupational list,  with a minimum salary of €30,000
  • You must have the relevant degree qualification or higher is required 
  • All occupations with a minimum annual remuneration of over €60,000, and are NOT on the ineligible job list.                                           
  • Must have the necessary level of experience  
  • You must apply from a valid status in the State OR from outside of Ireland 
  • At least 50% of the workplace is from Ireland or the EEA (50:50 rule).
  • A valid job offer of two years from a registered employer

Can I apply from within Ireland?

  • In order to apply from within the State, you must apply from a valid residence status (stamp 1, 1A, 1G, 2 or 3 – except stamp 1 holders of a working holiday authorisation). 
  • If you are currently undocumented in Ireland, applications must be made from outside of Ireland. 
  • If you are the holder of a working holiday authorisation (WHA) you must leave the State on the expiry of your permission or cancel the existing WHA, and must apply from outside the State for an employment permit 

Can my family join me in Ireland?

Your dependents including spouse/civil partner can join you in Ireland. Your dependents will be given stamp 1G permission, which means they are eligible to work in Ireland.

Am I eligible to apply for a general employment permit?

Most occupations will be considered for a general employment permit, other than those listed on the ineligible jobs list. To be eligible for a general employment permit, your annual salary in general is €30,000 and must be based on 39 hour week.

How do I renew a critical skills employment permit?

You do not have to renew a critical skills employment permit. Once you have completed at least 20 months on a critical skills employment permit, you are eligible to apply for a stamp 4 permission which allows you to reside and work freely in Ireland. You need to apply for a support letter from DBEI and then attend your local Garda immigration office with the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your Certificate of Registration (IRP card)
  • Your Critical Skills Employment Permit
  • A letter from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation confirming your continuing employment

Reactivation Employment Permits

What is a reactivation employment permit?

Reactivation employment permits are for non-EEA nationals who came to Ireland on a valid employment permit, but who has fallen out of the employment through no fault of their own – for example, if they were treated badly or exploited in their workplace.

Am I eligible for a reactivation permit?

You may be eligible for a reactivation permit if:

  • You previously held an employment permit but fell out from your employment permit or immigration status, through no fault or your own 
  • You are currently in Ireland 
  • You are currently unemployed 
  • You have a job offer or an employer who is willing to give you a job

How can I apply for a reactivation employment permit?

In order to apply you must first apply for temporary immigration permission from INIS.  Once approved, you will receive stamp 1 permission for 4 months. Applications are then made online via the DBEI website.