Ireland Employer of Record


If a lack of speed or local expertise are among your top concerns when expanding to or employing workers in Ireland, an employer of record may be the best option for achieving your global growth objectives.

An employer of record, sometimes known as an international PEO, enables you to quickly hire and onboard workers in Ireland―often in as little as two weeks―without having to take on the cost and risk of establishing a local entity.

Learn about the hiring, employment, payroll and benefits requirements for workers in Ireland and how our employer of record service, Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO), and local HR experts can help you manage your international employment needs.

Hiring in Ireland

Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, regulates employment and labor relations via a number of laws. Generally, Ireland requires employers to offer fewer benefits such as paid sick leave when compared to other European Union countries like France or Germany.

Although membership in trade unions is on the decline, in many industries, collective bargaining agreements are still the primary source of employment regulation.

Since employment in Ireland is highly regulated, compliant employment contracts are an essential business need. As your employer of record and PEO in Ireland, we can ensure that every contract, for every worker, meets all requirements. We can also provide you with guidance about cultural norms and hiring best practices and keep you up-to-date with employment regulations as they change.

Employment contracts in Ireland

As you look to hire employees in Ireland, here are some common regulations you’ll need to know to create a compliant contract, as well as how an employer of record and PEO can provide support for your unique HR needs.

Working hours
An employee may work an average maximum of 48 hours per week, not including breaks. Hours are typically averaged over a four-month reference period.

Employees are entitled to breaks according to the following schedule:

  • One 30-minute break after six hours of work
  • A rest period of at least 11 consecutive hours in every 24-hour period
  • A rest period of 24 consecutive hours in a week, which must include a Sunday (unless the contract states otherwise)

Sunday workers are normally entitled to additional pay.

There are some exceptions to the rules on working hours, particularly for employees who can set their own working hours.

As you consider the appropriate salary to offer new employees, keep in mind:

  • Minimum wage is €10 an hour.
  • Collective agreements may regulate the legal salary range.
  • Minimum wage is calculated as an average over time (using a maximum of a one-month period) and includes regular hours plus overtime, time spent traveling on business and time spent on training courses during the workday.
  • Employees are not entitled to special rates for overtime pay; any work completed in addition to the standard workweek is still paid at the normal rate.

As your employer of record in Ireland, we can provide you with resources and insights about employee compensation, so you are better equipped to make a competitive employment offer.

Bonuses are not mandatory, although many employers offer them.

Probation period
A probation period of between three and 12 months is permitted. During this period, an employer can terminate employment with one week’s notice as long as the termination meets the probation criteria, which include regular review meetings. This period can be extended if a provision for that exists in the employer’s handbook. Anyone whose probation period exceeds 12 months is entitled to the benefits of the Unfair Dismissals Acts.

Termination and severance
An employer must be fair when dismissing an employee, and that includes giving warnings, hearing out the employee and submitting to an investigation into the circumstances leading to the dismissal.

Employers should follow the Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures issued by the Labour Relations Commission, which sets out general principles for termination.

How much notice an employer must give depends on the length of employment, varying from one week’s notice (when an employee has been employed for up to two years) to eight weeks’ notice (when an employee has been employed for 15 years or more). An employee can waive their right to notice and accept payment instead. Employees are only required to give one week’s notice, regardless of their length of employment.

Terminated employees are entitled to any outstanding payments due to them on the date of termination.

An employee is entitled to severance payments when they have worked continuously for two years or more for the same employer and they are dismissed because of a redundancy layoff. This payment equals two weeks of pay for each year of service, plus one additional week’s pay of no more than €600.

As your employer of record in Ireland, we can work with you to quickly handle the unforeseen event of an employee termination, providing legal guidance and a personalized process that ensures you stay out of labor court.

Employee benefits and paid leave in Ireland

When negotiating terms of an employment contract with a candidate in Ireland, here are some of the statutory benefits and paid leave requirements to keep in mind, as well as how an employer of record can support your company’s benefits strategy.

Maternity leave
Pregnant employees are entitled to 26 consecutive weeks of maternity leave, regardless of their length of employment. However, an employer is not obligated to pay the employee during this leave. If the employee has accrued sufficient social insurance contributions in the year prior, she may be entitled to government payments of approximately 80% of her income.

Pregnant employees must take at least two weeks of leave before the end of the week of their baby’s expected birth, and at least four weeks after. To ensure the mother takes a minimum of two weeks before the birth, maternity leave must begin on the Monday before the week the baby is due.

An employee is entitled to 16 additional weeks of unpaid maternity leave with no entitlement to social welfare payments.

An employee has the right to return to the same job, or an appropriate alternative, that she held prior to maternity leave.

Employees begin earning paid annual leave as soon as they start work. Annual leave is calculated in any of the following ways, depending on which provides the most amount of paid leave:

  • Four weeks of leave in a year when the employee works at least 1,365 hours for the same employer
  • One-third of a workweek for each month when the employee works at least 117 hours
  • 8% of the hours worked in a year (up to a maximum of four weeks)

An employee who works eight or more months in a year must take at least one two-week period of leave.

Employees on maternity leave or pregnancy-related health and safety leave are still entitled to their entire annual leave. Employees on sick leave can still accrue annual leave and have 15 months from the end of the year in which it was accrued to take it.

Leave can be carried over for six months, or longer at the employer’s discretion. Employers also may offer employees more than the minimum annual leave.

Employees are entitled to nine paid holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Patrick’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • First Monday in May, June and August
  • Last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day
  • Stephen’s Day

When these dates fall on a weekend, there is no compensatory day off. Employees who must work on a paid holiday are entitled to either a paid day off on that holiday, an additional day of paid leave, an additional day’s pay, or a paid day off within a month of the holiday.

Sick leave
Employers are not required to provide paid sick leave, although some do.

Private sector employees who have made at least 104 Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions can claim Illness Benefit from the government at a rate of €203 a week beginning on the seventh day of illness and lasting between one and two years, depending on their total number of PRSI contributions. Workers 66 and older are not entitled to the Illness Benefit.

Health coverage
Ireland offers state-sponsored healthcare. It is free for 37% of the population (those who qualify based on income threshold) while the remainder of citizens pay a small fee for services. Since wait times for appointments can be long, 40% of Irish residents choose private insurance.

Employers are not obligated to provide private health insurance, but many do in order to attract employees and remain competitive.

As your employer of record in Ireland, we may be able to provide optional supplementary medical insurance coverage for professionals and their dependents at a more cost-effective rate.

Additional benefits
Employers are not required to provide a pension plan. If they do, there are no regulations. It can be contributory or noncontributory, funded or unfunded.

Although there is no official retirement age, employees qualify for a state pension beginning at age 66. This is due to go up to 67 as of January 1, 2021, and to 68 in 2028.

Workers’ compensation
Employers do not have to pay workers’ compensation, but many choose to have liability insurance for such an event.

The Department of Social Protection operates the Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme, which is a group of benefits for people who have been injured or incapacitated at work or while travelling to or from work, or who have contracted a disease related to the work they do. There are a number of benefits available and each has its own qualifications.

Employer social costs will cover a large portion of employee benefits in Ireland, but we can consult with you about supplemental coverage options, such as additional pension contributions or life insurance, if needed.

Employee onboarding with an employer of record in Ireland

We write and validate all local employment contracts, streamlining the onboarding process for you and your Ireland employees—all you have to do is provide relevant information and review and approve the employment agreement.

As your employer of record in Ireland, we will:

  • Schedule a welcome call to discuss HR and employment information for Ireland, as well as answer any questions
  • Prepare a customized employment contract in English (or other local language)
  • Share the employment contract and benefits information with the new employee for signature and review
  • Gather tax and banking information from the employee to set up payroll
  • Provide a local point of contact to the employee to answer any questions regarding their employment, local HR or payroll

The entire onboarding process for the employee is often completed in as little as two weeks.

Partner with Safeguard Global as your Ireland employer of record and PEO

With over a decade of service, we are the longest-serving employer of record and PEO provider in the international market. Organizations around the world rely on Global Employment Outsourcing (GEO) to expand and hire in over 179 countries around the world, quickly and compliantly.

We’ve seen just about every global employment circumstance imaginable—and with our extensive knowledge of local law and culture, we know what it takes to get employment right in Ireland. We provide written contracts in the local language, salaries in the local currency and HR support in your employees’ time zone.

Additionally, as a global payroll provider we support payroll administration—including payments, filings and other calculations—in more than 150 countries and can accommodate the payroll outsourcing needs of any size organization.

Whether you’re looking to hire as part of a strategic expansion or to meet specific talent needs, our global solutions advisors can walk you through your international hiring options so you can make the right choice for your organization. Contact us today.

The information provided on or through this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Safeguard Global expressly disclaims any liability with respect to warranty or representation concerning the information contained herein, including the lost essence, interpretation, accuracy and/or completeness of the information in transit and language translation.

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