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LIVING IN IRELAND: An Integration Website for Migrants living in Ireland

Employment Rights & Safety at Work

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While the vast majority of employers are fair, some employers are not. If you have an employment rights complaint you should contact your union, the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) or the Rights Commissioner Service.

Workers in Ireland are entitled to:

  • Have their terms of employment in writing
  • be paid at least the minimum wage of €8.65 per hour
  • payslips
  • a maximum working week of 48 hours
  • holidays and payment for this
  • minimum rest times
  • to be treated the same whether a part-time or full-time employee
  • minimum notice if they are going to be made redundant

NERA have a Guide to Employment Rights on their website: www.employmentrights.ie / www.workplacerelations.ie. Go to ‘Select your Language’, choose the language you would like to read this information in and ‘Guide to Employment Rights’ is at the end of the list. This guide gives basic information. Below are other frequently asked questions about employment rights:

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Minimum Wage

Who is entitled to Minimum Wage?

The National Minimum Wage Act applies to all employees except in the following circumstances:

  • Close relatives of the employer such as: father, mother, son, daughter, brother and sister
  • Any employee under-going structured training, such as an apprenticeship (other than hairdressing apprenticeships)

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Payslips

What can I do if my employer does not give me a pay slip?

If you are not being supplied with payslips you should contact your union or NERA.

It is also advisable to keep your own record of the hours you work and the name and contact details of your employer and supervisor.

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Maximum Working Hours

Do I get anything extra for working on Sunday?

If not already included in the rate of pay, employees are generally entitled to paid time off or a premium payment for working on a Sunday. Some industries have Registered Employment Agreements containing regulations on Sunday working.

Where there is no collective agreement in place, the employer should look at the closest applicable collective agreement, which applies to the same or similar work under similar circumstances, which provides for a Sunday premium.

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Rest Periods

Is my employer obliged to pay me for my breaks?

No, payment for breaks is not a statutory entitlement. However, it is usual practice for employees to be paid for a 15 minute break.

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Public Holidays

How many public holidays are there?

There are nine public holidays.

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th)
  • Easter Monday
  • The first Monday in May
  • The first Monday in June
  • The first Monday in August
  • The last Monday in October
  • Christmas Day (December 25th)
  • St. Stephen’s Day (December 26th)

Do I accumulate holiday time if I’m out sick?

No. However, holiday time is accumulated on time worked, annual leave, maternity leave, additional maternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave, adoptive leave and time spent on the first 13 weeks of carers leave.

Do I qualify for public holiday pay?

Full-time employees qualify immediately for public holiday pay. Part-time employees must have worked a total of 40 hours over a five-week period ending immediately before the public holiday to qualify.

Is Good Friday a public holiday?

No, Good Friday is not a public holiday, but depending on the industry you work in it may be common practice for this day to be a holiday.

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Unfair dismissal

Who does the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 2005 cover?

The Unfair Dismissals Acts apply to employees over 16 years of age with at least 12 months continuous service. The Acts do not apply to employees who have reached the normal retiring age or are under 16 years of age, close relatives of the employer who live and work in the same private house or farm, members of Defence Forces or Gardaí, officers of VECs, the Chief Executive Officer of the Health Services Executive, and City or County Managers or FÁS apprentices.

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Redundancy

I have been made redundant. Where can I get more information about this?

For more information on redundancy go to www.redundancy.ie

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Sick leave

Does my employer have to pay me when I’m sick?

Sick pay is not a statutory entitlement. Policy in relation to sick pay may be decided by the employer and agreed as part of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

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Other issues

Am I entitled to overtime pay?

Overtime pay is not a statutory entitlement, although it is usual practice for most employers to provide an overtime rate of pay.

Policy in relation to overtime may be decided by the employer and agreed as part of the employee’s terms and conditions of employment.

I have been charged money by an agency who promised to find me work, is this legal?

No. In Ireland it is illegal for an agency to charge a fee for finding employment for you. An employer may use an agency to recruit employees and it is the employer who pays the agency. Contact the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if you, as an employee, have been charged a fee by an employment agency. Telephone: 01 6312121

Am I entitled to a reference?

A reference is not a statutory entitlement and therefore is supplied at the discretion of the employer.

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Carer's leave

What is Carer's Leave?

Carer's Leave allows an employee to personally provide full-time care and attention for a person who is in need of such care. The minimum statutory entitlement is 13 weeks but an employee is entitled to a maximum of 104 weeks for any one “relevant person”. A relevant person is someone who a deciding officer from the Department of Social Protection considers in need of full-time care and attention.

Who is entitled to Carer's Leave?

You are entitled to take Carer's Leave if you have at least 12 months' continuous service.

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Payments for Carers

The two main payments for carers are Carer’s Benefit which is based on PRSI contributions and Carer’s Allowance which is means tested. There is also Domiciliary Care Allowance which may be paid for a child with a disability. Recipients of these payments may be eligible for an annual Respite Care Grant.

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Carer’s Benefit

Carer’s Benefit is a payment made to insured persons who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. Under Carer’s Leave legislation, you may be entitled to unpaid temporary leave from your employment to provide care to a person. If you are providing care for more than one person you may be entitled to an extra 50% of the personal rate of Carer’s Benefit each week.

How do I qualify?

  • You will qualify for Carer’s Benefit if:
  • You are aged over 16 and under 66
  • You satisfy PRSI contribution conditions (Search for ‘Carers Benefit’ on www.welfare.ie for more information)
  • You give up employment to care for a person(s) on a full-time basis (this employment must have been for a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight)
  • You are not employed or self-employed outside the home (you may work up to 15 hours per week)
  • You are living in the State and you are not living in a hospital, convalescent home, or other similar institution and

The person(s) you are caring for is/are:

  • disabled and in need of full-time care and attention (medical certification is required)
  • not normally living in a hospital, residential home or other similar institution

Where Domiciliary Care Allowance is being paid by the Health Service Executive for a child no medical certification is required.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form CARB1 and send it to the Carer’s Benefit Section:

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford
Telephone: 043 3345211
LoCall: 1890 927 770

What if I do not qualify?

If you do not qualify you can apply for Carer’s Allowance.

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Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a payment for carers who look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention and who satisfy a means test. Carers who are providing care to more than one person may be entitled to up to an extra 50% of the maximum rate of Carer’s Allowance each week, depending on the weekly means assessed.

How do I qualify?

  • You will qualify for Carer’s Allowance if:
  • You are aged 18 or over
  • You satisfy a means test
  • You live with the person(s) you are looking after or can be contacted quickly by a direct system of communication between your home and the home of the person you are caring for
  • You are caring for the person(s) on a full-time basis
  • You are not employed or self-employed outside the home in excess of 15 hours per week
  • You are living in the State
  • You satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition
  • You are not living in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution and

The person(s) you are caring for is/are:

disabled and in need of full-time care and/or attention (medical certification is required)

  • not normally living in a hospital, home or other similar institution
  • aged 16 years of age or over, or
  • under 16 years of age if Domiciliary Care Allowance is being paid for them by the Health Service Executive. You should provide documentary evidence of this payment.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form CR1 and send it to the Carer’s Allowance Section:

Social Welfare Services Office
Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford
Telephone: 043 3345211
LoCall: 1890 927 770

What if I do not qualify?

You have the right to appeal the decision. If you still do not qualify you should contact your local social welfare office or the Department of Social Protection.

Crosscare Carers Support is a programme which aims to improve the quality of life of family carers who are often vulnerable and under stress. Carers Support provide support, respite for carers and education and training. For further information go to: www.crosscare.ie or contact:

Crosscare Carers Support Programme,
The Red House, Clonliffe College, Drumcondra, Dublin 3
Telephone: 01 8360011
Email: nkirrane@crosscare.ie or rdaynes@crosscare.ie

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Maternity Leave

If you are pregnant in Ireland while employed, you are entitled to take maternity leave from your job for a basic period of 26 weeks. At least two weeks have to be taken before the end of the week of your baby’s expected birth and at least four weeks after. You can decide how you would like to take the remaining 16 weeks. Generally, employees take two weeks before the birth and 24 weeks after. You can also avail of an additional 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave.

The entitlement to maternity leave from employment extends to all female employees in Ireland (including casual workers), regardless of how long you have been working for the organisation or the number of hours worked per week.

Am I entitled to payment during Maternity Leave?

Your employer does not have to pay you while you are on Maternity Leave. However, you may be entitled to Maternity Benefit.

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Maternity Benefit

Maternity Benefit is a payment made to women in Ireland on maternity leave from work and who have paid a certain amount of PRSI contributions (search for ‘Maternity Benefit’ on www.welfare.ie for more information). You need to apply for the payment 6 weeks before you intend to go on maternity leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed). The amount of money paid to you each week will depend on your earnings.

Am I entitled to Maternity Benefit if I am in receipt of other social assistance payments?

If you are in receipt of the following payments, half-rate Maternity Benefit is payable:

  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Widow’s and Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow’s and Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit
  • Prisoners Wife’s Allowance
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance
  • Death Benefit by way of Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner's or Dependent Parents’ Pension (under the Occupational Injuries Scheme)

How long can I claim Maternity Benefit?

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 continuous weeks. At least 2 weeks and not more than 16 weeks maternity leave must be taken before the end of the week in which your baby is due.

If your baby is born later than expected and you have less than 4 weeks maternity leave left, you may be entitled to extend your maternity leave to ensure that you have a full 4 weeks off following the week of the birth. In these circumstances Maternity Benefit will continue to be paid to you until the baby is four weeks old. You need to notify the Maternity Benefit Section of the Department of Social and Family Affairs by sending them a letter from your GP stating the date on which your baby was born.

How do I apply?

You must complete Form MB10 six weeks before you intend to go on maternity leave and send it to the Maternity Benefit Section.

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Parental Leave

The Equality Authority provides a summary of Parental Leave:

  • The Parental Leave Act 1998 entitles each parent to 14 weeks unpaid parental leave.
  • The leave must be taken before the child is 8 years of age, or 16 years of age in the case of children with disabilities.
  • This leave is non-transferable between the parents, except where both parents work for the same employer. However, this depends on the agreement of the employer.
  • You must notify your employer 6 weeks in advance of your intention to take parental leave.
  • The leave may be “broken up” with the agreement of the employer.
  • Disputes are heard by the Rights Commissioners. Further information on dispute procedures and complaint forms are available on the Rights Commissioners Website: www.lrc.ie

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Adoptive Leave

The Equality Authority provides a summary of Parental Leave:

  • An adopting mother or sole male adopter is entitled to 24 weeks adoptive leave
  • An employee must give 4 weeks written notice to their employer before starting the leave
  • There is no obligation on employers to pay an employee, however the employee may be entitled to a social welfare benefit.

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Force Majeure Leave

An employee in Ireland has a limited right to leave from work in time of family crisis. This is known as “force majeure leave”. You must notify your employer as soon as practicably possible that you need to avail of force majeure leave. Immediately on your return to work, you must make your application in writing to your employer. The maximum amount of leave is 3 days in any 12 month period or 5 days in a 36 month period. You are entitled to be paid while you are on force majeure leave.

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Compassionate Leave

Compassionate leave is granted in the event of a death in an employee’s family. There is no legal entitlement to compassionate leave and it is generally at the discretion of the employer.

Where can I get information on Parental Leave, Adoptive Leave and Force Majeure Leave?

Information on all of the above can be got from the Equality Authority: www.equality.ie
Lo-Call 1890 245 545

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Health and Safety in the workplace

Health and safety at work means working in a safe environment and where there are risks that they are minimised or eliminated and to be treated with dignity and respect. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is the national body in Ireland with responsibility for securing health and safety at work.

What is the Safe Pass Programme?

The Safe Pass Health and Safety Awareness Training Programme is a one-day programme run by FÁS, (Ireland’s training and employment authority). Safe Pass aims to ensure that all construction site and local authority workers in Ireland have a basic knowledge of health and safety. This is to enable them to work on construction sites without being a risk to themselves or others who might be affected by their actions.

Where can I find out more about the Safe Pass programme?

Further information on the Safe Pass Programme for the Irish construction industry is available from your local FAS office or the Safe Pass Department: safepass@fas.ie

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Unhealthy or Unsafe Working Conditions

I am concerned about health and safety issues in my workplace, what should I do?

You should contact the Health and Safety Officer in your place of employment. If you are not satisfied with the result of this you should contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA). The HSA monitors compliance with legislation at the workplace and can take enforcement action (up to and including prosecutions).

Health and Safety Authority
The Metropolitan Building, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1
Telephone: 1890 289 389
Website: www.hsa.ie

I am being bullied at work, what can I do?

You can contact the Health and Safety Officer in your place of employment or you can contact the Health and Safety Authority.

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Work related injuries

I have been injured at work and will not be able to work due to the injury, how can I get some financial assistance?

You may be entitled to Injury Benefit.

What is Injury Benefit?

Injury Benefit is one of the benefits under the Occupational Injuries Scheme. It is a weekly payment made to you if you are unfit for work due to an accident at work or because you have contracted a disease due to the type of work you do.

Injury Benefit is normally paid from the 4th day of your illness/ incapacity. Payment can be made for up to 26 weeks starting from the date of your accident or development of the disease. If you are still unable to work after 26 weeks, you may be entitled to Illness Benefit if you satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions (search for ‘Illness Benefit’ on www.welfare.ie for more information).

How do I apply for Injury Benefit?

You should go to a doctor and get a First Social Welfare Medical Certificate, which includes a claim form. Complete these forms and submit them to your local social welfare office or the Injury Benefit Section. You must apply for Injury Benefit within 21 days of becoming ill. You should forward a medical certificate each week for as long as you are unfit for work.

All work accidents/diseases do not result immediately in illness or disablement. In such a case, to safeguard your future right to benefit, you should apply for a declaration (Form DB/OB1) to the effect that your accident/disease occurred at work. This declaration form is available from the

Injury Benefit Section
Department of Social Protection
P.O. Box 1650
Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 7043018

How can I seek compensation for an injury I received in work?

This will depend on the nature of the accident and the injury. You may wish to pursue civil proceedings through the courts. However, there may be a cheaper option through InjuriesBoard.ie (previously called the Personal Injuries Assessment Board).

What is InjuriesBoard.ie?

InjuriesBoard.ie is a statutory body which provides independent assessment of personal injury compensation for victims of Workplace, Motor and Public Liability accidents. This assessment is provided without the need for the majority of legal costs.

Where can I get more information?

InjuriesBoard.ie
P.O. Box 8, Clonakilty Co. Cork
Lo-Call: 1890 829 121
Email: enquiries@injuriesboard.ie
Website: www.injuriesboard.ie

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Links

The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA): www.employmentrights.ie
O’Brien Road, Carlow
Telephone: 059 9178990
Email: info@employmentrights.ie

The Labour Relations Commission: www.lrc.ie
Rights Commissioner Service, Tom Johnson House, Haddington Road, Dublin 4
Telephone: 01 6136700
Email: rightscomm@lrc.ie

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland
55 Parnell Square West, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8897570
Email: info@mrci.ie
Website: www.mrci.ie

SIPTU – the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union represents over 200,000 workers in almost every employment sector of the Irish economy: www.siptu.ie

Liberty Hall, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8586300
Email: info@siptu.ie

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is the largest civil society organisation on the island of Ireland, representing and campaigning on behalf of some 832,000 working people: www.ictu.ie

31/32 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Telephone: 01 8897777
Email: congress@ictu.ie

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Supported by

This project is co-financed by the European Commission under the European Integration Fund and is supported by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration in the Dept of Justice & Equality & Pobal.