Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2021-09-23

Minimum Wage

The national minimum wage rate is set in an Order by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The National Minimum Wage applies to all employees, including full-time, part-time, temporary and casual employees, except the following categories or employees who are excluded from its provisions:

- Employees who are close relatives of the employer, such as a spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister;

- Employees undergoing structured training such as an apprenticeship (other than hairdressing apprenticeships)

An employee who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be paid a rate that is not less than 70% of the national minimum hourly rate of pay. An employee who has attained the age of 18 years shall receive at least 80% of the minimum wage in their first year after having commenced employment, and at least 90% of the minimum wage in their second year after having commenced employment. Employers are permitted to pay employees who are under 18, first-time job entrants, or those undergoing structured training, specified rates below €8.65. For training rates to apply, the training is split into three equal parts of not less than one month and not more than twelve months each. Pay rates increase for each third of the training time. The minimum period of training must be 03 months. As for the one-third period required under training programs, it can be at least 01 month but not longer than 12 months. There is also a case of experienced adult workers whose employer successfully applies to the Labour Court for a once-off temporary exemption from paying the national minimum wage on inability to pay grounds.

According to the National Minimum Wage (Low Pay Commission) Act 2015, the Low Pay Commission makes annual recommendations to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation regarding the national hourly rate of pay that is designed to assist as many low paid workers as is reasonably practicable. Minimum hourly pay is set at a rate that is both fair and sustainable; where adjustment is appropriate, is adjusted incrementally. Over time, is progressively increased and without creating significant adverse consequences for employment or competiveness. This act also requires the Commission, when formulating its recommendations, to have regard to such matters as changes in earnings and currency exchange rates, international comparisons (particularly with the UK) and the likely effect on levels of employment, the cost of living and national competitiveness.

Labour Inspectors are required to ensure compliance with the provisions of labour laws including the provisions on minimum wages. A worker may file an online complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission requesting either the inspector from the Commission to investigate the claim or refer to the dispute the the adjudicator from the Commission. Refusal to pay the minimum wage, as prescribed per hour, is a punishable offence. An employer found guilty of an offence under the National Minimum Wage Act is liable, under summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both. In the case of conviction on indictment, fine up to £10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both may be imposed

Source: National Minimum Wage Act S.14-17 and 35-37 last amended in 2016; S.I. No. 331 of 2011 S.2; National Minimum Wage (Low Pay Commission) Act 2015

For updated minimum wage, kindly refer to the section on Minimum Wages

Regular Pay

The Payment of Wages Act 1991 regulates the manner in which employees are paid. Employment contracts must state the rate of pay, the timing and method of payment, and details relating to commissions or bonuses. 

Under the Payment of Wages Act, 1991, wages may be paid through:

i. Cash;

ii. a cheque or bank draft drawn on any of the commercial banks or a Trustee Savings Bank;

iii. a Postal Order, Money Order or Payable Order Warrant issued by or drawn on An Post

iv. a credit transfer to an account specified by the employee

v. a Payable Order or Warrant, issued by a Minister of the Government, Local Authority, etc.

Employers must provide employees with written statements of wages and deductions at the time of payment, and are obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure confidentiality.  Employers also are prohibited from making deductions from wages unless authorized by law or an employment contract, or with the consent of the employee.  

Every employer must select a pay reference period for each individual employee. A pay reference period may be a week, a fortnight but can't exceed one calendar month.  Factors influencing the selection of pay reference period for employees include whether an employee is paid on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, whether the employee’s earnings remain constant or fluctuate from week to week, and the requirement on an employer to provide an employee with a written statement, if requested by the employee, of the employee’s average hourly rate of pay in a pay reference period or periods. 

In accordance with section 3.1.h of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994, new employees have to be notified in writing of the pay reference period selected by their employer and other terms of employment within two months of taking up employment. A pay reference period cannot be longer than one month. However, the selection of a pay reference period does not affect the pay period of an employee. Employers can select a pay reference period of a month while paying employees on weekly basis.

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • National Minimum Wage Act 2000, Order 2011, No. 13 of 2011 last amended in 2016
  • Organisation of Working Time Act, No. 20 of 1997, last amended 2003
  • Payment of Wages Act, 1991

<!-- /15944428/ --> <div id='div-gpt-ad-1604915830963-0'> <script> googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1604915830963-0'); }); </script> </div>