Ireland Country Facts

We provide comprehensive information regarding, Culture, Work life, Taxation, Visa’s & immigration, Labour Law, recruiting in Ireland and employment contracts.

Global Expansion Made Easy for You

Expanding into Ireland generally comes with challenges, however, partnering with us and using Employer of Record (EOR) eliminates the frustrations you could encounter.

Ireland Visas, Work Permits and Migration

Ireland visa, residency and permit regulations require expert guidance as they vary according to the country foreign nationals live in – the European Union, the European Economic Area and other foreign nationals are all affected by these complex regulations.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on Ireland visas and work permits – therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in Ireland in no time.

What Types of Work Visas, and Permits for Ireland are there?

Ireland is part of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Members of all these nations can visit, live, or work there without a visa or permission to work. Citizens of the UK and its Crown dependencies (Bailiwick of Jersey, Bailiwick of Guernsey, and the Isle of Man) may also visit, live, and work in Ireland as part of the long-standing Common Travel Agreement (CTA).

However, bringing family from outside the EEA, Switzerland or the UK may mean having to apply for a visa/preclearance to enter Ireland. Third Country Nationals on the visa-exempt list can also visit for up to 90 days without a visa.

Otherwise, they will need a Short-Stay C Visa. For longer stays then applicants must apply for an Irish National Long Stay ‘D’ Visa – plus register for a Residence Permit.

Third country nationals who want to work in Ireland will first require a job offer and apply for the relevant paperwork before entering Ireland from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or the Department of Justice. There are several visa categories for Ireland:

Work Visa for less than 90 days:

  • Approval is needed from the Atypical Working Scheme Division of the Naturalization and Immigration Service
  • Apply for an Employment Visa (Atypical Working Scheme -AWS) from the Department of JusticeNote: Eligibility is required e.g., Where there is a skill shortage or to provide a high skill to a company or industry for a short period. For more information, check out the Ireland Immigration website. To apply, applicants must register for an INIS account online.

Employment Permits for longer than 90 days:

  • A signed contract is required for all permits
  • Applicants will need to apply for permission to work through an Employment Permit from the Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE)
  • Long-Stay D Visa (if required) can be applied for upon receipt of Employment Permit to enter Ireland
  • When in Ireland, an employee needs to register for a Residence Permit with a local immigration office to receive an Irish Residence Permit (IRP)

Besides visas, individuals also need to apply for Work/Employment Permits if they want to work in Ireland, and eligibility for a work permit depends on their employment’s conditions:

General Employment Permit:

  • To attract Third Country Nationals to fill areas experiencing a skill shortage
  • The employer must have advertised the position through an EURES advertisement to offer the job first to Irish and EEA nationals according to the Labor Market Needs Test.
  • Excluded occupations are on the Ineligible Occupations list for general workers.
  • The permit can be agreed for an initial one or two years and renewed for a further three years. After 60 months, the employee may apply to the ‘Immigration Service Delivery’ (ISD) for a long-term Residence Permit
  • The employee can only work in the location and in the occupation as specified on the permit
  • The employer should be trading in Ireland, recorded with the Revenue Commissioners and if pertinent with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies

Critical Skills Permit:

  • This permit is intended to attract highly qualified and skilled workers to live and work in Ireland such as ICT experts, professional technologists, and engineers (replaces the old Green Card)
  • Does not need a Labor Market Needs Test
  • Occupations determined by the labor market and Future Skill Needs
  • This permit allows families to join the employed applicant immediately. However, for the Long-Term Residency Permit, 60 months of employment must be completed
  • Preferential treatment is also given to permit holder regarding naturalization and immigration once the Critical Skills Employment permit is completed
  • Contracts must be for a minimum of 2 years and permit holders are required to stay with initial employer for the first 12 month and a new permit for another employer will not be issued during those 12 months
  • The employer should be trading in Ireland, recorded with the Revenue Commissioners and if pertinent with the Companies Registration Office/Registry of Friendly Societies

Intra-Company Transfer:

  • Facilitates transfer of top management, trainees, and vital personnel from Third Countries to company’s branch office in Ireland.
  • Top Management or key personnel must have a minimum salary of €40,000 a year.
  •  Trainees in key positions must have a minimum salary of €30,000 a year.

Irish Tax Laws

Dealing with tax, payroll, and employment regulations for your staff from overseas is a tricky process. It poses major issues for companies seeking to develop their international profile. Ireland is no exception, with the Revenue Commissioners imposing fines and other sanctions for late or fraudulent returns and not paying taxes on time.

We have made it our goal to keep track of the latest changes in the tax policies to always ensure complete compliance. To keep you informed and updated too, we created this guide which includes the basic facts regarding tax regulations in Ireland.

Overview of Taxes in Ireland

  • Individual Income Tax – 20% – 40% (Plus, surcharges for Universal Social Charge, USC)
  • Value Added Tax – 23% (standard rate), (Rates of 13.5%, 9% and 4.8% for some categories)
  • Corporate Income Tax – 12.5% (standard rate), 25% (non-trading income)
  • Withholding Tax – 20% (Applies to resident individuals, non-resident individuals and companies)
  • Wage Withholding Taxes – (Deductions for Payment Related Social Insurance and USC depend on earnings)
  • Local Property Tax – (Has applied since 2013, depends on value)

Ireland Individual Tax – Single, Married

Ireland residents are taxed on all their worldwide income, from whatever source. Tax residency in Ireland applies if an individual is a resident or domiciled in Ireland for 183 days in a tax year or 280 days in the current and previous tax year, with a minimum of 30 days in each.

Residents who are not domiciled in Ireland are liable for taxes on their Irish-sourced income, foreign income from working in Ireland and other foreign income paid into Ireland. Non-residents are taxable only on Irish-earned income.

Income Tax Rates

  • 0 – €35,300 (US$42,000) – 20% (Single or widowed person, no dependent children)
  • €35,301 €44,300 (US$52,700) – 20%, and a balance over 40% (Married couple, one income)
  • €44,301 €70,600 (US$84,000) – 20%, and a balance over 40% (Married couple, two incomes of at least €26,300 (US$31,290)

Taxpayers in Ireland are also entitled to tax credits to reduce their tax liability. These can vary according to personal circumstances, as shown below:

  • €1,650 (US$1,963) – Employee tax credit (formerly PAYE tax credit)
  • €1,650 (US$1,963) – Earned income tax credit
  • €1,650 (US$1,963) – For a widowed person or surviving civil partner qualifying for single person child carer credit
  • €2,190 (US$2,605) – For a widowed person or surviving civil partner (without dependent children)

Ireland Entity Set Up

Global expansion into Ireland generally means that you need to set up an in-country entity. However, by partnering with us you create the possibility to bypass this process and utilize our Irish entity. By using our PEO service we take care of the complicated paperwork.

Expanding into a new country is always an adventure, but we believe this adventure should be exciting instead of just frustrating and time-consuming. Therefore, we have been supporting companies in over a hundred countries with their expansion plans.

How to set up an Irish Subsidiary

  • Register the name of the company with the Companies Registration Office (CRO)
  • Submit Form 1A and the constitution for a limited company
  • Articles of association should detail business activities and company shareholders, directors, and other officers
  • Appoint a minimum of two directors, including at least one citizen of the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Appoint a company secretary and a maximum 99 shareholders
  • Register an office in Ireland
  • Submit parent company’s resolution to create a subsidiary
  • Receiving a certificate of incorporation from the CRO once all documents have been approved and signed.
  • Registering for Employment Taxes (PREM) with the Revenue by completing Form TR2 and submitting to the local Revenue Registration Unit for the relevant location
  • Completing Form TR2 (FT) to obtain PREM tax registration for non-resident companies with no physical presence in Ireland
  • Obtaining a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, which acts as a national tax registration number for company directors
  • Registering with the Social Insurance Fund for Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) deductions for employees
  • Open a corporate bank account for all financial transactions and to deposit any initial share capital, if required according to company type

Benefits of setting up a Subsidiary in Ireland

Ireland has become an increasingly attractive option for foreign enterprises targeting international expansion. Setting up a subsidiary in Ireland will open the route into one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, with prosperous consumers, a well-educated and highly skilled workforce.

Multi-nationals, hi-tech companies, financial services, and pharmaceutics corporations find Ireland to be a desirable base for their operations. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) grew in 2021 and the World Bank ranked Ireland 24th out of 190nations in its 2020 Doing Business Report.

As the only English-speaking nation among the EU’s Eurozone members, Ireland opens the gateway to its 450 million consumers in both Western and Eastern Europe.

These attractions add to the benefits of setting up a subsidiary, which include:

  • The subsidiary is a separate legal entity to the parent company
  • The subsidiary has the flexibility to operate under its own business name and pursue independent business activities once it has obtained any necessary licenses
  • The subsidiary will boost the international profile of the parent company
  • The subsidiary has the same legal standing as local companies and can be eligible for government tax incentives and benefits
  • The parent company is not liable for the obligations and debts of the subsidiary

Irish Market

Foreign companies making a move into Ireland will be taking their place in one of Europe’s fastest growing and buoyant markets. Ireland’s projected nominal Gross Domestic Product for 2021 was US$476 billion, putting the island state 29th in the world.

Ireland has become a business magnet for multi-nationals drawn towards the capital Dublin, which accounts over 40% of the country’s GDP and is home to the highest-spending consumers. IT, high-tech, financial services, pharmaceutics, and medical technology lead the way for foreign investment and the economy’s growth rate almost doubled the European average in 2020.

Starting a Business in Ireland

Geographically located off the coast of Western Europe, Ireland is an obvious gateway into the European market, with its 450 million consumers, and is the only English-speaking member of the European Union’s Eurozone.

Company tax incentives are another potential bonus. However, incoming companies will find these attractions balanced by having to comply with the complexities of employment, tax, payroll, and corporate legislation while ensuring their employees are working productively and efficiently.

Foreign companies establishing an entity in Ireland typically choose a subsidiary operating as a private limited liability company. This is a smart move but brings compliance issues with a number of legalities.

The subsidiary must comply with requirements under the Companies Act (2014), Irish employment laws and European Union directives, which together provide the framework for all companies operating in Ireland, whether domestic or foreign-owned.

The Companies Registration Office (CRO) is responsible for incorporating and registering companies and ensuring they follow the requirement of the Companies Act. Once foreign companies have taken the first step of registering the subsidiary’s name with the CRO, they must follow a set procedure and meet specific requirements.

  • At least one director should be a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • A Non-EEA Residents’ Bond must be obtained if none of the directors are EEA residents
  • A company secretary must be appointed if there is only one director
  • The company must have at least one shareholder, which cannot be a corporate body
  • Register the office and business address
  • Articles of association should detail business activities and company shareholders, directors, and other officers
  • Once all documents are signed, obtain certificate of incorporation from CRO, or register online with the Companies Online Registration Environment (CORE)

To operate payroll, other measures apply. These include:

  • Registering for Employment Taxes (PREM) with the Revenue by completing Form TR2 and submitting to the local Revenue Registration Unit for the relevant location
  • Completing Form TR2 (FT) to obtain PREM tax registration for non-resident companies with no physical presence in Ireland
  • Obtaining a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, which acts as a national tax registration number for company directors
  • Ensuring tax liability is reported to the Revenue on or before employees are paid, and due payments are made by the 23rd of the next month
  • Registering with the Social Insurance Fund for Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) deductions for employees

Expanding into Ireland

Ireland has one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe and is becoming one of the major players in the European Union and Eurozone. The projected nominal Gross Domestic Product for 2021 of US$476 billion, put the island state 29th in the world. Impressive for a relatively small nation.

Ireland is a front-runner for attracting Foreign Direct Investment and 2018 was the sixth successive year IBM’s Global Trends report named their economy No. 1 for attracting high-value international investment. Ireland is dubbed a ‘knowledge economy’ and this is supported by its hi-tech cutting-edge sectors such as IT, software development, financial services, life sciences, pharmaceutics, and medical technology.

Ireland plainly welcomes foreign investment, but incoming companies have to toe the line in terms of compliance with employment laws and collective agreements affecting benefits and entitlements for employees.

Irish Business Facts

  • Capital city – Dublin
  • Population – Around 5 million
  • Major cities – Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Swords, Drogheda
  • Official language – Irish and English
  • Economy/GDP (2021) – $US476 billion, world ranking 29th
  • World ranking: Ease of Doing Business – 24th out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2020)
  • Leading sectors – Service sector (54.4% GDP); industry sector (39% GDP); agriculture sector (1% GDP). Largest industries within sectors: IT, software development, financial services, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology
  • Main exports – Pharmaceutical and medical products; scientific apparatus; organic chemicals; electrical machinery; essential oil and perfume
  • Main imports – Transport equipment; organic chemicals; pharmaceutical and medical products, electrical machinery, and appliances; office machines; petroleum,
  • Main trading partners – USA, United Kingdom, European Union (primarily Germany); China.
  • Government – Parliamentary republic system, Unitary state, liberal democracy
  • Currency – Euro

Advantages and Challenges of the Irish Market

Advantages of expanding into the Irish economy include:

  • Corporate Tax: The standard trading rate of 12.5% is among the lowest in the world and 10% lower than the European Union (EU) average, with incentives to bring the rate lower
  • Politics: Ireland is a parliamentary, representative democratic republic and a member state of the European Union
  • Economic Attitude: Welcomes international investment from multi-nationals and offers various corporate taxation incentives, especially for research and development
  • Logistics: Good global connections. There are four international airports – Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and Knock. Dublin has the largest port
  • Trade Links: Direct trading access to Europe as a whole and its EU members, with access westwards to North and South America
  • Ease of Business: The World Bank Report ranked Ireland 23rd for ease of starting a business and fourth for ease of paying taxes out of 190 nations

Challenges of operating in Ireland:

  • Uncertainty over how UK’s exit from EU will affect relationship with Irish markets
  • Ongoing compliance with changing health and safety, employment, social insurance, and taxation laws
  • Skills shortage in the digital economy
  • High cost of living for arrivals

Limited Company / Subsidiary or Branch in Ireland?

A subsidiary established in Ireland is a separate legal entity from the parent company, with independent management and can have a different company name and follow its own business activities. The subsidiary can use this freedom to explore markets and build credibility throughout Ireland and the European Union.

A branch, however, is an extension of the parent company, operates on its behalf and is not considered a separate legal entity.

Irish Contracts

Foreign companies hiring employees for their international expansion into Ireland must comply with extensive tax and social insurance regulations. The framework of legislation is based on laws, statutes, trade union and collective agreements. This means employers must take account of employee benefits and entitlements when they draw up contracts.

In Ireland the employer-employee relationship is governed by employment laws setting basic minimums, such as the National Minimum Wage Act, the Organisation of Working Time Act, the Maternity Protection Act, the Protection of Employment and Unfair Dismissals Act. Taxation and social security are overseen by the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social Protection.

Ireland has no legal requirement for a formal written contract, though this offers protection for both employers and employees. Employers, though, must offer at least a written statement covering ‘core items’ of the agreement within five days of the employee starting work and the full terms within two months.

Employment Contracts in Ireland

There are a variety of contracts in Ireland. The main types are:

  1. Open-ended, indefinite employment contract: Most employees work under these full-time contracts, which are in force until either the employer or employee ends the agreement. The contract need not be in writing, but the employer must provide a written statement of ‘core items’ within five days of the employee starting work. These are:
    – Names and addresses of employer and employee
    – Start and end date of a fixed-term contract
    – Method of calculating pay and payment schedule
    – Normal working hours and working week

The employer must supply written statement / contract of full terms within two months.

  1. Fixed-term employment contract: These cover employment that ends on a specific date or is tied to a particular project, in which case an end date does not have to be set. A fixed-term contract can be for a number of months or more than a year. Generally, fixed-term contracts provide the same benefits as indefinite contracts under the Terms of Employment Act and the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term) Act. However, certain restrictions apply to fixed-term contracts:
    – They cannot be renewed more than twice or exceed a total of four years, after which employees must be offered an indefinite contract
    – If an employee’s fixed-term contract ends but the individual is re-employed within three months, that is considered continuous employment
  2. Trial period or probationary employment contract: Contracted trial periods typically last between three and 12 months and can be extended. If terminated during the trial period, the Unfair Dismissal Act applies if termination is due to:
    – Trade union membership
    – Pregnancy related issues
    – Entitlements relating to maternity, parental, adoptive or caregiver’s leave
    – The Act may also apply if the probation exceeds 12 months

Employers are expected to clearly state what is expected during the trial period, give feedback on progress via probation review meetings. If the employee fails, the probation period only one week’s notice applies.

Other contract types include:

  • Temporary / agency employment contract: The European Union Directive on Temporary Agency Work stipulates all temporary or agency workers are treated the same as full-time workers as applies to working time, breaks, annual leave, and public holidays, pay, pregnancy and nursing mothers and discrimination. The EU Directive was absorbed into Irish law by the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act of 2012. Whoever pays the agency worker is considered to be their employee.
  • Part-time employment contract: Part-time workers are defined in law as those whose normal hours are less than those of a worker in comparable employment and their rights are protected under the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act. The Act generally applies to any part-time worker in Ireland who:– Has a contract of employment or apprenticeship
    – Job shares
    – Is employed through an agency
    – Are state employeesThere is no legal right to change from full-time work to part-time.
  • Youth Employment Contract: The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act stipulates the maximum working week for under-18s is eight hours a day, 40 hours a week in total including if they have more than one job.

Irish Employee Benefits

Happy and satisfied employees make your business thrive and lead to even better profits. However, the specific benefits for employees in Ireland might not all be familiar to you yet. By using our PEO and EOR service, we can provide compliant labour contracts for employees in Ireland including local benefits.

When expanding your company’s presence in a new country, you need to ensure compliance both in your employment contracts and benefit guarantees. These involve social security contributions, sick leave, health insurance, and unemployment, to name a few. In Ireland, benefits can be guaranteed by labour law and national legislation, as well as collective agreements with trade unions or workers’ councils.

What Compensation Laws exist in Ireland?

In Ireland a raft of employment laws and regulations guarantee employees are compensated in various areas. Legislation covers such as minimum wages, social insurance, redundancy, termination, and severance, working hours, vacation leave, maternity, and paternity issues and more. Legislation also guarantees categories such as minimum wages.

Some categories common in other European countries do not apply in Ireland. For example, there is no statutory right to overtime or sick pay and these may be covered contractually or by collective agreements.

Statutory and mandatory minimums cannot be undercut by collective or trade union agreements, although these are less of a factor in the Irish economy than in other European nations. Compensation and benefits include:

  • Social Insurance: Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions by both employers and employees finance Ireland’s Social Insurance Fund. Most employees between 16 and 66 years old make contributions.The fund is managed by the Ministry for Social Protection and the Ministry for Finance. Contributions are divided into categories or classes, relating to the type of employment. Entitlement depends on the employee’s category and level of PRSI contributions. Available benefits include illness, maternity, paternity, health and safety, invalidity, surviving spouses, guardians, and occupational injuries.
  • National Minimum Wage: Full-time employees over 20 years of age must receive a minimum wage of €10.20 (US$12.10) per hour, which equals €20,685 per year (US$24,563), €1,723 (US$2,946) per month and €397.80 (US$472.38) per week. Lower bands apply to younger ages: 19yrs – €9.18 per hour; 18yrs – €8.16 per hour; under 18yrs €7.14 per hour.
  • Working Hours and Breaks: These are limited to an average 48 a week, including overtime, by the Organization of Working Time Act (1997). Average hours are calculated over a period of months – four months for most employees; six months for employees in sectors such as security, airports, docks, agriculture, and those in the public sector; 12 months when employer-employee agreements are certified by the Labor Court.There is no statutory right to overtime pay in Ireland and rates are contractually agreed. A 15-minute break applies for working four-and-a-half hours and a 30-minute break after six hours, which can include the first 15 minutes.Payment for the breaks is not mandatory and depends on contractual arrangements. Workers should receive 11 hours continuous rest every 24 hours and two 24-hour breaks in seven days.
  • Holiday / Vacation Leave: Four weeks a year is the statutory minimum, though contracts often stipulate more. Entitlement is based on a ‘leave year’ of April 1 till March 31 and employees can choose how leave is calculated.Employers must include all working hours including those spent on maternity, paternity, parental, adoptive leave, other annual leave and the first 13 weeks of leave for caregivers. Holiday pay is in advance or averaged against the previous 13 weeks if weekly pay varies.
  • Maternity / Paternity Leave: The Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act (2004) and the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act (2016) cover statutory rights, including 26 weeks’ maternity leave whether women are in full-time or part-time employment, or self-employed. At least two weeks must be taken before birth and four weeks post-natal.Claimants generally need at least 39 weeks’ Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions in the 12 months prior to leave starting to qualify for benefits. Benefits are €245 (US$290) each week for 26 weeks or 156 days. Paternity leave allows two weeks’ leave for the employed or self-employed fathers or co-parents during the six months after birth.There is no legal requirement for employers to pay paternity benefit, but it may be possible to claim from the state.
  • Parental and Parents’ Leave: Statutory minimum parental leave is up to 26 weeks for each eligible child before their 12th birthday (16th birthday for child with disability). Leave can be taken in one stretch or blocks of at least six weeks.Each parent is entitled to five weeks paid leave if they have sufficient PRSI contributions over 39 weeks in the preceding 12 months before the birth. The standard benefit is €245 (US$290) each week.
  • Redundancy, Termination and Severance: The statutory redundancy lump sum is based on two weeks’ pay for each year worked between 16 and 66 years of age, plus an additional one week’s pay capped at €600 (US$713). Individuals must have been employed by the company at least for two years after the age of 16 and qualified with sufficient PRSI contributions. The sum is tax free.Terms are governed by the Redundancy Payments, Protection of Employment and Unfair Dismissals Acts. Notice periods vary according to years of service and employees can serve notice or take payment in lieu of the same amount they would have received had they served notice.

Social Security in Ireland

Ireland’s Social Insurance Fund is partly funded by Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions from employers, and employees between the ages of 16 and 66 years. The fund is managed by the Ministry for Social Protection and the Ministry for Finance, with contributions divided into Classes, relating to the type of employment.

Entitlement depends on the employees’ type of employment, Class, and level of PRSI contributions. Available benefits include Illness, maternity, paternity, health and safety, invalidity, surviving spouses, guardian, and occupational injuries.

Those earning less than €352 (US$418) weekly before tax deductions do not pay contributions, with the employer making contributions on their behalf to the social fund. Employees earning more than €352 make a 4% PRSI contribution on their earnings. Unearned income of €5,000 (US$5,940) from such as rents, investments attract an extra 4% charge on PRSI but does not entitle the individual to any extra benefits.

Additionally, employees earning over €13,000 gross income pay the Universal Service Charge (USC) on all their income, which is calculated on a weekly or monthly basis. Married couples or civil partners are assessed individually.

Maternity, paternity, and other state benefits are exempt from being included in the USC. The charge applies to all Irish income and any foreign income paid into Ireland.

Threshold rates for 2021 are:

  • First €12,012 (US$14,274) – 0.5%
  • Next €8,675 (US$10,310) – 2.0%
  • Next €49,357 (US$58,654) – 4.5%
  • Above – 8.0%

Employers make 8.8% of PRSI contributions for a Class A employee on weekly earnings up to €398 (US$473) and 11.05% of contributions for employees earning more than €398.

Statutory Employer Costs in Ireland

  • Minimum Wages: The National Minimum Wage Act stipulates employees over 20 years of age receive a minimum wage of €10.20 (US$12.10) per hour, which for a full-time worker equals €20,685 per year (US$24,563), €1,723 (US$2,946) per month and €397.80 (US$472.38) per week. Lower bands apply to younger ages: 19yrs – €9.18 per hour; 18yrs – €8.16 per hour; under 18yrs €7.14 per hour.
  • Social Security: Employers make 8.8% of PRSI contributions for a Class A employee on weekly earnings up to €398 (US$473) and 11.05% of contributions for employees earning more than €398.
  • Corporate Taxes: Irish resident companies pay Corporate Income Tax (CIT) on their worldwide profits at 12.5% (standard trading rate); 25% (non-trading ‘passive’ rate) and 33% (capital gains rate).

Irish Top Talent

Hiring the right talent in Ireland to expand your company can result in a thriving business with numerous opportunities. However, the recruitment process can be complicated when you have no physical presence in Ireland yet. Our PEO and EOR service can be the solution for your company.

The Recruitment Process in Ireland

If you are expanding your business into Ireland, establishing a legal entity in the country is not required to hire new employees – although you will need a legal entity in-country to operate payroll. However, the first step is recruitment, and it is vital to know where to locate the best talent who will be a ‘perfect fit’ for your company’s activities.

The answers do not come easily – and once the right employee is found, employers must follow strict registration procedures. These include:

  • Registering for Employment Taxes (PREM) with the Revenue Commissioners (the ‘Revenue’) by completing Form TR2 and submitting to the local Revenue Registration Unit for the relevant location
  • Completing Form TR2 (FT) to obtain PREM tax registration for non-resident companies with no physical presence in Ireland
  • Ensuring tax liability is reported to the Revenue on or before employees are paid, and due payments are made by the 23rd of the following month
  • Registering with the Social Insurance Fund for Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) deductions for employees and the Universal Social Charge (USC)
  • Creating employment contracts / statements for new staff, which must be signed by the employer though not necessarily by the employee. There is no legal requirement for a ‘formal contract’
  • Apply for employees’ permits and visas if required
  • Apply for employees’ special expatriation status if applicable
  • Calculate employees’ monthly salaries and provide their pay slips
  • Research any available tax-free allowances or benefits
  • Submit employees’ and employers’ wage tax returns and social insurance forms
  • Correspond with the applicable national authorities regarding payroll changes and payments

Create a payment schedule for wage tax, social insurances, and net wages

Legal Checks on Employees in Ireland

Pre-employment screening checks in Ireland are influenced by the Irish Constitution, the Workplace Relations Commission, the Data Protection Acts and the Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):

  • Discrimination: The Employment Equality Act (that is reinforced across the EEA) prohibits employee discrimination that takes place on the grounds of gender, civil and family status, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and age.
  • Sanctions: If an employer breaches the EEA in pre-screening, they risk a €13,000 (US$15,430) fine. If they breach these restrictions during employment, they face paying two years’ remuneration or €40,000 (US$47,470), whichever is greater.
  • Privacy: Employers should collect information only relevant to the advertised position.
  • Health: Medical history should be requested only after a job offer and with the candidate’s permission.
  • Background: Generally, criminal record checks can be made only for working with children, vulnerable adults or in security roles.
  • Social Media: Under regulations from GDPR and the Data Protection Commissioner, employers should acquire information from social media that is relevant to the position. The Data Protection Office advises that information on an unsuccessful candidate should be kept no more than 12 months.
  • Employment History: References and CVs can be checked with the candidate’s permission.
  • Eligibility to Work: Employers should verify candidates have all applicable permits and visas if necessary.
  • Credit History: Under the Fitness and Probity Act these should be carried out for positions in financial services.

Basic Facts on Hiring in Ireland

  • Employers’ interview questions should be restricted to the job being applied for and follow guidelines from the Workplace Relations Commission, the Data Protection Acts, the Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Employment Equality Acts (EEA).
  • Terms and conditions of employment come under the Irish Companies Act, the Department of Social Protection for Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), the Organization of Working Time Act, the Maternity Protection Act, the Protection of Employment and Unfair Dismissals Act and the regulations of the Revenue Commissioners.
  • Although there is no legal requirement for a formal written contract, employers must at least provide a written statement of the employment terms and conditions within five days of the employee starting work.
  • Under the Employment (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act, the contract or statement must include the ‘core’ items of names and addresses of employer and employee; contract duration in the case of fixed-term or temporary agreements; the method of calculating pay and payment schedule; expectation of normal working hours and working week. This must be supplied within five days of the employee starting work, with full terms supplied within two months.
  • Employees must be registered for employment taxes (PREM) with their local Revenue Registration Unit and with the Department of Social Protection for Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI).
  • The National Minimum Wage Act stipulates a 2021 minimum for those over 20 years of age of €10.20 (US$12.10) per hour. For a full-time worker this equates to €20,685 per year (US$24,563), €1,723 (US$2,946) per month and €397.80 (US$472.38) per week.
  • Employers withhold employees’ wage tax and social insurance contributions and remit them to the relevant bodies.
  • Working hours should not exceed 48 per week, including overtime, averaged over four months for most employees.
  • Overtime is not covered by statute and is dealt with in contracts between employers and their workforce.
  • Maternity leave is 26 weeks for full-time and part-time employees, usually 10 weeks before birth and 16 post-natal. Benefits are €245 (US$290) per week. To be eligible for these benefits, claimants should have paid at least 39 weeks of PRSI in the 12 months before the due birth date. Paternity leave is two weeks with no legal provision for benefit.
  • Paid vacations are a minimum of four weeks per year, generally based on a ‘year leave’ between April 1 and March 31. Individual contracts can allow for more weeks, with vacation pay made in advance.
  • Notice periods depend on length of service, ranging from one week for up to two years’ service and eight weeks for over 15 years’ employment.

Work Culture

To do business in Ireland, it is vital to have a good understanding of its business or work culture. Making the right impression with the right people is the key to success in Ireland, and it is important to back this up with the right research on the market and potential business associates.

Foreign companies targeting Ireland for their international expansion plans must have a thorough understanding of the country’s work culture and business environment as well as the economy.

Ireland has one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies – advancing at almost double the European average, with over 40% of its Gross Domestic Product centered on the capital, Dublin. Service industries, including a huge IT sector, account for 60% of GDP with industry accounting for virtually all the remainder.

Legislation covering the workplace applies strict rules on discrimination and health and safety, but the atmosphere itself tends to be open and relaxed with employers aware of the importance of a satisfactory work-life balance. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks Ireland in Europe’s top 10.

Hierarchies are flexible, first name terms are generally used early in business relationships and the Irish might prefer to know who you are by socialising rather than giving them a business card. Here are some other tips about the local work culture that will help you succeed in Ireland:

  • Punctuality: A relaxed approach to meeting and greeting does not stretch to punctuality, so be on time. Plan your journey carefully if the meeting is in busy Dublin – which is likely to be the venue.
  • Language: Meetings will be conducted in English – a working knowledge of Gaelic is not expected.
  • Business Relationships: Be prepared to spend time building trust and relationships, so chatting about the weather, traffic and family is fine and helps to relax the atmosphere. If you’re on the end of a well-meaning joke, that probably means you are being accepted. However, once this marker has been reached the focus will quickly switch to the business reason for the meeting.
  • Introductions and Greetings: Firm handshakes, a ‘Hello’ are a good start. Maintain eye contact otherwise you may seem shifty and insincere. Good humor, modesty and a friendly approach will go down well. Start the handshakes with your most senior counterpart, usually the person chairing the meeting, and work down from them. If introductions begin with ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ they generally quickly move to first name terms.
  • Gift-giving: There is little tradition for this in Ireland, so any small gifts should be thoughtful rather than ostentatiously expensive. Flowers are best avoided as certain species or colors can have particular significance. If invited into a home, chocolates or wine are a good bet.
  • Dress Code: This can vary between companies, but the safe option for business professionals is dark suits for men, and trousers, dresses. or skirts for women.
  • Negotiating the Deal: Informal agreements round the table should be turned into a formal written document as soon as possible. Meetings are generally run by a chairperson; judging their response should be a good way of assessing how the deal is moving forward.
  • Business Meals: If matters are progressing well, business discussions can be moved to a restaurant, pub, or coffee shop. Golf courses are another possible venue. This may seem an unstructured approach, but it is all part of the process.

Ireland Minimum Wage

There was a rise in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) in Ireland in 2021 from €10.10 per hour to €10.20 for adults above 20 years of age. For a basic 39 hours a week before deductions, this is €397.80 (US$472.38) per week, €1,723 (US$2,946) per month and €20,685 (US$24.563) per year.

Hourly rates for other ages:

  • 19 years – €9.18 (US$10.92)
  • 18 years – €8.16 (US$9.70)
  • Under 18 – €7.14 (US$8.49)

Probation Periods in Ireland

A probation period in employment is a trial period for the employee and employer to assess suitability, competence, reliability and working conditions and can last between three and 12 months. The details should be written into the employment contract including holiday entitlements, possible extension, and notice period.

The contract will not be confirmed until after completing the probationary period to the employer’s satisfaction. Review meetings should be held and at the end of the probation it will either be success, fail or the employer may want to extend the trial. A notice period of one week (statutory minimum notice period) is given if they terminate the contract after the first 13 weeks.

There are circumstances, under the Unfair Dismissals Act (1997-2007), where employees cannot be dismissed, due to:

  • Pursuing trade union membership or activities
  • Matters relating to pregnancy
  • Protection given regarding maternity, parental, adoptive or caregiver’s leave

Working Hours in Ireland

The average working week in Ireland is around 39 hours. However, the Organization of Working Time Act (1997) stipulates that they cannot exceed 48 hours on average, which is calculated over a four-month period for most workers. This includes any overtime worked. However, certain sectors/industries can calculate over a longer period such as:

  • Key workers over a six-month period – security, hospital, airports, utilities etc.
  • Employer – employee agreements. Over a 12-month period when certified by the Labor Court

Exceptions are:

  • Police and Defense workers
  • The self-employed /family businesses
  • Seasonal workers

Employees receive a 15-minute break for working four-and-a-half hours and a 30-minute break after six hours, which can include the first 15 minutes. Payment for the breaks is not mandatory and depends on contractual arrangements. Workers should receive 11 hours continuous rest every 24 hours and two 24-hour breaks in seven days.

Overtime in Ireland

Overtime in Ireland is part of the employment contract. If an employee is contracted for a 39-hour week, then any hours over this are classified as overtime. This is up to the maximum number of hours allowed per week under the Organization of Working Time Act (1997) which is 48 hours on average over a four-month period. Overtime can also be written into the contract depending on company policy or can be governed by an industry or sector agreement –Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) and Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) which are legally binding in the sectors to which they apply and may also determine overtime pay rates.

Contact Us

Join Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with latest service offerings while receiving tips and strategies for making your next remote hire.