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Your rights as a worker

As a worker, you have rights in relation to pay, hours of work and time off.

Please see below information via 

Hours of Work

The maximum an employee should work in an average working week is 48 hours. This working week average should be calculated over a four-month period. There are, however, some exceptions to this average period.


Employees are entitled to;

  • A daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours per 24 hours
  • A weekly rest period of 24 consecutive hours per seven days, following a daily rest period
  • A 15-minute break if working 4.5 hours.
  • A 30-minute break if working six hours.


Payment for breaks is not a statutory entitlement.

Some industries are covered by Registered Employment Agreements (REA’s) which may contain regulations regarding breaks.  Please click on this link for REAs currently in force for further details.

Young persons (under 18 years of age) are entitled to different breaks – please see Guide on the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, 1996.

Sunday Work

If not already included in the rate of pay, employees are generally entitled to a premium payment for Sunday working or paid time off in lieu. Some industries have REA’s 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.

Further information may also be obtained in this Guide on  The Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.

Hours and Leave are governed by the provisions of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 legislation.

Pay and Wages

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (from 1st July 2011) is €8.65 per hour.  The National Minimum Wage applies to all employees except:

  • Employees in industries (such as the construction industry) which are covered by Registered Employment Agreements (REA’s) entitling their workers to a higher minimum wage (see below)
  • Employees who are under 18 years of age (€6.06 per hour)
  • Employees who are in their first year of employment since turning the age of 18 (€6.92 per hour)
  • Employees who are in their second year of employment since turning 18 (€7.79 per hour)
  • Employees who are close relatives of the employer
  • Employees undergoing structured training such as an apprenticeship (other than hairdressing apprenticeships)


Further information may be obtained by downloading this Detailed Guide To The National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.

Annual Leave and Public Holidays

Annual Leave

All employees, full-time, part-time, temporary or casual earn annual leave entitlements from the time they start work. Most employees are entitled to four weeks’ paid annual leave per leave year.

The employer determines the timing of an employee’s annual leave, taking into consideration work and personal requirements and should consult him/her or the relevant union in advance. Pay for the leave must be given in advance and calculated at the employee’s normal weekly rate.

Public Holidays

There are nine public holidays each year: New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Monday, the first Monday in May, the first Monday in June, the first Monday in August, the last Monday in October, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day.

Further information in respect of Annual Leave or Public Holidays, together with details on how to calculate entitlements is contained in the Explanatory Booklet on Holidays & Public Holidays for Employers and Employees.

A copy of the Act may be viewed or downloaded here – Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

The Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 provides that an employer must issue their employees with a written statement of terms and conditions relating to their employment within two months of commencing employment. It must include the following:

  • The full names of the employer and the employee
  • The address of the employer
  • The place of work, or where there is no main place of work, a statement indicating that an employee is required or permitted to work at various places
  • Job title or nature of the work
  • Date of commencement of employment
  • If the contract is temporary, the expected duration of employment
  • If the contract is for a fixed-term, the date on which the contract expires
  • The rate of pay or method of calculating pay
  • Whether pay is weekly, monthly or otherwise
  • Terms or conditions relating to hours of work, including overtime
  • Terms or conditions relating to paid leave (other than paid sick leave)
  • Any terms or conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury
  • Any terms or conditions relating to pensions and pension schemes
  • Periods of notice or method for determining periods of notice
  • A reference to any collective agreements which affect the terms of employment


For further information download this Guide on  Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994 and 2001.

The sample of the terms of employment can be downloaded by clicking on this link  Sample Statement of Terms of Employment.

A copy of the Act may be viewed here Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994.