Ireland - HR & HR Software Guide

Country Overview:

Ireland’s economy ranks 37th on a global scale with a total population of 5 million and the country’s economy is expected to grow from 340.00 USD Billion in 2019 to 390.00 USD Billion in 2020. In the list of 80 countries compiled by the U.S. News Best Countries guide, Ireland is ranked 21st for its favorable business environment and overall quality of life. Ireland is primarily a trade-dependent country, and a lucrative option for investors and other international businesses due to its low taxation policies, developed infrastructure, and access to capital.



Principal Language:

100% English, 30% Irish Gaelic


Republic, Parliamentary Democracy

Capital City: 


Major Provinces: 

Ulster, Munster, Leinster

The maximum average work hours for employees are 48 hours a week, excluding rest or lunch breaks. The average work hours are calculated over a 4 month reference period. Employees are entitled to a 30-minute break after working for 6 hours and rest periods of a minimum of 11 consecutive hours in every 24-hour period and of 24 consecutive hours in a week. This rest period includes a Sunday unless specified otherwise in the employment contract. Employees working on Sundays are usually entitled to additional pay. There are also rules for workers in the night shifts.

“Working hours” include overtime, time spent for business trips, or training courses during normal working hours. It does not, however, include travel to and from work or time spent on annual, sick, protective, parental leave or on layoff, strike or lockout.

Separate provisions apply to employees who control their working hours. The maximum work week does not apply to trainee doctors, employees involved in transport activities, workers at sea, civil protection workers, or military personnel.

In Ireland, employees are entitled to 4 weeks’ annual leave. Employees who need leave due to maternity or health/safety leave, are also entitled to their entire annual leave. According to the Workplace Relations Act 2015, employees who are on sick leave are also entitled to accrue annual leaves and can take those leaves within 15 months from the end of the year during which the leaves accrued. Accrual of such leaves is limited to the 20 statutory annual leave days.

As specified under the Organization of Working Time Act 1997, employees who:

  • work more than 1,365 hours in a leave year are entitled to 4 weeks’ paid annual leave or
  • work one-third of a work week for each month during which employees work for a minimum of 117 hours, or
  • work 8% of the total hours in a leave year, can get maximum of 4 working weeks.
  • need leave on account of health and safety, or
  • are on health and safety leave.

Employers usually decide the time of annual leave, however they consider the needs of their employees including family responsibilities and opportunities for rest. Employees who work for 8 or more months in a leave year are entitled to 2 weeks of uninterrupted leave.


Employees are entitled to 9 paid holidays. These are:

  • January 1: New Year’s Day
  • March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • 1st Monday in May
  • 1st Monday in June
  • 1st Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • December 26: St. Stephen’s Day

When holidays fall on a weekend, they are not moved to any other day, and employees are not entitled to the next working day off.

  • Maternity Leave
  • Paternity Leave
  • Caregiver’s Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Surrogacy Leave
  • Compassionate Leave
  • Force Majeure Leave

The information shared here provides general information, and is not accredited legal advice.

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  • Ensured compliance with in-country employment and labor laws
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