There are a lot of things you’ll need to do when you’re preparing to hire employees in Ireland. One important task is putting together the right benefits package. Not only is this essential to remaining compliant with Irish employment law, but it’s also a great way to attract and retain top talent in your profession.
Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about offering benefits plans that meet the minimum requirements for your employees in Ireland and also how to go above and beyond.
Where can I get quotes for Irish employee benefits?
Rippling partners with brokers and insurance carriers around the world to give your Irish employees access to big business benefits at affordable prices—including health insurance and registered retirement savings plans, etc.
What employee benefits are mandatory in Ireland?
Irish employment law affords employees a variety of protections and rights at work, including the right to an array of statutory benefits. This complex body of legislation is made up of numerous Acts and Orders that are still being amended and altered, so not only is it important to understand what your responsibilities are, but also it’s crucial to ensure you stay on top of relevant changes to these living documents. Hiring an Irish employee and failing to provide them with the mandatory benefits package will put you at risk of legal repercussions.
The benefits the Irish government requires employers to provide are statutory minimums. Many companies choose to add their own benefits to the packages they offer when hiring employees in Ireland to make themselves more competitive and to increase team satisfaction. Only full-time employees are entitled to benefits. Independent contractors–whether they’re Irish citizens or foreign nationals–are not included in statutory benefits laws.
Pension plans/retirement contributions
While you are not legally obligated to include an employer-provided pension plan in a benefits package, if your company does not offer one, you are required to give employees access to at least one Standard PRSA, or personal retirement savings account. Employers are permitted to contribute to PRSAs as well, but they don’t have to.
Additionally, Irish law mandates that employers let employees know–in writing–how much money they have in their PRSA monthly. You must also deduct the amount the employee requests from their paycheck without any additional charges.
Irish employees are normally permitted to start withdrawing money from their personal pension schemes when they turn 60. In some cases, such as when they’re covered by an occupational pension scheme, people opt for early retirement, but they must be at least 50 years old.
Workers’ compensation insurance
In Ireland, most companies are required to take out a workers’ compensation insurance policy and provide coverage for lost wages and medical bills that are incurred if an employee is hurt on the job or develops an illness as a result of their job. While this is an expensive benefit for an employer, it’s also a necessary one that will protect your business from legal action.
Paid sick leave
While in the past, Irish employers weren’t required to provide paid sick days, as of 2023, a new entitlement went into effect. Now, under the new Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) scheme, employees are entitled to three paid sick days per year and 70% of their wages for those days, up to a maximum of 110 euros a day.
Changes to the SSP law will continue from 2023 through 2026, so it’s crucial to keep on top of what’s going on. Each year, the number of sick days employees are entitled to will increase: in 2024, it will go up to five days; in 2025, it will go up to seven days. Finally, in 2026, it will reach 10 days.
Employers are legally required to offer employees who give birth or adopt children seven weeks of leave, which can be taken at any time during the first two years of the child’s life or after they are placed in the worker’s home. Employees must notify their place of work of the dates they intend to take paternity leave or maternity leave six weeks beforehand.
As an employer, you do not have to pay employees while they’re on parental leave–the Irish government provides them with payment via the Parent’s Benefit program. Some companies choose to pay parents as a supplemental benefit. It’s also important to note that both mothers and fathers are covered under parental leave laws.
Paid annual leave
The Organisation of Working Time Act provides all employees with 20 days of paid annual leave each year. This number does not include the public or bank, holidays employees receive.
Bank holidays are the Irish equivalent of the federal holidays employees are entitled to in the US. There are 10 bank holidays, including a new one that was added in 2023; these are all paid holidays.
Below, you’ll find a list of statutory holidays in the Republic of Ireland and the dates they fall on.
New Year’s Day
St Brigid's Day
First Monday in February
St. Patrick’s Day
Monday immediately after Easter Sunday
Early May Bank Holiday
First Monday in May
June Bank Holiday
First Monday in June
August Bank Holiday
First Monday in August
October Bank Holiday
Last Monday in October
St. Stephen’s Day
Create a custom holiday calendar for Ireland, design Ireland-specific policies, and offer benefits in Ireland easily and automatically with Rippling.See Rippling
What employee benefits are optional in Ireland?
In addition to what’s legally required, many employers also choose to expand their benefits packages and offer supplementary plans and perks to help them stand out from the competition and attract and retain the right talent. Below, we’ll discuss some common supplementary benefits employers include when hiring employees in the Republic of Ireland.
Private health insurance
While every Irish citizen is entitled to government-funded public health care either completely free of charge or for a nominal fee, many employers offer private health insurance plans as part of their benefits packages. A private medical plan expands employees’ access to health care and usually covers things like an in-hospital stay and inpatient services at a private health care provider. It also affords employees the privilege of selecting the provider they’d like to see, which is not an option under the public health insurance scheme.
Life assurance plans
In addition to healthcare, many employers offer group life assurance plans. Also called death-as-a-service schemes, these plans are different from life insurance in that they are open-ended, rather than in force for a fixed term only. Employers who elect to provide this benefit pay the premium for the employees; upon the worker’s death, a lump sum is paid to their beneficiaries–provided they are still employed by the company.
This type of insurance provides a monthly income to employees who are unable to work due to illness or injury. This can be a valuable benefit for employees who have dependents, as it can help them to maintain their financial security during a difficult time.
Additional paid time off
Many employers offer paid leave beyond what Ireland’s statutory minimums require–usually, around four to eight extra days. Giving employees additional days or a way to purchase extra ones beyond Ireland’s generous annual leave provisions is an excellent way to ensure your company stands out from the crowd.
Employee assistance program (EAP)
An EAP is a confidential counseling service that is available to employees. This can be a valuable resource for employees who are dealing with personal or work-related challenges.
Rippling can help with managing your employees' time and paying your international employees in a single system.See Rippling
How to hire employees in Ireland and offer them affordable benefits in minutes—with Rippling
Running a global workforce isn't easy. It can be a challenge for global companies just to keep their benefits compliant—let alone managing offer letters, equipment, payroll, and everything else global employees and contractors need.
That's why, if you're going to hire employees, contractors, or remote workers in Ireland, you need Rippling. Rippling makes it easy to onboard, manage, and pay employees and contractors around the world—in one system that helps keep you compliant with local employment laws and regulations.
We offer a native Employer of Record (EOR) service, which allows you to hire employees in Ireland, enroll them in benefits, and run payroll in 90 seconds—even if you don't have a legal entity there.
Rippling’s EOR is built on top of our native payroll rails, which means that when the time comes to bring HR in-house, you can move from our EOR to Global Payroll through your own entities—in minutes.
Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.