Keep up to date with the latest employment law developments and proposed future changes
This page includes the current rates and limits on the following awards and payments: maternity, paternity and adoption payments, parental leave, illness payments, redundancy pay, National Minimum Wage (NMW), Income Tax, Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and Universal Social Charge (USC).
Maternity, paternity and adoption payments
Employers are not obliged to pay women on maternity leave but the woman may qualify for Maternity Benefit which is a Department of Social Protection (DSP) payment.
Since 6 January 2014, the standard rate payable is €230.00 per week.
Depending on whether they are in receipt of certain other social payments they may not be entitled to the full Maternity Benefit. Maternity pay is taxable for all claimants. The Universal Social Charge (USC) and Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) will not be payable in this context.
More information on Maternity Benefit is available on the Department of Social Protection (DSP) website.
Paternity leave is now recognised by statute in Ireland. Paternity leave and benefit became available from 1 September 2016 and applies in respect of all babies born or placed with their adoptive parents on or after that date.
Paternity benefit provides a weekly payment of €230 for two weeks.
Paternity Benefit is taxable for all claimants. USC and PRSI are not payable.
As with Maternity Benefit, depending on whether the claimant is in receipt of certain other social payments, they may not be entitled to the full Paternity Benefit.
More information on Paternity Benefit is available on the DSP website.
Employers are not obliged to pay workers on adoptive leave but an adopting mother or a single male who adopts a child may qualify for Adoptive Benefit which is a Department of Social Protection (DSP) payment.
The payment is at a standard rate of €230.00 per week and, like Maternity Benefit, is subject to restrictions.
Adoptive Benefit is taxable. USC and PRSI are not payable.
More information on Adoptive Benefit is available on the DSP website.
Parental leave entitles both parents of children up to eight years of age, who qualify, to take a period of up to 18 weeks unpaid leave from employment.
For more on parental leave, see our factsheet on leave entitlements.
There is no general statutory entitlement to be paid while on sick leave in Ireland. It is at the discretion of the employer.
Illness Benefit from the Department of Social Protection is available if an employee has sufficient PRSI contributions. Employees must apply for Illness Benefit within seven days of becoming ill, although no payment is made for the first six days of illness.
Employer sick pay policies should make it clear if and when an employer makes a top-up payment during sick leave.It should also be noted that some industries are covered by Employment Regulation Orders (EROs), Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) or Sectoral Employment Orders (SEOs) which may contain binding regulations regarding sick pay.
Statutory redundancy only applies to employees with two years’ service. There is an interactive tool on the Department of Social Protection (DSP) website which calculates redundancy pay.
Statutory redundancy pay is a lump sum payment based on the pay of the employee. All eligible employees are entitled to:
- two weeks’ pay for every year of service over the age of 16
- one further week's pay
The amount of statutory redundancy is subject to a maximum earnings limit of €600 per week or €31,200 per annum. Pay refers to gross pay calculated as the current normal weekly pay including average regular overtime and benefits-in-kind but before tax and PRSI deductions. The statutory redundancy payment is tax-free.
For payments arising on or after 1 January 2011, the maximum tax relief available for an ex gratia termination payment will be capped at a lifetime ceiling of €200,000. Exemption amounts previously utilised or claimed by the individual must be offset against the ceiling.
National Minimum Wage (NMW)
Minimum hourly rate of pay from 1 January 2017
Experienced adult worker: €9.25
Aged under 18: €6.48
First year from date of first employment aged over 18: €7.40
Second year from date of first employment aged over 18: €8.33
Employee aged over 18 in structured training during working hours
First one-third period: €6.94
Second one-third period: €7.40
Third one-third period: €8.33
The National Minimum Wage Act 2000 does not apply to a person employed by a close relative, for example, a spouse or a parent, nor does it apply to those in statutory apprenticeships.
Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI)
The Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contribution is made up of Social Insurance and the Health Contribution which helps pay for social welfare benefits and pensions. There are a wide range of payments available to people who have paid social insurance.
All employees, whether full time or part time, and self-employed people with a minimum annual income who are aged 16 or over, are liable for Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions. The PRSI contribution, normally payable by employer and employee, is a percentage of the employee’s reckonable earnings. Reckonable pay is the gross money pay, plus notional pay or benefit in kind if applicable, reduced by superannuation and permanent health insurance contributions made by an employee deducted under a net pay arrangement by the employer, which are allowable for income tax purposes.
The amount of social insurance contribution paid depends on earnings and the type of work done. There are a number of different categories, known as classes or rates of contribution. The type of class and rate of contribution paid is determined by the nature of the work. There are currently 11 different PRSI classes: A, B, C, D, E, H, J, K, M, P and S. Each PRSI class is in turn divided into different categories, for example Class A is subdivided into categories AO, AX, AL, A1 or A2, A8 and A9. These categories do not affect entitlements under the social insurance system. They only relate to the amount of PRSI or health levy paid or which the employer must pay.
A summary of PRSI contribution rates and classes for 2017 is available from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) website.
Universal Social Charge (USC)
The Universal Social Charge (USC) came into effect on 1 January 2011. It is a tax payable on gross income, including notional pay, after any relief for certain capital allowances, but before pension contributions.
Individual aged under 70 years
On the first €12,012: 0.5%
On the next €6,760: 2.5%
On the next €51,272: 5.0%
On the balance: 8.0%
Individual aged 70 years or over (whose aggregate income for the year is €60,000 or less)
On the first €12,012: 0.5%
Income above €12,012: 2.5%
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