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Since Ireland’s entry to the European Union in 1973, the raft of employment legislation has been comprehensive and inexorable.  It’s difficult to appreciate now that prior to 1973 there was no legal protection to unfair dismissal – if the employer was so minded, he simply had to serve the employee with his/her contractual notice period to execute a perfectly legal dismissal!  Little change from the time of Strumpet City!  Obviously, in such a context, membership of a trade union was considered critical as the employee relied on the collective sympathy and support of his/her colleagues to deter a disreputable employer from contemplating such a course of action.


Since 1973, the landscape in terms of employee rights has changed beyond recognition.  Membership of the EU has resulted in EU Regulations and Directives together with appeal Decisions from the European Court of Justice having contributed greatly to the huge raft of current day employment legislation with its attendant employee rights.


Currently, employee entitlements and claims can arise pursuant to any of the following statutes:

-        Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977–2015 (as amended);

-        Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996;

-        Protection of Employment Acts 1997-2007;

-        Redundancy Payments Acts 1967-2014;

-        Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994-2001;

-        Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973-2005;

-        Organisation of Working Time Act 1997;

-        Organisation of Working Time (Records)(Prescribed Form and Exemptions) Regulations 2001;

-        Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011;

-        Employees (Provision of Information and Consultation) Act 2006;

-        Employment Permits Acts 2003- 2014;

-        Payment of Wages Act 1991;

-        Equal Status Acts 2000 and 2004;

-        Pension Acts 1990 (as amended);

-        Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004:

-        Carer’s Leave Act 2001;

-        Adoptive Leave Acts 1995 and 2005;

-        Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004;

-        Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act, 2003;

-        Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001;

-        Protection of Employment (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012;

-        National Minimum Wage Act 2000-2015;

-        European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/131) (as amended);

-        Industrial Relations Acts 1946 to 2015;

-        Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to 2012;

-        Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2003;

-        Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Acts 1984 -2012;

-        General Data Protection Regulation;

-        Protected Disclosures Act 2014;

-        Workplace Relations Act 2015; 

-        Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016


Hardly a month passes that either new or amended statutory provisions are introduced.  Annually, the Budged gives rise to some changes.


In addition to the above, employee entitlements and claims car arise whether in tort, in contract or in equity under our common law legal system, e.g. personal injury, negligence, etc.


For up to date information and guidance of employment law rights and entitlements, you are advised to consult the Employment section of the Citizens Advice website in the first instance.  For more specific advice, contact the DEA Head Office on +353 1 6761989.