As we near the March 29th deadline, there has considerable speculation surrounding the impact that “Brexit” will have on both the UK and its neighboring countries. Ireland in particular has been a major topic of discussion as numerous UK employers seek expansion into the country to maintain operations in English speaking markets within the EU. The significance of this is that, although changes in workplace rights are unlikely to occur post-Brexit, major differences remain between employment laws in the two nations.

Key differences in UK and Irish employment law include the following.


Severance or “redundancy packages” can be a major concern for UK employers opening an office in Ireland. The statutory severance payment is two weeks per year of service, in addition to a week’s payment as a bonus. There is a cap of €600 on the weekly wage, but no cap exists for the total redundancy payment. This is different from the UK, the total redundancy payment has an upper limit.

Legal Recourse

Legal injunctions for preventing dismissals of senior employees are easier to apply in Ireland than the UK. In Ireland, senior executives are more likely to take legal recourse. Additionally, Irish employees become eligible for making unfair dismissal claims after only 12 months of service, rather than the two 2 years threshold that exists in the UK.

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 or TUPE does not apply readily to a change of service provision in Ireland, as it does in the UK. In Ireland, the Workplace Relations Commission acts as the Court of First Instance. Workers do not need to go through the tedious procedures experienced by their UK counterparts (via the Employment Tribunal) to transfer their appeal to the Labor Courts.

Some other employment law inconsistencies of note include:

  1. Employee Pension: Irish employers are not under any obligation to provide sick pay or contribute to a pension fund. It is customary for Irish employers to operate a sick pay scheme as a contract.
  2. Minimum Wage: The minimum wage for UK workers aged above of 25 will be raised to £8.21 per hour in April 2019, while in Ireland workers age 20 and older are assured €9.80 per hour beginning in January 2019.
  3. Public Holidays: The UK mandates eight public holidays while Ireland has nine.
  4. Notice Periods: Mandatory notice for employers ranges from 1 to 8 weeks corresponding to 1 to 15 years of service in Ireland. In the UK, 1 to 12 weeks of notice applies as the requirement for 1 to 12 years of service.

Closing Words

Advocates of Brexit affirm that the UK provides greater employment protection than the EU minimum, but this does not mean that UK employers will find it easy to establish a presence in other EU countries such as Ireland. The employers need to take local advice when extending into new territory and make sure they understand all the terms of employment.

Our experts can offer assistance in regards to compliance with all local regulations in the European markets. To get in touch, contact us today by sending an email to or calling +1-408-913-9130.