UK Parallels

Irish and UK Similarities

Irish employment law is broadly similar to English and Wales and Northern Ireland employment law. This is because employment law in each jurisdiction grew from shared common law principles.

As reforming statutes were passed in the United Kingdom almost identical statutes or broadly similar statutes were passed in the Republic. This is the case with most important areas of employment protection, including those such as the following, without significant EU law requirements;

  • minimum wage
  • dismissals against unfair protection
  • basic redundancy rights
  • trade unions
  • right to collective bargaining
  • weights to take industrial action
  • whistleblowing

The approach of the courts in Ireland and the United Kingdom are broadly similar. UK common law and employment tribunal decisions carry weight in Ireland so that the rules and principle applied although differing in some details will be very similar in very many respects.

The application of Irish and the UK (whether England and Wales, Scottish or Northern Ireland) employment law, is defined by the legislation concerned. As a general principle, Irish employment law will apply to the performance of duties in the Republic of Ireland.

Liability Insurance

Employer’s Liability Insurance Health and safety legislation are broadly similar in Ireland. The common law duty to care is very similar in Ireland and the UK. Unlike the position in United Kingdom employers liability insurance is not mandatory in the Republic of Ireland. However, it is highly desirable and prudent.

A UK group company should not assume that its employment liability insurance is valid for the Republic of Ireland. The particular Irish subsidiary or entity would need to be insured and the insurer must be satisfied to provide liability cover in the Republic of Ireland.

EU Derived Similarities

A significant amount of all employment law rights derive from European Union directives. These rules are almost identical. The former UK Factories Act was replaced by a modern health safety and welfare at work legislation in the 1970s. The Irish legislation followed a very similar path both as to the institutions and content.

In broad terms, EU derived employment legislation applies in the following categories.

Consultation and participation

  • Directives on information and consulting
  • European Works Council,
  • collective redundancies,
  • transfers of undertaking and
  • in some cases, more generally;


  • Treaty rights on equal pay
  • Directive on social security
  • Directive on equal pay and treatment.
  • Directive on race
  • Directive on sexual orientation, age, etc.
  • Directive on a self-employed

Family rights.

  • Directive on pregnant workers
  • Directive on part-time workers
  • Directive on fixed-term workers.
  • Directive on agency work.
  • Directive on parental leave.

Working time.

  • Directive on working time;
  • Directive on young workers;
  • Directive on workers in cross-border railway services civil aviation and road transport.
  • Direct regulations on daily and weekly driving times

Health and safety.

  • Framework directive on health and safety.
  • Directive on minimum workplace requirements.
  • Directive on personal protective equipment.
  • Directive on display screen equipment.
  • Directive on manual handling of loads.
  • Directive on atypical workers.
  • Directive on construction sites.
  • Directive on extractive industries.
  • Directive on safety signs.
  • Directive on noise
  • Directive on mechanical vibration.
  • Directive on biological agents.
  • Directive on work equipment.
  • Directive on carcinogens
  • Directive on asbestos
  • Directive on explosive atmospheres
  • Directive on electromagnetic fields.