Operating a Business

flag Ireland Ireland: Operating a Business

In this page: Legal Forms of Companies | The Active Population in Figures | Working Conditions | The Cost of Labour | Management of Human Resources


Legal Forms of Companies

Private Company Limited by Shares (Ltd)
Number of partners: Between 1 and 149 shareholders.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required. Minimum one share per shareholder.
Shareholders and liability: Limited to capital subscribed.
Public Company Limited by Shares (PLC)
Number of partners: Minimum of 7 shareholders, no upper limit. At least two directors.
Capital (max/min): Minimum share capital allocated: EUR 25,000, of which at least 25% must be paid on issue.
Shareholders and liability: Limited to capital subscribed.
Unlimited Company (UC)
Number of partners: Minimum of 2 directors.
Capital (max/min): Minimum share capital allocated: EUR 25,000, of which at least 25% must be paid on issue.
Shareholders and liability: Unlimited and joint.
Limited Partnership (LP)
Number of partners: Maximum of 20 shareholders, 10 for a partnership in the banking sector.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Limited to capital subscribed.

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Ireland OECD
Procedures (number) 3.00 5.21
Time (days) 11.00 9.47

Source: The World Bank - Doing Business, Latest data available.

The Competent Organisation
The Irish Companies Registration Office.
For Further Information
Consult the Doing Business Website, to know about procedures for starting a Business in Ireland.
Companies Registration Office

Financial Information Directories

Companies Registration Office - National register of companies in Ireland

Dun & Bradstreet - Worldwide directory with financial information on businesses


Recovery Procedures

Click here.
Minimum Debt-to-Capital Ratio Triggering Liquidation
Click here.
Bankruptcy Laws
Click here.
Reorganization and Rehabilitation Laws
Click here.

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The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 2,385,5182,429,7482,427,093

Source: International Labour Organization - ILOSTAT, Latest data available.

Total activity rate 72.91%73.23%73.51%
Men activity rate 79.13%79.21%79.51%
Women activity rate 66.80%67.34%67.60%

Source: International Labour Organization - ILOSTAT, Latest data available.

For Further Statistics
Central Statistics Office Ireland
For Further Information About the Labour Market
Department of Jobs, Enterprises and Innovation

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Working Conditions

Opening Hours
  • Legal Weekly Duration
39 hours. For more information, please visit the Public Service Information website.
  • Maximum Duration
48 hours
  • Night Hours
Night workers are entitled to a free health assessment before starting night work and at regular intervals thereafter.
Working Rest Day
Working hours are governed by EU directives, which stipulate that you’re entitled to a minimum of 11 hours’ continuous rest in every 24 hours and at least one rest period in a working day of more than six hours. You’re also entitled to at least 24 hours’ continuous rest every week. Employers are required to compensate staff for Sunday working (i.e. pay them more than their normal daily wage).
Paid Annual Vacation
Under the law, Organisation of Working Time Act , 1997, employees are entitled to 4 working weeks annual leave (20 days) in any leave year during which they have worked 1,365 hours.
Any employee who has worked for at least 8 months of the leave year is entitled to a 2 week unbroken leave period.
Retirement Age
65 years
Child Labour and Minimum Age For Employment
The employment of children under the school-leaving age is generally prohibited. 15 is the legal full-time working age.

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The Cost of Labour


Minimum Wage
According to official data, the minimum wage in 2022 is EUR 10.50 per hour.
Average Wage
Average annual salary is EUR 44,954 (Central Statistics Office, Q4 2021).
Other Forms of Pay
  • Pay For Overtime
"Working hours" include overtime. Although there is no statutory entitlement to premium pay for overtime, it could be arranged between employer and employee.
  • Pay For Rest Days Worked

There are three different ways of calculating your annual leave entitlement:

  1. Based on the employee’s working hours during what is called the leave year, which runs from April to March. An employee who has worked at least 1,365 hours in the leave year (that is, an average working week of 26.25 hours) is entitled to the maximum of four weeks’ annual leave. Many employers use the calendar year (January-December) instead of the official leave year to calculate entitlement
  2. By allowing 1/3 of a working week for each calendar month in which the employee has worked at least 117 hours
  3. 8% of the hours worked in the leave year, subject to a maximum of 4 weeks


  • An employee may use whichever of these methods gives the greater entitlement.
  • An employee who has worked for at least 8 months is entitled to an unbroken period of 2 weeks’ annual leave.
  • Pay For Night Hours
The definition of normal weekly pay excludes any payments /remuneration or allowances in respect of overtime, night work, shift work, unsocial hours or an employee being available "on call".

Social Security Costs

The Areas Covered
Health insurance (medical care, maternity, disability, death), retirement pensions, family allowances, unemployment benefit.

Almost half the Irish population now pays for private health insurance, one of the highest levels of coverage in the OECD. Click here to consult the website of Irish Welfare.
Contributions Paid By the Employer: Employers withhold up to 11.05% of employees' salaries for the pay-related social insurance (PRSI). If weekly salaries are less than EUR 410, the PRSI is reduced to 8.8%.
Contributions Paid By the Employee: Employees contribute 4% of their gross income to pay-related social insurance (PRSI). If gross income is less than the minimum wage, the employee is exempt from the PRSI.
Competent Organization
Department of Social and Family Affairs

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Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
The main recruitment methods are local newspaper advertisements, word of mouth and recruitment agencies. Most companies use only one method because it works for them.
Companies will only change their methods if the current one is perceived not to be working. Most companies do not have a specific recruitment budget because the activity is not significant in cost terms or in frequency.
Recruitment Agencies
Jobs.ie, Irishjobs, Monster, Bay Group...
Recruitment Websites
Recruit Ireland

The Contract

Type of Contract
Employment contracts can be verbal or written, or both. Most employment contracts are unlimited i.e. they do not have a specific end-date. Fixed-term employment contracts are generally treated the same way as unlimited contracts, except that they are subject to special rules regarding termination.
There are no special employment contracts. Most employment contracts have a probation period of twelve months. For more details, please visit the Ireland page on the International Labour Organisation's website.

Breach of Contracts

  • Retirement
There is no single fixed retirement age for employees in Ireland. If you are employed, your retirement age is set out in your contract of employment. The usual retirement age in contracts of employment is 65.
  • Dismissals
Service is not broken by a lockout, lay-off, strike or change of ownership of business or dismissal followed by immediate re-engagement.  The Labor Relations Commission has published the Code of Practice: Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures which states that employers should have written grievance and disciplinary procedures and they should give employees copies of these at the start of their employment. Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2001 employers are required to give the employee in written notice of the procedures to be followed before an employee is dismissed. This must be done within 28 days of entering the contract of employment.
Labour Laws
Labor regulation
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the labour regulations that apply to local entreprises.

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
Labor law matters are generally not dealt with through the ordinary courts structures, but rather through a specialist structure of labor institutions: the Labor Relations Commission, Rights Commissioners, the Director of Equality Investigations, the Labor Court and the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
  • Legal Framework
After hearing the parties, the rights commissioners issue the findings of their investigations in the form of either non-binding recommendations or decisions, depending on the legislation under which a case is referred.
These can be appealed, provided the appeal is lodged within the time limits set down in the legislation. The relevant Acts govern whether the appeal is to the Labor Court or Employment Appeals Tribunal. Having heard the appeal, the Court, or Tribunal, will issue a decision, which is binding on the parties to the dispute.

Judicial Structures

  • Competent Legal Body
The Irish Labor Court

Social Partners

Employer Associations
IBEC - Irish Business and Employers Confederation
ISME - Irish SME Association
Enterprise Ireland - Organisation for the Development and Growth of Irish Enterprises
Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is the single umbrella organisation for trade unions in Ireland and represents a wide range of interests for 832,000 workers, both in the Irish Republic and in Northern Ireland.
There are currently 64 unions affiliated with the Congress. The Northern Ireland Committee (NIC) of the ICTU is the representative body for 34 trade unions with more than 215,000 members in Northern Ireland.
Unionisation Rate
Currently, roughly a quarter of workers in the private sector are unionised, compared to more than two-thirds in the public sector. Among foreign-owned firms, roughly 80% of workers do not belong to a unions. However, pay and benefits are usually more attractive compared to domestic firms.
Labour Unions
Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Regulation Bodies
International Labour Organisation

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Latest Update: July 2024