Minimum Notice Periods in IrelandThe Minimum Notice Acts 1973 to 2005 ensure that every employee who has been in the continuous employment of his or her employer for at least 13 weeks is entitled to a minimum notice period before that employer may dismiss him or her.

The statutory period varies depending on the length of service (outlined below).

It is essential to note that if the employer does not require the employee to work out their notice the employer is obliged to pay the employee for the applicable period.

  • If the employment lasted between 13 weeks and 2 years the Acts provide that the employer should give the employee one week's notice before termination of employment.
  • If the length of service is between 2 and 5 years then the notice period must be 2 weeks.
  • For 5 to 10 years then the appropriate notice is 4 weeks.
  • From 10 to 15 years then 6 weeks' notice must be given.
  • For more than 15 years the employee is entitled to a notice period of 8 weeks.

Often employers and employees agree payment in lieu of notice of termination.

If it is the employee that has made the decision to terminate the employment contract and he or she has carried out 13 weeks of continuous employment with the company then he or she is obliged to serve the employer with notice 1 week prior to the departure date (unless the contract of employment provides for a longer notice period).

It is important to bear in mind that the Acts do not apply to:

  • Members of the Permanent Defence Forces (except temporary staff in the Army Nursing Service)
  • Members of An Garda Síochána
  • Seamen signing on under the Merchant Shipping Act
  • The immediate family of the employer (provided they live with the employer and work in the same private house or farm)
  • Established civil servants

Employees are said to have continuous service if they have not been dismissed or have not voluntarily left their job during the period in question. This continuity is not normally affected by things like lay-offs or by a dismissal followed by immediate re-employment. Nor is it affected by the transfer or trade of a business from one person to another.

However, it is important to distinguish between categories of employees for the purposes of these Acts as an employee who has claimed for and received a redundancy payment as a result of lay-off, for instance, is considered to have left his or her employment on a voluntary basis.

If an employee was absent from work because he or she was taking part in a strike relating to the business in which the employee is employed this period is not included in their "continuous service" record.

It is very important to note that the Acts do not affect the right of the employer or the employee to terminate a contract of employment without notice due to the misconduct of the other party.

A Workplace Relations Customer Services department has been set up at the offices of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. This resulted from the amalgamation of the information services previously provided by the National Employment Rights Authority's Contact Centre and the general enquiries areas of the Equality Tribunal, the Rights Commissioner Service and the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

This section has responsibility for:

  • information provision in relation to employment, equality and IR rights and obligations,
  • the receipt and registration of all complaints referred to the five Workplace Relations Bodies, and
  • dealing with enquiries concerning all complaints.

From 3rd January 2012 all complaints to the Workplace Relations Bodies have been channelled through Workplace Relations Customer Services, where they are registered, acknowledged and referred to the relevant adjudication body.