Payment of Wages Working Time/Rest Periods

The Sunday Premium Rate of Pay-How Much Should Be Paid for Working on Sunday?

If you work on Sunday you are entitled to be paid a premium pursuant to section 14 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997,

14.— (1) An employee who is required to work on a Sunday (and the fact of his or her having to work on that day has not otherwise been taken account of in the determination of his or her pay) shall be compensated by his or her employer for being required so to work by the following means, namely—

( a) by the payment to the employee of an allowance of such an amount as is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances, or

( b) by otherwise increasing the employee’s rate of pay by such an amount as is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances, or

( c) by granting the employee such paid time off from work as is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances, or

( d) by a combination of two or more of the means referred to in the preceding paragraphs.

Paid time off or an allowance

You will note from section 14 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 above that the Sunday Premium can be in the form of paid time off or the payment of an allowance of such amount as is reasonable in the circumstances.

Increased rate of pay

You will see that no specific amount is set out in the act for the rate of pay, it refers to ‘what is reasonable having regard to all the circumstances’. This leaves the Sunday Premium rate of pay open to negotiation between the parties and if agreement cannot be reached there may be a dispute referred to the WRC or Labour Court.

Labour Court guidance

It is to the Labour Court that we turn for guidance as to what is considered to be ‘reasonable’.  And from the decided cases we note a pattern emerging of the Labour Court finding that time and a third is considered to be ‘reasonable’ when it comes to the rate of pay.

Cases to be reviewed on this point include:

  • Chicken and Chips Limited t/a Chicken Hut and David Malinowski [DWT159]
  • Viking Security Limited and Valent [DWT1489]

However, the 33% premium is not a hard and fast rule and all the circumstances will be considered which led to a 25% premium being accepted as reasonable and even a 14% premium being accepted in Cadbury Ireland Limited v SIPTU [DWTO0720].

If you are an employer, therefore, you would have to be considering a Sunday Premium of at least 25% to have a good, stateable case that it is a ‘reasonable’ rate as envisaged by the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

Benefit in Kind not acceptable

The Labour Court has held that a premium must be paid and a benefit in kind-for example a free meal-is not acceptable and is not what was envisaged by the legislators when framing the act.

Composite rate of pay

If the contract of employment includes a rate of pay which claims to incorporate a Sunday Premium then the Sunday Premium must be identifiable; it is not good enough to simply state your rate of pay includes a Sunday Premium.

This is an easy mistake for an employer to make.

Update October 2019

An important decision was handed down from the High Court in this connection in October 2019, you can read about it here.

In essence, if a contract of employment contains a provision stating that the rate of pay has been calculated to take into account the requirement to work on Sunday this will almost certainly be sufficient and the employer will not have to provide evidence as to how much is being paid for working on Sunday. But you need to read the full decision of the case to fully understand the implications of this decision.

Payment of Wages Workplace Relations Commission

New Pay Rates and Conditions of Employment for Plumbers and Pipefitters

plumber and pipefitter SEO

Are you a plumber or pipefitter?

If you are there is a new sectoral employment order which sets minimum pay rates and other conditions of employment for you.

The sectoral employment order (SEO) came into force on 6th March, 2018 and covers the following employees:

Qualified Plumbers and Registered Apprentice Plumbers (Craftsperson) and Qualified Pipefitters and Registered Apprentice Pipefitters (Craftsperson) working in the Sector.
For the avoidance of doubt qualified plumbers and pipefitters who have acquired additional or advanced welding qualifications and who are required to function as welders on a day to day basis within the sector come within the scope of this Order.

Rates of Pay (hourly)

Category 1 €22.73
Category 2 €23.33
Category 3 €23.60


Apprentice Year 1 33.3% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay

Apprentice Year 2 50% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay

Apprentice Year 3 75% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay

Apprentice Year 4 90% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay

The SEO also defines the normal working week, normal daily working hours, and unsocial hours payments.

  • Hours worked between normal finishing time and Midnight Monday to Friday inclusive-time plus a half
  • Hours worked between Midnight and normal starting time Monday to Friday-Double time
  • First four hours worked after 7 am on Saturday-Time plus a half
  • All other hours worked on Saturday-Double time
  • All hours worked on Sunday-Double time
  • All hours worked on Public Holidays-Double time plus an additional day’s leave

The SEO also deals with pensions, pension contributions, a sick pay scheme and how disputes are to be resolved.

Legally Binding

This SEO is legally binding in the sector, regardless of whether the employer has a unionised workforce or not, as these are statutory minimum rates and conditions in the sector. These SEOs replace the old Registered Employment Agreements which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.


Payment of Wages

Bad Weather Absence from Work-Should Employees be Paid?

bad weather employee pay

Have you missed work due to the ‘Beast from the East’ or ‘Storm Emma’, or any other bad weather event?

Are you entitled to be paid if you are not at work?

Can you be disciplined for failing to show up?

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Firstly, is there any policy in your workplace to deal with this?

Sometimes there is-for example, the Department of Education has certain policies in place for adverse weather conditions for the assistance of school management.

Most workplaces, however, will not have any policy to cover events such as weather related absences, or other exceptional events.

If there is no policy, and the employer decides to close the business it is almost certainly the situation that staff should be paid as the decision to close is the employer’s. The employee can argue that she is ready, willing and able to work and the decision to close was solely the employer’s. Arguably, this would be a breach of contract situation.

If, however, the employer does not close then the obligation is on the employee to show up for work.

Yes, I know, it appears harsh and bad weather events can play havoc on workers who have kids in school and the school closes, or there is significant difficulty in actually getting to work as public transport has curtailed or abandoned its service.

But the legal position is that if the employee does not go to work he will not be entitled to pay.

That’s not to say that many employers may choose to pay, or may come to some other arrangement such as giving the employee the choice of whether to take the day as a day of annual leave or not.

Disciplinary procedure

What happens if the employee does not make it to work and the business is open?

The employer can invoke the disciplinary procedure if she feels that the employee is acting the maggot and is using the bad weather as an excuse to take a ‘duvet day’.

It would not be advisable, however, for an employer to use the disciplinary procedure if there is a genuine problem with the employee making it to work.

Win the battle, lost the war

Employers should be mindful of not making the mistake of winning a short term battle, but losing the long term war.

What I mean is that the employer would be wise to take a more medium to long term view of events which may only last a day or two and demonstrate how much they value their employees, rather than cracking the whip in a way which may be counterproductive in the long term relationship between the employer and employees.

It would also be smart for the employer to have a policy to deal with extreme or exceptional events such as weather events or transport strikes and so forth, and to ensure it is clearly communicated to all employees. This could be included in the staff handbook, for example, and the staff handbook referred to in the contract of employment.

Part Time Workers Payment of Wages

New Employment Regulation Order for Contract Cleaners, November 2016


A new Employment Regulation Order for contract cleaners will come into force 55 days from 1st November, 2016.

This order provides for 3 pay increases over 3 years and other matters such as charges for uniforms.

The rate of pay will be as follows:

€10.05 from 1st December, 2016 or 60 days after signing of the order, whichever is later;

€10.40 from 1st December, 2017, and €10.80 from 1st December, 2018.

It also makes some changes re:

  • Annual holidays
  • Terms of employment
  • Other conditions of employment
  • Sick pay procedure
  • Maternity leave
  • Bullying/harassment
  • Dismissal
  • Rosters
  • Overtime
  • Payment of wages.

You can read the full statutory instrument here: statutory instrument 548 of 2016.

Payment of Wages

12 Pay Related Employment Claims Employers and Employees Should Know About


Are you an employer?


Complaints can be made by employees in respect of pay to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Here are 12 you should be aware of, with the relevant legislation underneath:


  1. I do not receive the National Minimum rate of pay

Section 14 of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 is the relevant law.


  1. I am not given compensation for working on a Sunday

See section 14(1) of the Organisation of Working Time act, 1997.


  1. I do not get a payslip

Section 4 of the Payment of Wages act, 1991.


  1. My payslip does not show the gross wages payable and/or the amount of any deductions.

Section 4 of the Payment of Wages act, 1991.


  1. My employer has made an unlawful deduction from my wages.

Section 5 of the Payment of Wages act, 1991.


  1. My employer has not paid me or has paid me less than the amount due to me.

Section 5 of the Payment of Wages act, 1991.


  1. My employer pays me by a method other than that legally prescribed.

Section 2 of the Payment of Wages act, 1991.


  1. My employer is not keeping statutory employment records.

A wide range of employment legislation provides for this eg Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.


  1. I did not receive my paid holiday/annual leave entitlement.

Section 19 and 20 Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.


  1. I have not received my Public Holiday entitlements.

Section 21 and 22 Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.


11. I did not receive the appropriate payment in lieu of notice of termination of my

Section 7 Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act, 1973.


  1. I did not receive a statement of my average hourly rate of pay.

Section 23, National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.


In addition to going to the WRC with a complaint an employee can always go to the Civil Courts and sue for breach of contract, depending on the circumstances.