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.


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.

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.

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.


Minimum Wage Rates in Ireland-the Minimalist Guide to the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000

minimum wage rates ireland

There’s a real sting in the tail of the legislation which provides for minimum rates of pay-the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.

That sting is that breaches of the Act are criminal offences which are punishable with hefty fines and/or prison sentences.

The National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 provides for a minimum hourly rate of pay.

That minimum wage, since July 2011, is €8.65 per hour for an experienced adult worker.

An experience adult worker, for the purposes of the Act, is an employee who is not: (i) under age 18 or (ii) in the first two years after the date of first employment over age 18, or (iii) a trainee undergoing a course that satisfies the conditions set out in S.I. No. 99 of 2000.

All employees, including full time, part time, casual, and temporary are covered by the act with the exception of

  1. Close relatives of the employer
  2. Certain apprentices.

Employees who are paid by piece rate rather than hourly rate are still entitled to the minimum wage.

Also, in some industries different rates apply by virtue of employment regulation orders and registered employment agreements.

Here are the minimum hourly rates:

  1. Experienced adult worker-€8.65 per hour
  2. Under age 18-€6.06 per hour
  3. In the first year after the date of first employment over age 18, whether or not the employee changes employer during the year-€6.92 per hour
  4. In the second year after the date of first employment over age 18, whether or not the employee changes employer during the year-€7.79
  5. In a course of training or study over age 18, undertaken in normal working hours-1st one third period: €6.49 per hour; 2nd one third period:€6.92; 3rd one third period:€7.79 per hour.

NB Each one third period must be at least one month and no longer than twelve months.

  1. Experienced adult worker named by the Labour Court in granting a temporary exemption to an employer from paying €8.65 per working hour-the Labour Court will decide how much should be paid

Only work experience obtained after reaching the age of 18 is counted for the rates above.

It is a criminal offence for an employer to pay less than these rates.

The fact of an employee moving from one employer to another does not affect his entitlements.

Every employer must choose a pay reference period for each employee; this s can be a week, a fortnight, or a month but not longer than a month. The average hourly rate of pay is calculated by reference to this pay reference period.

When calculating the average hourly pay the working hours includes overtime worked and any time spent on standby.

The pay to be included in the calculation of the hourly rate of pay includes:

  • Basic pay
  • Shift premium
  • Commission, bonuses, piece and incentive rates
  • €7.73 per day in respect of board and lodgings
  • €4.60 per day in respect of board (entitlement to meals during the day)
  • €3.15 per day in respect of lodgings

Pay which is not included in the calculation includes:

  • An overtime premium
  • A call-out premium
  • Service pay
  • Unsocial hours premium
  • Tips/gratuities paid by the employer from a central fund controlled by the employer
  • Public holiday premium, Saturday and Sunday premium
  • Expenses
  • On-call or standby allowance
  • Pension contributions paid by the employer.

This list is non-exhaustive but I hope you have a clear idea of how the hourly rate of pay is calculated.

Statement of average hourly pay

An employee is entitled to a written statement from an employer detailing his/ her reckonable pay, working hours, average hourly rate of pay and statutory minimum hourly rate of pay entitlement under the Act, in a pay reference period or periods, within the previous twelve months.

However, if the employee has earned an average hourly rate of reckonable pay of €12.98 or over in the specific pay reference period, the employer is not obliged to supply the employee with the written statement.

Employer not able to pay?

The employer can be granted an exemption by the Labour Court from paying €8.65 per hour. In order to obtain it he must show that he would likely terminate the employment of an employee or put the employee on lay-off.

The employer must have the consent of an employee or at least the consent of the majority of employees affected to apply to the Labour Court for a temporary exemption.

An employer is not entitled to be granted a second temporary exemption by the Labour Court and may not apply for a temporary exemption in respect of an employee being paid a lower hourly rate of pay than €8.65.

Remedies for the employee

There are 2 courses of action open to the employee if he is not being paid the minimum wage:

  1. Refer a complaint to a Rights Commissioner or
  2. Make a complaint to NERA (National Employment Rights Authority)

The employee must choose, though, as he cannot take both routes with the same complaint.

Records and burden of proof

An employer must keep all records that are necessary to show whether this Act is being complied with in relation to an employee, for at least three years from the date any record is made.

In any dispute about national minimum wage entitlements, the onus is on the employer to prove that the law has been complied with. To enable the employer to do this, records will be required.

Records will also be required to show a NERA inspector that the law is being complied with if necessary.

It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with the obligations of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000, and this applies to

  • record keeping,
  • failure to pay the minimum wage,
  • failure to give a written statement of average hourly pay within 4 weeks of being requested by the employee,
  • obstructing a NERA inspector.

New Minimum Wage Rates, January, 2016

The minimum wage in Ireland was increased on 1st January, 2016 to €9.15 per hour. This wage rate applies to all employees, regardless of whether part time, full time, temporary, or casual.

However, some employees are excluded:

  • close relatives of the employer
  • apprentices, other than hairdressing apprentices.

Minimum Wage Rates

Experienced adult worker: €9.15 per hour
Under 18 years: €6.41 per hour
In the first year after the date of first employment over age 18: €7.32 per hour
In the second year after the date of first employment over age:18 €8.24 per hour

In a course of training or study over age 18, undertaken in normal working hours
1st third period: €6.86
2nd third period: €7.32
3rd third period: €8.24

See statutory instrument 99/2000 in relation to Prescribed Courses of Study or Training.

See also the National Minimum Wage act, 2000.

New Minimum Wage, January, 2017

From 1st January, 2017 the new minimum wage is €9.25 (refer to statutory instrument 516 of 2016).

New Minimum Wage, January, 2018

From 1st January, 2018 the minimum wages is as follows:

  • Experienced adult worker: €9.55.
  • Worker aged under 18: €6.69.
  • Working in 1st year from date of 1st employment aged over 18: €7.64. (2nd year: €8.60)
  • New rates for workers aged over 18 in structured training during working hours, also apply.

New minimum wage rates from 4th March, 2019

Rates on or after 4 March 2019

Min. hourly rate of pay% of min. wage
Nat. min. wage9.80100
Aged under 186.8670
Aged 187.8480
Aged 198.8290

Since 4 March 2019 trainee rates are abolished pursuant to the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.