Overview of employment rights enforcement


If you are working, you have certain rights under employment law such as a minimum wage and annual leave. Employment legislation also bans employers from victimising or penalising employees who try to enforce their employment rights.

If you are not getting your rights or entitlements, or if you lose your job and consider your dismissal was unfair, you can make a formal complaint – see 'How to make a complaint' below. Before making a formal complaint, you should try to resolve the dispute with your employer directly.

The main organisations that enforce employment rights are the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Labour Court.

Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) promotes the improvement of workplace relations. It hears disputes and complaints about employment laws, and helps to resolve disputes by providing a range of services to employers, employees and trade unions.

WRC services include:

  • Inspection of employment rights compliance
  • The provision of information
  • Mediation
  • Conciliation
  • Advisory and adjudication services.

The WRC deals with disputes about equality and discrimination. It has published the Guide to Employment, Labour and Equality Law (pdf).

The Labour Court

The Labour Court can investigate industrial disputes in certain circumstances. It also deals with all workplace relations appeals, so you can appeal to the Labour Court about a decision made by an adjudicator in the WRC.

Before the Workplace Relations Act 2015 came into effect on 1 October 2015 the Employment Appeals Tribunal dealt with workplace relations appeals. It continues to hear appeals submitted before the 1 October 2015.

Compensation payments and tax

If you are awarded a compensation payment as a result of an employment rights claim, in certain cases, the payment may be exempt from income tax under Section 7 of the Finance Act 2004. The exemption applies to payments arising out of recommendations or decisions by a relevant authority following a formal hearing or mediation.

You can read more details about this in Revenue’s leaflet Exemption from Income Tax – IT 71(pdf).

How to make a complaint

If you have a complaint about your employment rights, you should first speak to your employer. If you cannot resolve your complaint informally, you can make a formal complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) using its online complaint form.

You should make your complaint to the WRC within 6 months of the alleged incident (dispute). This time limit can be extended by a further 6 months if there was a reasonable cause for the delay.

Your complaint should be about one of your employment rights under the relevant employment law. For example, your annual leave entitlement is set out under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

Read more about how to make a complaint to the WRC, including which supporting documents you need, and what to expect from mediation or the hearing.

You can also read this list of frequently asked questions about making a complaint. Or, you can contact the Workplace Relations Commission's Information and Customer Service.

Workplace Relations Commission - Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road
R93 E920

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 0818 80 80 90

Page edited: 14 January 2022