Overview of employment rights enforcement


People who are working have certain rights under employment law such as a minimum wage and annual leave. Employment legislation also prohibits 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, there are various organisations which can assist you– see 'How to make a complaint' below. The main organisations involved in employment rights enforcement are the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Labour Court.

COVID-19: You can get information in our document on the procedures for workplace disputes during COVID-19.

Workplace Relations Commission

The Workplace Relations Commission’s main function is to promote the improvement of workplace relations. It is where all workplace relations disputes and all disputes and complaints about employment laws are presented. The WRC resolves disputes by providing a range of services to employers, employees and trade unions. These include inspection of employment rights compliance and 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 WRC adjudicator’s decision. 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

You make a complaint about enforcing 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. You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. You can read this list of frequently asked questions about making a complaint.

If you need information about employment law and your employment rights you can contact Workplace Relations Commission's Information and Customer Service.

Page edited: 25 May 2020