Ireland: Fathers entitled to two weeks' paid paternity leave


Get up-to-date on legislative changes and important case law by reading this update on Irish employment law.

Increase in national minimum wage

With effect from January 2016 the National Minimum Wage will increase in January 2016 to €9.15 per hour.


Two weeks' paid paternity leave

With effect from September 2016, fathers will be entitled to two weeks’ paid paternity leave. 

It will be paid at the same rate as maternity benefit (currently €230 per week). Until this, legislature only provided for a limited form of paternity leave (under the maternity leave legislation, if a mother dies whilst on leave, a father is entitled to the balance of the leave). Certain public sector and private sector employers may provide a contractual entitlement to a certain specified number of days’ paid paternity leave (for example, 2-3 days).


Contractors providing security services as private investigators must now obtain a licence

Contractors providing security services as private investigators must now obtain a licence from the Private Security Authority.

With effect from 1 November 2015, it is an offence for any contractor to offer a service as a Private Investigator without a licence. It is also an offence for a person to engage or employ an unlicensed Private Investigator. Both offences carry fines of up to €3,000 or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both upon summary conviction.


Draft guidance for public bodies

Draft guidance for public bodies on performance of functions under the Protected Disclosure Act 2014.

The guide (once finalised) should assist public bodies in complying with their mandatory obligation under the Act to have whistleblowing policies in place. The Guide also contains a sample whistleblowing policy.


Safe Harbor is no longer recognised as a legal basis for transfer of personal data to the US

The CJEU declared that the US Safe Harbour Principles are invalid and do not ensure a level of data protection being compatible with the protection of the privacy and of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individuals in the European Union.

The case arose out an action Mr Schrems brought before the Irish High Court, challenging a decision of the Data Protection Commissioner. The court referred the issue to the CJEU.

The decision has implications for thousands of European businesses that transfer data to the US. Before the CJEU's decision, certified companies in Europe could rely on the US company’s safe harbour certification as providing a sufficient legal basis for transferring personal data to the US company. The loss of the regime will cause inconvenience for those that rely on it and inevitably will give rise to a period of uncertainty. The net effect is that European companies will have to look to alternative legal structures, such as model contracts, binding corporate rules and data subject consent instead of relying on Safe Harbour certification.