Overview of employment rights enforcement

Your employment rights

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 you for trying to enforce your employment rights.

If you are not getting your rights or entitlements, or if you lose your job and consider your dismissal 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 and maintains good workplace relations. It hears disputes and complaints about employment laws. It helps to resolve disputes by providing a range of services to employers, employees, and trade unions.

WRC services include:

  • Inspection of employment rights compliance
  • Providing information
  • Mediation
  • Conciliation
  • Advisory and adjudication services

The WRC deals with disputes about equality and discrimination.

The Labour Court

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

Compensation payments and tax

If you are awarded a compensation payment because of an employment rights claim, in certain cases, the payment may be exempt from income tax. 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 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 must make your complaint within 6 months of the alleged incident (dispute). This time limit can be extended by a further 6 months if there is 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 the WRC’s list of frequently asked questions about making a complaint. 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: 28 August 2023