Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Paul Harding from Civil and Public Service Jobs to give some advice for people considering this job:


Paul Harding

Prison Officer

Civil and Public Service Jobs

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  Paul Harding
Go for it. If you feel you may be suitable, then you probably are. An ability to not take yourself too seriously would be an advantage!

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Employee Rights

The last decade has seen substantial changes in the field of employment protection in Ireland. These legisation changes are described in a series of documents which can be accessed here. Full details of all of the legislation is available on

Employee Rights

As an employee, you are entitled to receive certain basic employment rights. Although some industries entitle employees to different rights, the list below is the minimum you should receive.

  • A written statement of terms and conditions of employment. Whilst the full contract does not have to be in writing, certain terms and conditions of your employment must be stated in writing within two months of starting employment. These would typically include the method of calculating pay and whether or not there is a sick pay scheme in operation. (For fixed term employees it would also include in what circumstances your employment will come to an end.)
  • A written statement of pay or ‘payslip’. Your payslip should set out gross pay and list all deductions made from it.
  • A minimum wage

Experienced adult workers in Ireland are entitled to be paid €9.15 per hour [from 1 January 2016]. However, the national minimum wage (NMW) does not stop an employer from offering a higher wage.

There are some exceptions to the minimum wage, including those employed by close relatives, those aged under 18 and trainees or apprentices:

National Minimum Wage Rates 2016
Rates on or after 1 January 2016 Minimum hourly rate of pay % of minimum wage
Experienced adult worker €9.15 100%
Aged under 18 €6.41 70%
First year from date of first employment aged over 18 €7.32 80%
Second year from date of first employment aged over 18 €8.24 90%
It was announced in Budget 2017 that from 1 January 2017, the statutory minimum wage will increase to €9.25 from €9.15 per hour. 

There are also certain industries in Ireland where a higher minimum wage applies, including the construction industry. Further information on these industries is available here.

  • A maximum working week average of 48 hours a week
    • The maximum 48 hour week is based on an average calculated over a four, six, or twelve-month period depending on the industry. Your employer must keep a record of how many hours you work.
  • Unpaid breaks during working hours
    • You have the right to a 15-minute break if working four and a half hours of work and a 30-minute break if working six hours of work.
  • Annual leave from work
    • Full-time workers have the right to four working weeks paid annual leave per year. Part-time workers have the right to a proportional amount of annual leave based on the amount of time they work.
  • A minimum amount of notice before dismissal
  • You are entitled to a minimum amount of notice if your employment ceases. The minimum amount of notice depends on the length of service. 

Employment Law Explained is a usefull information booklet downloadable from the National Employment Rights Authority.

The main bodies dealing with the enforcement of employment rights are:

  • National Employment Rights Authority (NERA)
    • The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) was established under the Social Partnership Agreement "Towards 2016"  to achieve a national culture of employment rights compliance. It provides information to employees and employers through its information unit, monitors employment conditions through its inspection services and can enforce compliance and seek redress.
  • Rights Commissioners (attached to the Labour Relations Commission)
    • Rights Commissioners investigate disputes, grievances and claims that individuals or small groups of workers refer under a range of employment legislation.
  • Labour Court
    • The Labour Court was established to provide a free, comprehensive service for the resolution of disputes about industrial relations, equality, organisation of working time, national minimum wage, part-time work and fixed-term work matters.
  • Employment Appeals Tribunal
    • The Employment Appeals Tribunal is an independent body established to provide a speedy, inexpensive and relatively informal means for adjudication of disputes on employment rights under the various legislations that come within the Tribunal’s scope.  Their goal is that customers using the service will be satisfied overall with the service they have received from the Tribunal.
  • Equality Tribunal
    • The Equality Tribunal is the impartial forum to hear or mediate complaints of alleged discrimination under equality legislation. It is independent and quasi-judicial and its decisions and mediated settlements are legally binding.
  • Health and Safety Authority
    • The HSA is the state sponsored body in Ireland with responsibility for securing safety, health and welfare at work and operate under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.  Working in partnership with employers and employees, our responsibility is to ensure that safety and health in the workplace is a key priority for everyone.

The Department of Social Protection is responsible for compliance with the
social welfare aspects of employment and the Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the tax compliance aspects of employment law.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform has a role in relation to employment permits, as does the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

The Pensions Board has a role in relation to occupational pensions and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs).

Employer Rights & Responsibilities

Employment law has become increasingly complex over the past number of years and there are over 30 pieces of major employment legislation in Ireland. The need for organisations to ensure compliance with legislation is greater than ever, as the level of claims, inspections and fines are increasing each year.

IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation) provide a useful section on Employment Law on their website to assist employers understand the issues they may be faced with.


Do What You Say You're Going To Do


Do what you say you're going to do and people will trust you, believe you, and like you. You're "word" is who you are. This is how people judge you.