1 April 2022



Ireland Ireland
Geographical scope
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    Code of conduct, standards

  • Type


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In July 2021, the Irish Department of Social Protection published an updated version of the Code of Practice on Determining Employment Status. This concerns the classification of workers as self-employed or as employed, which determines the rate of Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and tax that must be paid by the workers, as well as the level of social welfare and employment rights protections that workers are entitled to. The Code of Practice aims to provide a set of guidelines for informed decision-making over the respective employment status. The updated version includes new phenomena and trends within the labour market such as platform work.

The criteria for determining the employment status are as follows:

  • Mutuality of obligation: this concerns the question of whether and to what extent there is an obligation on one party to provide work and on the other party to accept it; this aspect is of primary importance in a sense that in case it does not apply, there is no employment relationship;

  • Substitution: this relates to the workers’ right to appoint somebody else as a substitute to perform their work in case they are not able to do it by themselves;

  • The enterprise test: this factor denotes the financial risk the workers are exposed to through performing the work and whether/to what extent the workers carry out the work as persons in business on their own account having the ability to profit from their own efficiency/entrepreneurial skill (or on the contrary suffering financial loss);

  • Integration: this aspect concerns the workers’ integration into the business, whether and to what extent workers are an integral part of a business (as employees) or whether they are performing work that is peripheral or accessory to it (as independent contractors);

  • Control: the last factor takes into account the degree of control held by the payer (employer) and the degree of independence held by the worker; this includes control over the worker and the power to decide what work should be done in what way and where; hereby, the right of the payer to exercise control is more relevant than whether they actually exercise this right.

Although the first factor is the most relevant, none of the aspects are decisive on their own but must be considered together and weighted against each other. This also means that in case a single factor is not found to comply with an employment status, the overall judgement can still be that an employment relationship exists.

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Eurofound (2022), Update of Code of Practice on Determining Employment Status in Ireland (Initiative), Record number 4280, Platform Economy Database, Dublin,