New EU Directives of relevance to Irish employment law


The EU Commission has passed a number of directives recently which when transposed into Irish law will have an impact on the status quo.

The directives primarily relate to ‘transparent and predictable’ working conditions and the gender pay gap.

The likely knock-on consequences of these directives are set out below – indeed, some measures are already in the process of being enacted into Irish legislation this year.

  • 6-month limit on probationary periods.
  • Ban on exclusivity clauses except in limited circumstances.
  • Any training that is mandatory to carrying out the job has to be compensated for by the employer/received for free.
  • Eradication of employment clauses prohibiting employees from taking up other employment outside their work schedule. An acknowledgement of the ‘side hustle’ culture that is alive and well.

These rules will be supplemented by those relating to the gender pay gap with legislation expected to come into force on the following areas.

  • Employers with over 250 employees will be obliged to publish gender pay gap information. This will be for companies over 50 employees soon after.
  • Requirement for employers to provide candidates salary range for the position pre-interview – meaning in the job advert.
  • A ban on employers asking candidates their salary history at any stage of the interview process.
  • The right for workers to request information on their own pay level as it relates to average pay levels for the same role.

Many of these pay transparency measures are already in effect in jurisdictions such as Spain, Italy, France and Belgium with these directives aimed at creating a common standard throughout the EU.

Ireland has already made some progress on the area of transparent and predictable working conditions in the 2018 Employment Act, but it could be argued we have a way to go on pay transparency measures and hence in addressing the Gender Pay Gap. There’s probably no harm in the EU nudging us in the right direction – and sooner rather than later.

For further information or a confidential discussion please reach out.

Colm Duggan

Colm Duggan

Associate Director


At FK International, we have over 20 years’ experience in assisting our Clients and our Candidates. We are here to support and advise and we would be happy to have a confidential discussion about how we see the market, your recruitment options  and any career advice. Our Client base is extremely broad and our Consultants are experienced and well positioned to assist.