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Unpaid Work

The National Minimum Wage Act applies to all individuals engaged under a contract of employment.

The law defines a contract of employment as any contract whereby an individual agrees with another person, to do or to perform personally, any work or service for that person or a third person.

Apart from the employment of close family relatives and the engagement of registered industrial apprentices, there is no exemption in law from the obligation to pay the national minimum hourly rate of pay. Therefore, national minimum wage rates apply to work experience placements, work trials, internships and any other employment practice involving unpaid work or working for room and board, regardless of the duration of the engagement.

The right to receive the minimum wage cannot be waived in a contract as any provision in an agreement to do so is void as a matter of law.

Failure to pay the national minimum hourly rate of pay is a criminal offence, punishable upon summary conviction, by a fine not exceeding €2,500 or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or both.

In addition, an employee not in receipt of the national minimum hourly rate of pay may refer a complaint to a WRC Adjudication Officer who may order payment of the wages unpaid or underpaid.

Further details or enquiries, contact the WRC Information and Customer Services at 1890 80 80 90

(or 00 353 59 917 8990 - callers from outside of Ireland).