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New Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the construction industry signed into law

Thursday, 14th December, 2017

On 19th October 2017, the Minister of State for the Department of Business and Innovation, Pat Breen announced the introduction of a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the construction industry.

The new SEO provides for statutory minimum pay, unsocial hours premiums, pensions, death in service benefit, and sick pay entitlements for those employed in the construction sector.

Who does the order affect?

The ‘sector’ is defined to include both ‘building firms’ and ‘civil engineering firms’ for example, construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, painting, decoration and demolition. It covers craftsmen, construction operatives and apprentices employed in the sector. However, it does not include plumbers and electricians.

The New Rates

The new SEO sets the rates for different categories of construction workers as follows:

Hourly Rates

  • New Entrant Workers: €13.77
  • Category 1 Workers (General Operatives with more than 1 years’ experience): €17.04
  • Category 2 Workers (Skilled General Operatives): €18.36
  • Craft Workers (Includes: Bricklayers, Carpenters, Plasterers): €18.93 
  • Apprentices
    • Year 1: 33.3% of Craft Rate
    • Year 2: 50% of Craft Rate
    • Year 3: 75% of Craft Rate
    • Year 4: 90% of Craft Rate

These new rates are approximately 10% higher than they had been under the previous Registered Employment Agreement (REA).


Unsocial Hours

  • Monday to Friday, normal finish time to midnight: time and a half.
  • Monday to Friday, midnight to normal starting time: double time.
  • Saturday, first four hours from normal starting time: time and a half.  All subsequent hours until midnight: double time.
  • Sunday, all hours worked: double time.
  • Public holidays, all hours worked: double time plus an additional day’s leave.


Pension Scheme and Sick Pay Scheme

The Order provides that employers must provide pension benefits with no less favourable terms than those in the Construction Workers Pension Scheme (CWPS). The Order also provides for a mandatory sick pay scheme, in recognition of the health and safety risks posed to industry workers.


Dispute Resolution

The Order also includes a new dispute resolution procedure. No strike or lock-out is allowed unless and until all stated dispute resolution procedures have been exhausted.


What action do I need to take?

If you are an employer in this sector, it is important that you now review your payment practices to ensure that you comply with the new requirements. If you have any questions about the new SEO, please contact your DBASS advisor or call 01 849 8800 and ask to speak to Sean O'Reilly.


Written by Sean O'Reilly.

Dublin Office Suite 14, The Cubes Office, Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, Dublin 18.
Meath Office Berkeley House,
Ballybin Road, Ashbourne,
Co. Meath.

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