Budget 2024

A number of measures were introduced by Government in Budget 2024 aiming to improve standards of living, support families, and stimulate economic growth.

Parent’s Leave
Parent’s leave is a statutory entitlement whose purpose is to provide working parents to spend more time with their baby or adopted child during the first two years.  The current entitlement of 7 weeks leave is to be extended by 2 weeks following Budget 2024. From August 2024 all eligible workers will be entitled to 9 weeks Parent’s leave and Parent’s benefit.

As part of Budget 2024 the Irish government has introduced a series of measures. One of which is that the standard rate band for income tax will increase by €2,000 to reach €42,000. The 4.5% Universal Social Charge (USC) will be reduced to 4%, and the entry threshold for USC will rise from €22,920 to €25,760. These changes are expected to result in a net income increase of €2,000 for single individuals earning €46,000 in 2024.

Additionally, various tax credits, including Personal Tax Credit, Employee Credit, and Earned Income Credit, will increase by €100 each.

National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage is set to increase by €1.40, which will bring the new minimum rate to €12.70 per hour. This increase is set to apply from January 1, 2024.

Company Cars
The company car benefit in kind (BIK) relief is set to continue into 2024. The Government have indicated that the temporary universal relief of €10,000 to the original market value, will be extended into 2024. A further extension of relief on battery electric cars was also announced as part of Budget 2024 until 2025. The cumulative impact will mean a €45,000 deduction on the car value on which BIK is computed for electric cars.

Key Employee Engagement Programme
The Key Employee Engagement Programme will be extended to the end of 2025 and expanded.

Business Supports
A €250 million support initiative for small and medium-sized enterprises is being introduced to alleviate business expenses. This programme aims to be more streamlined than previous efforts addressing the challenges of high energy costs. Businesses are anticipated to receive a one-time grant, potentially covering up to 50% of their rates.

Mechanical Engineering SEO Struck Down By The High Court

On October 10, 2023, the High Court abrogated the 2018 Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) pertaining to the Mechanical Engineering Building Services Contracting Sector. The legal challenge drew on a 2021 Supreme Court decision concerning comparable pension provisions within the SEO.

The contentious aspect of the SEO stipulated that Employers must enrol their Employees in a pension scheme, mirroring the terms, including contribution rates, of the Construction Workers’ Pension Scheme or offering more favourable terms.

Affected Employees can still rely on the safeguards outlined in their individual employment agreements and statutory minimum labour protections. Unions have cautioned that there may be the possibility of industrial action should Employers attempt to diminish the superior terms and conditions provided by the SEO.