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Work & EmploymentType of Employment

When considering what type of employment you would like, it is worth exploring some of the different options that may be available. Below we describe the main types of employment available throughout Ireland. 

Difference between the Public and Private Sector

Career Sectors are categories of jobs that relate to a particular activity and skillset such as medicine or construction. Knowing a bit about the various career sectors can help you to narrow down the focus to a particular type of career in a specific sector – making it a great place to start!

When looking at career sectors, it is important to note that the career you may have an interest in might be available in the Public Sector as well as in the Private Sector. What is the difference between these two sectors you may ask?

Government-run organisations are part of what is known as the Public Sector. These include government departments, local authorities, and state agencies. The Private Sector is the part of the economy that is run by individuals and companies for profit and is not state-controlled, while charities and other non-profit organisations are part of the voluntary sector. Many careers and roles exist in more than one of these career sectors, which means that skills and experience from one sector can be utilised in the others. It is important that you research which sector is right for you!

In each of the Career Sectors, we discuss what types of roles available, provide advice from experts and employers in that industry, as well as listing courses that provide the necessary qualifications to help gain employment. 

Employee vs Self Employed?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of employment options available – you can be an employee or you are self employed. An employee is someone who works for someone else in return for payment. In Ireland there is no definition of ’employee’ in employment law. Instead there is a guide (Code of Practice in determining Employment Status) that contains criteria which can be used to clarify whether a person is employed or self-employed.

The employment status of a person is generally determined by the Revenue Commissioners or the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Importantly, your status as determined by the authorities has legal implications, such as:

  • The way in which tax and PRSI is payable to the Collector-General
    • An employee will have tax and PRSI deducted from his or her income.
    • A self-employed person is obliged to pay preliminary tax and file income tax returns whether or not he or she is asked for them.
  • Entitlement to a number of social welfare benefits, such as unemployment and disability benefits
    • An employee will be entitled to unemployment, disability and invalidity benefits, whereas a self-employed person will not have these entitlements.
  • Other rights and entitlements, for example, under Employment Legislation
    • An employee will have rights in respect of working time, holidays, maternity / paternity / parental leave, protection from unfair dismissal etc.
    • A self-employed person will not have these rights and protection.
  • Public liability in respect of the work done.

If you are working but do not meet the requirements set out as being an employee, then you are regarded as being self-employed. As an employee, there are many different possible workplace arrangements for employment. 

To understand the different Types of Employment via the Citizen Information Service: click here

To understand your Rights and Entitlements as an Employee via the Citizen Information Service: click here


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