Are There Any More Sectoral Employment Orders (SEO) Coming Down the Line?

Last updated: June 22nd, 2022

The most recent SEO that was introduced in Ireland was the SI No 455 of 2017 Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2017 which was signed into law on 19th October 2017. Since the introduction of this SEO, there has been much talk of the introduction of further SEOs within other industries.

The Mechanical Engineering Building Services Contracting Sector SEO is the next on agenda. The SEO has been put before the Oireachtas following Minister Breen’s formal approval and it looks likely that it will be introduced relatively quickly.

The SEO will apply to qualified Plumbers, registered apprentice Plumbers (Craftsperson), qualified Pipefitters and registered apprentice Pipefitters (Craftsperson) working in the Sector. It will also cover qualified plumbers and pipefitters who have acquired advanced welding qualifications who function as welders on a day to day basis within the sector.

The SEO includes a definition for whom the order will apply to:

  • The installation, alteration, fabrication, fitting, repair, maintenance, commission, removal and demolition in any building or its sites of articles, fittings, pipes, containers, tubes or instruments, storage facilities, etc. (including central heating apparatus, central plant apparatus, machinery and fuel containers connected thereto) for heating, cooling, including domestic hot and cold water systems, medical and process gases, process pipe services, utility pipe services and compressed and vacuum services of such buildings.”

Similar to the Construction SEO, the Mechanical Engineering SEO provides for minimum rates of pay, overtime rates, sick pay and a pension scheme. The SEO that is before the Oireachtas provides for the following rates of pay for workers:

  • Category 1 Worker (newly qualified): €22.73 per hour
  • Category 2 Worker (workers starting their third year): €23.33 per hour
  • Category 3 Worker (workers starting their sixth year): €23.60 per hour
Apprentices will be paid:
  • Year 1: 33.3% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay
  • Year 2: 50% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay
  • Year 3: 75% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay
  • Year 4: 90% of Category 1 hourly rate of pay

Over Time Rates

Hours worked between normal finishing time and Midnight Monday to Friday inclusive Time plus a half Time plus a half

Hours worked between Midnight and normal starting time Monday to Friday

Double time

First four hours worked after 7 am on Saturday


Time plus a half


All other hours worked on Saturday


Double time


All hours worked on Sunday


Double time


All hours worked on Public Holidays


Double time plus an additional day’s leave


Sick Pay

Employers must have a contributory sick pay scheme for an employee covered by the SEO from the commencement of employment.  The scheme can have a waiting period where the employee will not be entitled to sick pay from the scheme, the waiting period should not exceed five working days.


The SEO sets out that all employees employed in the sector are entitled to be entered into a pension scheme. The terms of the pension scheme are to be no less favourable than the terms outlined in the Construction SEO.


Employer Contribution Worker Contribution Total Combined Contributions

€5.32 per day to a maximum of €26.63 per week


€3.52 per day to a maximum of €17.76 per week


€8.84 per day to a maximum of €44.39 per week


Death in Service Benefit


Employer Contribution Worker Contribution Total Combined Contributions

€1.11 per day to a maximum of €1.11 per week


€1.11 per day to a maximum of €1.11 per week


€2.22 per day to a maximum of €2.22 per week


If you require any further information regarding the SEO please don’t hesitate to contact the advice line on +353 1 886 0350.

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