Construction Sector SEO

First published: December 4th, 2017

Last updated: February 13th, 2023

Construction Sector SEO Rates – 2023

The Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2021 (SEO) came into effect on 1 February 2022.

This SEO sets the statutory minimum rates of pay and other conditions (sick pay and pension entitlements) for employees in the construction sector.

Under this SEO, there is a scheduled increase in the minimum pay rates which came into effect on 1 February 2023.

Here we set out a brief summary of these February 2023 pay rates.

What employees does the SEO apply to?

Two criteria determine what employees are covered by the SEO:

  1. The employer must operate in the construction sector, and
  2. It applies to employees who work in the sector and defines their roles into specific classes; apprentices, new entrant operatives, construction operative or craft person.

The SEO defines what activities place an employer within the construction sector and what experience and qualifications place a worker in a particular employee class.

February 2023 Increases in Basic Hourly Rates of Pay

The pay rates for each category of employee set out in the SEO increased on 1 February 2023 and are set out in more detail below:


Rate of pay

Class of worker


€21.09 per hour

Bricklayers/Stone Layers; Carpenters and Joiners; Floor Layers; Glaziers; Painters; Plasterers; Stone Cutters; Wood Machinists; Slaters and Tilers.

Category A Worker

€20.47 per hour

Scaffolders who hold an Advanced Scaffolding Card and who have four years’ experience; Banks operatives, Steel Fixers; Crane Drivers and Heavy Machine Operators.

Category B Worker

€18.99 per hour

Skilled General Operatives who have worked in the sector for more than 2 years.

New Entrant Operative Workers

€15.35 per hour

To apply for 2 years to new entrant operative workers over the age of 18 years and entering the sector for the first time.

While the SEO sets the minimum hourly rates to be paid to employees, employers are entitled to provide a higher rate of pay in line with their own pay and reward schemes.

Apprenticeship Pay Rates – 1st February 2023

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

Overtime rates

Monday to Friday from normal finishing time to midnight

time plus a half

Monday – Friday from midnight to normal starting time

double time

Saturday (1) First four hours from normal starting time

(2) All subsequent hours til midnight

(1) time plus a half

(2) double time

Sunday – all hours worked

double time

Public Holiday – all hours worked

double time plus

an additional day’s leave


Every employer covered by this SEO must be part of a pension scheme that is subject to the following conditions:

  • Entry to the pension scheme must be possible from the age of 18
  • The scheme must have facility for payment of a daily contribution rate @ 1/5th of the weekly rate (as specified in the scheme)

Sick Pay

Every employer employing construction staff must also have a sick pay scheme in place.

The sick pay scheme must provide for the following benefits:

  • Payment of a standard sick pay benefit for a specified duration
  • May include a waiting period
  • Facilitate provision of a supplementary sick pay benefit if the claimant has no entitlement to social welfare benefit due to inadequate number of social welfare contributions,
  • The maximum duration under an SEO Sick Pay Scheme should not be any lower than a period of 10 weeks in any calendar year, whether for a single claim or in aggregate in a scheme year

It should also be noted that employees will also have certain statutory sick pay rights under the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme which came into effect on 1st January 2023.

Need help complying with minimum rates of pay?

Payment of wages claims are among the most common employee complaints to the Workplace Relations Commission.

If your business operates in the construction sector, it’s important to comply with any applicable minimum pay rules.

For expert advice from one of our employment law experts, call us today on (01) 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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