When does a charity need to register as an employer?????

Hi All,

Just wondering if anyone can help me with this question. We are currently setting up counsellors who will be paid an hourly rate and will be working an average of 5 hours a week for the charity. The question is do we have to register as employers or can we pay them by cheque on receiving an invoice?




paul.meade's picture

 Hi Yvonne,This is actually a


Hi Yvonne,

This is actually a lot more complex an issue than it might first appear and so we had to get some expert opinion to answer it properly.

We are informed that the issue is not so much the number of hours they are working but rather whether they are working as employees or self employed contractors. If the organisation wrongly treats them as self employed contractors and it turns out that they were in reality employees, there could be significant implications for them further down the line in terms of unpaid employer PRSI and general Revenue issues. 

It is also something which the organisation should discuss with their own tax advisors. If the Counsellors can probably be viewed as persons running a business on their own account then they can probably be properly be treated as self employed contractors. If however they are viewed as being integrated with the organisation then are more likely to be employees. The expert we consulted informed us that she had personally seen situations where medical people have been treated as self employed for long periods of time and have fallen foul of that. For example, there was a recent case involving the D-Doc Services down in the South West where the individuals were considered by the social welfare people to have been employees.

So it is certainly a point on which the organisation needs to be very careful and make an informed decision in a way that will not leave them exposed to difficulties in the future.

There is some helpful related information on this issue on our Workplaces that Work employment law handbook,which we recommend you consider purchasing. Find out more here.

You can find some additional information via the following links also:


Paul Meade
Information & Programmes Officer