Employers Guide to PRSI Contributions - SW3

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The nature of employment mainly determines the PRSI contribution class that applies to the employee.

PRSI Class A applies to the majority of employees in the private sector and to employees recruited in the public sector since 6 April 1995.


Since April 1991 the level of earnings, not the number of hours worked, determines insurability.

You can get full details of the main contribution classes and examples of both the employees covered by each class and the rate of contribution appropriate to each class from the SW 14 booklet.

Contribution Class A applies to people in industrial, commercial and service-type employment under a contract of service and civil and public servants recruited since 6 April 1995, whose combined reckonable earnings from all employments bring them into Class A.

The appropriate subclass within Class A is based on the earnings in each separate employment (see codes within PRSI classes in paragraph 27).

Contribution Class J applies to the following groups of people:

  • employees in industrial, commercial and service-type employment under a contract of service, whose combined weekly reckonable earnings from all employments are below the threshold for Class A (less than €38 per week in the 2005 tax year. Please check SW 14 for the current amount),
  • employees over 66 years of age,
  • employees who are also full-time civil and public sector employees and paying PRSI Class B, C, D or H in their full-time job.

Contribution Classes B, C and D apply to pensionable employees in the civil and public service, including civil servants, teachers, gardaí, the army and local authority employees who were recruited before 6 April 1995.

Contribution Class H applies to NCOs and enlisted personnel of the defence forces.

Contribution Class K applies to people under 70 years of age who are not insurably employed under the Social Welfare Acts. The following are examples:

  • people getting a pension from a former occupation,
  • people normally paying Class S who have reached 66 years of age,
  • people receiving income from positions of certain office holders, e.g. Judiciary, State Solicitors,
  • prescribed relatives.

However, if the weekly income is below the threshold for Class K (€400 in 2005 tax year) contribution Class M applies. Please see SW 14 booklet for current thresholds.

You should also use contribution Class M for people who:

  • are under 16 years of age;
  • are normally insurable at Class K who:
    - hold a medical card or
    - get a Social Welfare Widow's/Widower's Pension
    - get a One-Parent Family Payment
    - get Deserted Wife's Benefit/Allowance
    - are aged 70 years or over
    - get a widow's or widower's pension under the social security legislation of another country covered by E.C. Regulations.

Contribution Class S applies to self-employed contributors who pay tax and PRSI under the self-assessment system (Schedule D). For enquiries contact the Self-Employment Section (see address in paragraph 70).

Directors whose income is assessable under Schedule E tax may also be liable to pay Class S.


Depending on the circumstances, Directors can either be employees paying PRSI at Class A insurance or self-employed under a contract for services and therefore paying PRSI at Class S. The Department's website has a comprehensive checklist to determine Employment or Self-employment status of individuals. The links to these booklets are

Hard copies of these booklets are also available from Scope Section. If you are still unsure and require clarification on the Class of PRSI for specific directors you should contact Scope Section (address in paragraph 70).

If you are a company director and you are correctly paying Class S PRSI you should contact Directors Unit, Waterford for queries regarding your PRSI rates and entitlements. See paragraph 70 for contact address and phone numbers.

Agency Workers

Persons employed by Employment Agencies under a contract of service are insurable at PRSI Class A. The person or company who is liable to pay the wages or salary of the individual concerned in respect of work or service is deemed to be the individual's employer.

If a person, recruited by an Employment Agency and acting as a sole-trader, performs any work or service for a third party then that person is insured at PRSI Class S provided the annual income exceeds €3,174 for year 2005 (see SW 14 for current rate).

Excepted Employments

There are employments that are specifically excluded from cover under Social Welfare regulations. These employments are listed in Part II of the first Schedule of the Social Welfare Acts. A common excepted employment would be that of a spouse working for a sole-trading spouse, no PRSI is payable and Class M should be returned where the income is less than the Health Levy threshold and Class K when the Health Levy is payable.

For full information on insurability matters please consult our link on the social welfare website under

If you are not sure what contribution class should apply to any particular employee, consult Information Services (see address in paragraph 70).

You should transfer the details for each employee from the coded boxes at the foot of the tax deduction card, or alternative approved document, to the corresponding columns on form P35L.

The details required are:

Code (as printed on tax deduction card, or other approved document and on form P35L)

In J6, pay in your employment only

In J7, net tax deducted (or H9 - net tax refunded; you must enter "R" in the case of a net refund)

In K3, employee's share of PRSI contributions

In K4, total amount of PRSI contributions

In F2, total weeks of insurable employment

In C2, initial social insurance contribution class

In C3, other class if the employee changed class during the year (see also paragraph 48)

In F3, number of weeks of insurable employment at the other class

In F4, date employment began if this occurred during the year

In F5, date employment ended if this occurred during the year


If any employee began or left your employment more than once during the year, you should only show on the form the first date they began and the last date they left. However, keep a separate record of the other changes.

Important points to remember

  • You must make a return for every person employed at any time during the year ending on 31 December, even if you didn't deduct any tax. If an employee is not listed on form P35L when you get the form, you must enter their name, PPS No. and the other information required on one of the blank lines provided on the form.
  • If you do not know an employee's PPS No. and you are filling in form P35L/T, it is very important that you enter the full name, date of birth, mother's surname at birth and full private address of the employee. A business address is not sufficient.
  • If an employee has left employment in the income tax year in question please indicate this after their name and enter the date on which he or she left employment at code F5.
  • The details you supply will be transferred directly to computer records. So it is very important that all entries are correct and written clearly. For instance, do not insert € symbols or commas in four figure sums (for example 1000 is correct, not €1,000). Make the entries within the designated space.
  • Make sure that you:
    - quote the full PPS No. exactly as shown on a tax deduction card or a Certificate of Tax Credits and Standard Rate Cut-Off Point for each employee. There should only be seven digits followed by a letter, followed by a space (that is, no entry), or W,
    - enter the total number of weeks of insurable employment at F2,
    - enter the PRSI contribution class at C2, for example Class A1 or J2,
    - make only one entry for each employee. If an employee had more than one period of employment with the employer during the year, the employer should enter totals for all those periods of employment,
    - the details on the return should relate only to employment with you, the employer, who is making the return.
  • Be careful to avoid the most common types of errors that employers make when completing form P35L:
    - leaving out the contribution class or weeks of insurable employment,
    - inserting details in the wrong column.
Last modified:06/10/2008

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