NURSES will have to pay a controversial annual retention fee by New Year's Day.
The January 1 deadline is five months earlier than they had originally been told to pay it by their union.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) told members they should not feel pressured to pay the fee before January as they had previously been given until May 30.
However, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) has confirmed that if the nurses do not pay the retention fees by January 1, they will not be registered.
The fee was recently increased by €50 to €150, and angry nurses picketed the NMBI's headquarters last month.
Another protest has been planned for next Tuesday to highlight opposition to the fee.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said it cannot employ nurses who have failed to register correctly by the January deadline as it is illegal to practise if removed from the roll for non-payment of the fee.
"It is the professional and legal responsibility of nurses and midwives to have their name entered on the Active Register," she said. "The NMBI sets fitness to practise functions for its members and is responsible for considering complaints against nurses and midwives."
However, nurses and their unions are angry that the fee to sign up to the mandatory body has increased. Two years ago it, cost nurses €85 to register.
The INMO has advised its members to ignore the statement from the NMBI.
"The INMO, SIPTU and the PNA have advised their respective members to ignore the recent intimidatory statement from NMBI with regard to the current campaign of opposition to the 50pc increase in retention fee," said a spokesperson.
The INMO has since backtracked and told members to pay €100 as it seeks to have the payment capped, and reminded nurses and midwives that the fee was not due until May.
However, the NMBI said that date is incorrect.
"It is imperative that all nurses and midwives are fully aware that the Annual Retention Fee is due on January 1, 2015 and not May 30, 2015," the NMBI told the Herald. "Failure by nurses and midwives to pay their Annual Retention Fee in full by January 1 means the NMBI will not be able to update their registration."