6 things that might interest you about the Employment Law in Ireland
Richard Ward from our team has recently taken up a course on the Employment Law in Ireland. Here are his thoughts and takeaways. If you have any questions you can contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout this piece I have highlighted a number of elements of Irish Employment Law that I believe may be of interest, particularly to those coming to Ireland from abroad. I’m not an expert in Irish Employment Law, but I’ve recently undertaken a course on the subject, in order to bolster my proficiency in the area and was fascinated by a number of points that wouldn’t necessarily spring to mind. Also, much like that song that you hear for the first time, then find yourself hearing it everywhere you go, I’ve found that in my work as a specialist in the Data Centre Recruitment space, not a day goes by when I don’t come across at least one of these points these points that, prior to taking the course, I could well have been oblivious to.
Have a read, yourself. Were you aware of these things before?
Your employment contract does not have to be written down.
This one catches a few people out when they’re coming in to start a new job. If you’re working regularly, for the same employer, for a regular wage, then you have a contract of employment. What DOES need to be agreed upon and written down, is the “Written Statement of Terms of Employment”, which needs to be in place within 2 months of commencement of employment. This makes up a part of your contract of employment but should not be mistaken for your actual contract.
Just because it’s not stated in your contract, doesn’t mean it’s not a part of your contract.
Your contract comprises of both expressed and implied terms. Expressed terms are those specifically outlined in your contract (either verbally or in written form). Implied terms are those not necessarily stated in your particular contract, but are implied by standard, or regular customs and practice within that particular industry. There are also General Implied Terms, such as the employer and employee having a duty of care toward one another, as well as toward other employees. They also have a duty of trust toward one another. Read more about Implied Contractual Terms HERE.
Back-to-back fixed-term contracts are discouraged.
Let’s say you’re offered a job, on a six month, fixed-term contract. Once the six months are up (or nearly up), your employer would like to offer you another fixed term contract, say for a further five months. Whilst doing so, your employer must provide you with a valid reason as to why you are not being offered a contract of indefinite length (i.e. one without a specified end date). You can read more about this, HERE.
Know the difference between “for” and “of”…
Ok, this one needs a bit of explaining, I’m not being deliberately condescending here. There are big differences between a Contract “for” Services, and a Contract “of” Services. This one is definitely one to look into further though as, whilst they are different, it’s not always clear cut as to which one applies. A Contract of Services generally means that you are deemed an employee of the company and, as such, you are entitled to all employee rights, privileges and responsibilities that go with such a distinction.
A Contract for Services applies to an independent contractor who has been engaged by a company or business to perform a particular service, often as a one off. As such, once the agreed services have been rendered, the contract is considered completed or terminated. In short, “For” means you’re not an employee, “Of” means that you are. This distinction has appeared in case law a number of times. In the case of Henry Denny &Sons (Ireland) Ltd t/a Kerry Foods v The Minister for Social Justice (1998), whether or not a shop demonstrator was an employee or not, was considered. Despite the fact that the person’s contract stated that they were not an employee and that they were responsible for their own tax affairs, it was determined that they were in fact an employee after applying a number of tests, including the level of integration of the individual into the working environment, and how much control the individual had over their actions. Since the individual was required to be on premises at specified times, was told specifically what to do, and had to wear a uniform provided by the company, they were deemed to be an employee in spite of the fact that the contract stated otherwise.
Made redundant? You may be eligible for a lump sum…
…but make sure you meet the criteria. Particularly at times like this, redundancy is a part of business. Whilst many are lucky enough to never have to experience it, it still happens enough that there are statutory compensation practices in place – but you must meet the criteria. You need to have been in continuous employment with the company for a minimum of 2 years, and it must come as the result of a genuine redundancy situation – that is, the job you were doing no longer exists and that you are not being replaced. Under the Redundancy Payments Act 2003, an eligible employee is entitled to two weeks statutory redundancy payment for every year of service, plus one bonus week. Note that this is subject to a maximum ceiling on gross weekly pay of €600. Find out more HERE.
Full-time jobs, Part-time jobs or Temp… It’s all the same (nearly).
This pertains to the way in which an employee is treated. The Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 states that a part-time employee must not be treated any less favourably than a comparable full-time employee. They must be offered the same payment and benefits as proportionate. The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 stipulate that those employed under either of these conditions, are entitled to the same, basic working and employment conditions, for the duration of their assignment with the hirer, as those that would be afforded them, were they employed under contract by the hirer to perform the same or similar work. An example could be, if you’re working on a temporary contract through an agency, the hirer (the company that has engaged your services through the agency), can’t exclude you from using the same canteen or employee facilities as other workers.
Employee rights in Ireland
Knowing your rights is essential to ensuring that you’re getting all that’s due to you. I strongly advise that you take some time to read up on not just the points I’ve mentioned here, but Employment Law in general and not just as a result of something cropping up. If you’re interested in exploring employment options in Ireland, GemPool are only too happy to help. We can also advise you on areas of employment law that you may be unsure about and guide you toward the answers or solutions you need. Check out our Website to explore our open roles, as well as a complete guide to our Service Offerings.
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