Contracts of Employment

Contracts of Employment

The Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994 states that each employee must be furnished with a written statement of the terms of their employment within two months of commencing work. This may be done by a letter of appointment sent by the employer to the employee or by a Contract of Employment. This document forms the basis of the legal relationship between the employer and employee. Types of Contract There are a number of different types of contract. An open ended contract may continue in existence until either the employer or employee terminates the relationship. A contract for a fixed term will end on a specified date while a contract for a specified purpose will cease when the specific task has been completed by the employee. What Details May an Employment Contract Include The full name of the employer and the employee The address of the employer The place of work The job title or nature of work to be carried out by the employee The date of commencement of employment Hours of work If the contract is temporary or for a fixed term or purpose, the expected duration of the contract Details of rest periods and breaks as required by law The rate of pay together with details of pay intervals Details of holiday leave Details of sick pay (if any) and details of pension scheme Period of notice to be given by employer or employee should either party wish to terminate the contract An employer may make available to an employee a handbook which includes details of many of the above requirements or may refer an employee to other documentation e.g. a pension scheme booklet or collective agreement booklet, where a Trade Union is in existence. Disciplinary & Grievance Procedure It is advisable to set out a Disciplinary Procedure and Grievance Procedure in the Contract of Employment or refer to same in an employee handbook. Employers must have written procedures in place to deal with complaints by employees and also to deal with disciplinary action. Details of the procedures in place should be furnished to employees at the commencement of their employment. Probationary Period The contract of employment may allow for a probationary period and can allow for this period to be extended in certain circumstances. The law states however that the probationary period cannot exceed one year. Changes to the Contract Changes to the contract of employment can occur due to changes in the law but otherwise changes must be agreed between you and the employer. Failure to receive a Written Terms of Employment If an employee does not receive written details of the terms of their employment after requesting same from their employer, either by way of letter of appointment or contract of employment a complaint may be lodged by the employee with the Rights Commissioner. The complaint must be made either while the employee is in employment or within six months of leaving their place of employment. If you have any concerns about the contents of a letter containing Terms of Employment or about the contents of a Contract of Employment you should obtain legal advice in advance of signing same. This information is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before...

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Parental Leave

The Parental Leave Act, 1998 as amended by the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act, 2006 allows parents to take leave from their employment to take care of their children. The 2006 legislation extended the time period in respect of which leave could be taken from the previous position of until the child’s fifth birthday to the new extended position of until the child’s eighth birthday. If a child is adopted between the age of six years of age and eight years of age the leave in respect of that child may be extended to two years from the date of the Adoption Order. If the child is suffering from a disability then the leave can be taken at any time up to the child reaching sixteen years of age. The legislation also provides for an extension of time for the leave to be taken where the parent suffers from an illness or was unable for specified reasons to take the leave in the period provided.   How can Parental Leave be taken? It can be taken as a continuous period of fourteen weeks per child. If there is more than one child then it is limited to fourteen weeks in a twelve month period except in the case of multiple births. The period of leave can be longer if the employer agrees. The leave can also be taken as two separate periods of a minimum of six weeks but there must be a gap of ten weeks between the two periods, unless a shorter amount of time is agreed with the employer. Both parents have a separate entitlement to parental leave.   Annual Leave & Public Holidays During the time the employee is on parental leave they are deemed to be working and are entitled to build up annual leave and public holiday entitlements. There is however no entitlement to pay from your employer while on parental leave nor is there any entitlement to any social welfare benefit or assistance.   Entitlement to Parental Leave The employee must be working for the employer for one year before they can take parental leave. If the child is near the age threshold and the employee has been working for the employer for three months but less than a year, the employee may be entitled to take parental leave on a pro-rata basis of one week for every month worked for that employer. The leave can only be used to look after the child concerned and cannot be used for another purpose. Employers must keep records of all parental leave taken by employees for a period of eight years. Failure to do so could result in the employer being imposed with fines of up to €2,000.   Applying for Parental Leave The employee must give written notice to the employer at least six weeks before the leave is due to commence and sign a document confirming the details at least four weeks before the leave commences.   Future Changes to Parental Leave A Directive has recently been adopted by the European Council which will extend the period of parental leave to four months per child. The new provisions are due to be enacted by the member states of the European Union before March 2012. The Department of Justice has confirmed that Ireland are...

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