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 taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. No liability is accepted by Hammond Good, Solicitors for any action taken in reliance on the information contained therein. Any and all information is subject to change. For further information on the subject, please contact the author, Joyce A. Good Hammond, at