Kelly Law Solicitors have expertise in both the regulatory issues of employment law and litigating in employemnt law disputes.

Legislation

Employment law in Ireland is complex and governed by a number of bodies including the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Labour Court, Equality Tribunal and Labour relations commission. Progress has been made at govenment level to streamline the various bodies. An exampe of this is the launch of the Workplace Relations website (www.workplacerelations.ie) which is a single source of information in employment related matters.

Employment Law legislation is detailed and there is a responsibility on all employers to ensure that they are in compliance. A non-exhaustive list of areas of law in employers which must be compliant include the following:

Employment contracts

Pursuant to the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 employers are obligated to issue all employees with written terms and conditions of employment. This must be done within two months of of the employment commencing. Kelly Law Solicitors always advise employers to issue written terms and conditions for their own benefit as well as the employee. The employment contract will generally include policies and procedures relating to the conduct of employees and for dismissal. A written contract removes any ambiguity in the case of dispute. In instances where the terms and conditions are not reduced to writing then the contract of employment is implied by conduct and may well be construed against the employer.

Kelly Law Solicitors offer advice on what employers are required to include in the contract of employment to comply with the Terms of Employment (information) Act 1994.

Minimum wage

The current minimum wage (as of the 01/01/2012) is eur8.65 per hour. However there are instances where this flat rate may flucuate either upwards or downwards.

We invite you to contact Kelly Law Solicitors should you have any uncertainty as the the minimum wage criteria specific to your business.

Minimum notice

Minimum notice periods for termination of employment apply to both employees and employers. Notice periods for employers and employees do however differ.

Employees in general are obliged to give at least one weeks notice to employers should they have been in employment for more than 13 weeks. Employment Solicitors will always advise employers to deal with this issue in the contract of employment will will take precedence.

The minimum notice periods which employers must give to employees on termination are as follows:

Length of Service Notice Period
13 weeks - 2 years 1 week
2 - 5 years 2 weeks
5 - 10 years 4 weeks
10 - 15 years 6 weeks
10 - 15 years 6 weeks
15 years + 8 weeks

Should an employer fail to provide the statutory notice period they they will be liable to pay that employer for that period.

Please contact Kelly Law Solicitors should you have any doubt as to statutory notice periods.

Fixed term workers

A fixed term worker is engaged to carry out a specific task with a defined start and end date.

There are restrictions on the period of time that an employer can continue an employee on a fixed term contract.

Please contact Kelly Law Solicitors should you have any doubt or query relating to law relating to fixed term workers.

Part time workers

A part time employee is any employee who works less than a full time employee dong comparable work.

Employers should be be conscious of the fact that, in gereral terms, part time employees are afforded the same protections as full time employees.

Please contact Kelly Law Solicitors should you have any queries regarding part time workers.

Redundancy

The Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 – 2007 provide for the procedures and employee entitlements in a redundancy situation.

The important rule of thumb in employment law with regard to redundancy is that it is the job that is made redundant and not the person. Employers must be cautious to understand this concept as a failure to do so could give rise to an unfair dismissal situation.

Employees must meet certain criteria before they are entitled to a redundancy payment. A summary of the criteria is as follows:

  • Must have 104 weeks continuous service.
  • The employment must be insurable under the Social Services Acts.
  • The employee must be between the age of 16 and the current national retirement age.
  • It must be a genuine redundancy situation.

In general terms the redundancy enetitlement is 2 weeks gross pay per year of service up to eur600 plus one weeks gross pay.

In circumstances where collective redundancies are being made certain procedures must be followed under the Acts. In such circumstances the employer must enter into communication with a Redundancy Panel pursuant to the Protection of Employment (Exceptional Collective Redundancies and Related Matters) Act 2007.

Employers should also be infomed of the entitlement of a partial rebate form the state for redundancy payments made.

Contact Kelly Law Solicitors should you have any queries regarding a potential redundancy situation.

Unfair dismissal

Matters relating to alleged unfair disissal are amongst the most common reasons for both employers and employees to need the services of an employment law solicitor.

A claim of Unfair Dismissal must be brought within 6 months of the dismissal or 12 months in exceptional circumstances.

In general terms an employee must be in continuous employment for a period of 12 months. There are exceptions to this rule such as situations where it is alleged that the reason for the dismissal was tha the employee was a member of a trade union. Advice should be taken from an employment law solicitor where there is any doubt about the lawfulness of a dismissal.

The correct forum to bring an unfair dismissal claim is before the Employment Appeals Tribunal or the Rights Commissioner.

Wrongful dismissal

A claim for wrongful dismissal is a common law remedy rooted in the law of contract. The claim is to be compensated for a breach of an employment contract.

In situations where an employee does not have required 12 months service, and accordingly does the protection of the Unfair Dismissals Acts, a claim for wrongful dismissal may the only releif in law available.

If an employer can show that a dismissal was not in breach of the employment contract (and not un-constitutional) then the dismissal will be deemed lawful. Accordingly it is more arduous a task to be successful in a claim for "wrongful dismissal" than "unfair dismissal".

Claims for wrongful dismissal historically could only be brought before the Courts but now may be brought before the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

For further information on wrongful dismissal please contact Kelly Law Solicitors in confidence.

Working hours

With some exceptions the average number of hours (calculated over a 4 month period) that an employee is permitted to work per week is 48 hours.

Employees are entitled to certain breaks per hours worked but employers are not obliged to pay for such breaks.

For more details about the working hours of employees please contact Kelly Law Solicitors in confidence.

Maternity leave

By virtue of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 and Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 employees are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave together with the option of a further 16 weeks unpaid leave.

To advise on the entitlement of maternity leave reference would need to be made to that particular employee's Contract of Employment and to whether PRSI Contribution were made for that particular employee.

It is important to note that, notwithstanding that the Contract of Employment may say otherwise, there is no obligation on the employer to pay employees who are on maternity leave. Employees may qualify for the Department of Social Protection maternty benefit should the requisite number of PRSI contributions have been made.

Compassionate leave

In general there is no obligation on employers to provide compassionate leave.

However certain employment sectors are subject to registered employment agreements that are legally binding on employees in those sectors, some of which may provide for compassionate leave.

Contact Kelly Law Solcitors should you have any query as to the applicabilty of compassionate leave to your sector.

Sick leave

In general there is no obligation on employers to provide sick leave.

However certain employment sectors are subject to registered employment agreements that are legally binding on employees in those sectors, some of which may provide for sick leave.

Contact Kelly Law Solcitors should you have any query as to the applicabilty of sick leave to your sector.