I am starting a new job, should I have a contract of employment?
A: All employees who work for an employer for a wage or salary have an automatic contract of employment. Although the complete contract does not have to be a written contract, the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994 and 2001 state that the employee must be given a written statement setting out the terms of his or her employment within two months of their start date.
The statement of terms must include the following information:
- The full name and address of employer and employee
- The title of job or nature of work
- The date the employment started
- The expected duration of the employment, whether it is a fixed or temporary post
- Details of rest periods, breaks and paid leave
- The rate of pay or method of calculation of pay and hours of work
- Sick pay and pension (if any)
- Periods of notice to be given
The contract of employment also includes the following elements, regardless of whether the employer and employee have specified them or not:
- The duty of every employer to provide a safe workplace and the duty of every employee to carry out the job to the best of his/her ability;
- Terms that must be part of the contract as a result of laws passed by the Government and or EU laws;
- Terms mentioned in the Irish Constitution, for example, the right to join a trade union;
- Collective agreements and Joint Labour Committee Regulations
In addition, custom and practice in a particular workplace may form part of a contract. An example would be a particular level of overtime pay for employees.
Disciplinary and grievance procedures
The employer is obliged under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007 to give the employee written notice of the procedures to be followed for any grievances they may have and before an employee is dismissed. This must be done within 28 days of entering the contract of employment.
The contract can include a probationary/training period but this must be in writing and the duration of the probationary/training period must be for one year or less.
An employee cannot take an action against their employer for unfair dismissal during this period unless the dismissal results from trade union membership or pregnancy related matters.
Changes to your contract of employment
Changes to your contract of employment can occur due to a change in the law, but otherwise, changes must be consented to between the employer and the employee.
The requirement for both the employer’s and the employee’s consent to changes in the terms of the contract is part of contract law and is implied in all contracts of Employment.
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute specific legal advice, which should be obtained at all times. For more information, contact Eamon Concannon of Concannon Solicitors on 091-744567 (after office hours on 086-3297221) or e-mail email@example.com with any queries.