Following the recent High Court Case new proposals in relation to JLC/REA's have been made by the government:
24-Nov-10 at 18.17 | Resolve HR Admin
Following today's decision to reduce the Minimum Wage rate to €7.65. The Government has signalled that the ERO and REA rates should be reviewed. In particular the Catering,...

Basic Guide to Employment Law

While there is a lot of doom and gloom at the moment, there are still a lot of businesses and new start-ups taking on staff. Currently there are over 40 different pieces of legislation covering the employer/employee relationship. Many employers are not aware of their responsibilities under the various pieces of legislation. The recent introduction of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) has resulted in increased levels of workplace inspections and awards made against employers. NERA   As a result here at Resolve HR we have received a lot of requests from businesses regarding what they need to do when taking on staff to ensure they are legally compliant. The following is a brief guide for employers who may be expanding their business or taking on staff for the first time. 


Terms and Conditions Of Employment

All employees have a legal right to receive a written statement of terms and conditions of employment within two months of starting employment. This must include:


  • Full names of the employer and the employee
  • Employers address
  • Normal place of work, where there is no main place of work, a statement declaring that the employee is required to work at various places as the job demands
  • Job title or description of the work
  • Date of commencement of employment
  • If the contract is temporary, the expected duration of employment
  • If the contract is for a fixed term, the expiry date of the contract
  • Rate of pay
  • Pay period - weekly, monthly or otherwise
  • Normal hours of work including requirement to work overtime
  • Annual Leave and Public Holiday entitlement
  • Sickness or injury terms and conditions
  • Pensions and pension schemes e.g. PRSA details
  • Notice periods relating to termination of employment
  • Reference to any relevant collective agreements such as JLC


All employees should get a written statement of pay or 'payslip' weekly or monthly, and this should clearly set out the gross pay amount and list all the deductions made from it.


Minimum Hourly Wage

Experienced adult workers are entitled to be paid €8.65 per hour. There are a number of exceptions to this rule and these include those employed by close relatives, those aged Under 18 and trainees or apprentices. Some industries such as the Hotel, Construction, Catering and Grocery Retail sectors are bound by JLC agreements, which stipulate higher hourly rates of pay.


Hours of Work and Breaks

The maximum average working hours per week is 48, this is calculated over a four, six, or twelve-month period depending on the industry. Under the Organisation of Working Time Act employers must keep a record of how many hours their staff work. The Act also lays down the requirements for breaks at work. All employees have the right to a 15-minute break after working four and a half hours and a 30-minute break (inclusive of the 15minute break) after working six hours. Again these breaks have to be recorded by the employer.


Annual Leave and Public Holidays

All employees have entitlement to Annual Leave (holidays) and Public Holidays subject to conditions. Full-time employees have the right to four working weeks paid annual leave per year. Part-time workers have the right to a proportional amount of leave based on the amount of time worked. There are a number of methods of calculating leave for Part-Time workers but the simplest is to calculate holidays as 8% of all hours worked. There are nine public holidays each year:

  • New Year's Day                             
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Easter Monday                               
  • First Monday in May
  • First Monday in June                     
  • First Monday in August
  • Last Monday in October                
  • Christmas Day
  • St. Stephen's Day 


Both employees who work on the day and those that don't work are entitled to compensation for a public holiday. Part Time employees who work 40 hours in the five weeks before the Public Holiday are also entitled to compensation for the day.


Termination of Employment and Minimum Notice

Employment can be terminated in a variety of ways such as dismissal or Redundancy . However in all termination situations the procedures used must be fair and easily understood by the employee. Once a decision has been made to terminate employment then consideration must be given to the amount of notice due, this is covered under legislation and is as follows:


Length of Service

Minimum notice

Thirteen weeks to two years

  One Week

Two to five years

  Two Weeks

Five to ten years

  Four Weeks

Ten to fifteen years

  Six Weeks

More than fifteen years

  Eight Weeks


In certain circumstances employers can pay the employee in lieu of notice.


Policies and Procedures

It is considered necessary to have certain workplace policies and procedures, such as discipline and grievance, bullying and harassment, maternity leave. From an employers perspective these policies serve two purposes:


  • They inform staff of their rights and meet the employer's obligations.
  • In the event of any issue being referred to a third party such as a rights commissioner it establishes that the employer behaved in a fair and reasonable manner. (Provided they followed the procedures)



As we have highlighted elsewhere on the site the National Employment Rights Authority are now conducting more and more inspections and awarding employees back money as well as prosecuting employers. So its now more important then ever to have your house in order. If you are want to find out more please CONTACT US.


Please note that this is a general guide and not a legal interpretation of the legislation.