Employment contracts

Guidance on employment contracts in the Republic of Ireland.

The Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994, provides that an employer must issue its employees with a written statement of terms and conditions relating to their employment within two months of commencing employment. It also provides that an employer must notify the employee of any changes in the particulars as given in the statement.

The Act applies to any person

  • working under a contract of employment or apprenticeship,
  • employed through an employment agency, or
  • in the service of the State (including members of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces, civil servants and employees of any local authority, health board, harbour authority or vocational education committee.

In the case of agency workers, the party who pays the wages is the employer for the purposes of this Act and is responsible for providing the written statement.

Written Statement of Terms

The written statement must include the following:

  • The full names of the employer and the employee
  • The address of the employer
  • The place of work or, where there is no main place of work, a statement indicating that an employee is required or permitted to work at various places
  • Job title or nature 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 rate of pay or method of calculating pay*
  • Whether pay is weekly, monthly or otherwise*
  • The rate of pay or method of calculating pay, and pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.*
  • Terms or conditions relating to hours of work, including overtime*
  • Terms or conditions relating to paid leave (other than paid sick leave)*
  • Any terms or conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury*
  • Any terms or conditions relating to pensions and pension schemes*
  • Periods of Notice or method for determining periods of notice*
  • A reference to any collective agreements which affect the terms of employment

In relation to items marked with an asterisk (*) above, the employer may, as an alternative to providing all the details in the statement, use the statement to refer the employee to certain other documents containing the particulars. For example, such reference could be to an Employment Regulation Order, Registered Employment Agreement, or collective agreement relating to the particular employment involved: however, the separate documentation referred to should be readily accessible to the employee for reference purposes.

Day 5 Statement of Terms

An employer must also notify each new employee, in writing, within five days of commencement of employment, of the following core terms of employment:

  1. the full names of the employer and the employee;
  2. the address of the employer;
  3. the expected duration of the contract, in the case of a temporary contract, or the end date if the contract is a fixed-term contract;
  4. the rate or method of calculation of the employee's pay;
  5. the number of hours the employer reasonably expects the employee to work per normal working day and per normal working week.

Existing employees may also make a written request to an employer for a "Day 5" statement. Upon receipt of a written request, an employer must issue a "Day 5" statement within 2 months of the date of the request.

Employment Outside the State

Where an employee is required to work outside of the State for a period of not less than one month, the employer is obliged to add the following particulars to the written statement:

  • the period of employment outside the State,
  • the currency in which the employee is to be paid in respect of that period,
  • any benefits in cash or kind payable to the employee in respect of the employment outside the State,
  • any terms and conditions governing the employee's repatriation.

These details, together with the written statement, must be provided to the employee prior to his/her departure from the State.

Notification of Changes in the Written Particulars

An employer is required to notify an employee of the nature and date of any change to the particulars contained in the written statement not later than one month after the change comes into effect. In the case of a change which results from an employee being required to work outside the State, the employer must notify the employee of such change prior to his/her departure from the State.

The requirement to notify the employee of any change in the particulars set out in the written statement does not apply if the change results from a change in legislation, administrative provisions or collective agreements to which the employer has referred the employee in the written statement.

Employee Protection against Penalisation

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 introduced new provisions to protect employees against penalisation for invoking their rights under the Terms of Employment and Information Act 1994.

The new provisions provide that an employer shall not penalise or threaten penalisation for

  1. (i) Invoking any right under the Act
  2. Opposing in good faith an action that is unlawful under this Act (e.g. refusing to conspire in falsifying contracts of employment)
  3. Giving evidence in any proceedings under this Act (e.g. being a witness for somebody else pursuing a case under the Act in the WRC or Labour Court)
  4. Giving notice of the intention of doing any of the above.

Penalisation is defined broadly in the new legislation to mean any detriment to the employee's terms and conditions of employment including:

  1. suspension, lay-off or dismissal or the threat of suspension, lay-off or dismissal,
  2. demotion or loss of opportunity for promotion,
  3. transfer of duties, change of location of place of work, reduction in wages or change in working hours,
  4. imposition or the administering of any discipline, reprimand or other penalty (including a financial penalty), and
  5. coercion or intimidation.

An employee who believes they have been penalised for invoking a right under the 1994 Act (as amended) may refer a complaint to the WRC.

Where a complaint is upheld, an employee may be awarded compensation not exceeding four weeks' remuneration.

Complaints to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)

Employees who either, do not receive statements of their core terms of employment within 5 days or who receive a statement that is deliberately false or misleading may refer a complaint to the WRC.

Where a complaint is upheld, an employee may be awarded compensation not exceeding four weeks' remuneration.

An employee must have at least one month's continuous service with that employer before they are entitled to refer a complaint to the WRC.