As an employer you have certain statutory obligations under employment legislation that you must adhere to. Under employment legislation you are responsible:
Step 1: Terms and Conditions
You are required to provide new employees with a ‘5-day statement’ within five days of commencing employment and details Terms and Conditions or a Contract of Employment within two months. This must be in writing and contain core details. If you fail to do this the employee can take a claim to the WRC who can award the employee compensation of up to four weeks’ pay.
Step 2: Minimum Wage
From the 1st of January 2022, the national minimum wage will increase to €10.50 per hour for anyone over 20 years of age. Those working under certain conditions, under the age of 18, 19 and 20, will receive a corresponding increase in their pay, as they are entitled to a percentage of the full minimum wage rate as follows:
|Age||Minimum Hourly rate of Pay €||% of National Minimum Wage|
A breach of providing minimum wage will result in the amount owed having to be paid to the employee(s) in addition to reasonable costs being awarded.
Step 3: Hours of Attendance
Under the legislation you must ensure that all employees receive their statutory daily and weekly breaks and rest periods, do not work excessive hours, and receive their minimum holiday entitlements. Therefore you must ensure employees:
- Do not work in excess of a maximum average of 48 hours each week (including overtime) over a reference period of four months.
- Receive 15 minutes rest break after 4.5 hours worked and 30 minutes after 6 hours (which may include the first break). A minimum of 30 minutes lunch must be taken.
- Get a daily rest period of 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period.
- Have an uninterrupted 24-hour weekly rest in each seven-day period, plus the 11 hours daily rest. In certain conditions a minimum 24-hour rest period may be applied, and a minimum of two day’s consecutive rest applied in a fourteen-day period.
- Work a maximum average of eight hours at night over a two-month period (unless in the case of an emergency when a maximum 12-hour shift applies)
- Work a maximum eight-hour night working in a 24-hour period where the work involves special hazards, heavy physical or mental strain.
An employee unable to take statutory rest periods at the time must receive equivalent compensatory rest period within a reasonable timeframe. You should take health and safety requirements into account and ensure rest is sufficient in the circumstances. When responding to non-provision of compensatory rest periods you cannot give employee monetary compensation or provide other material benefits. A company that does not provide these statutory breaks and rest periods may face a penalty of up to two years salary.
To demonstrate compliance, you must keep complete and accurate records of employee’s hours of attendance on a daily and weekly basis, together with confirmation that daily breaks have been taken. On that basis you must be able to demonstrate each employee’s schedule of work including:
- Time they arrived and leave work each day.
- Confirmation they received their daily breaks.
- Holidays taken to date, when and amount left.
- Absences due to sick leave etc.
Step 4: Leave
There is various legislation concerning statutory leave, including Maternity, Adoptive, Parental, Force Majeure and carers leave. Failure to comply with the legislation and give an employee the leave they are entitled to by law can lead to you having to pay compensation from 20 to 26 weeks’ pay, depending on the provisions of the legislation of the leave in question.
Step 5: Minimum Notice
Employees are entitled to minimum notice period, dependent on the length of time they are working for you, as set out below:
|Length of service with business||Minimum notice required|
|From 13 weeks to under 2 years||1 weeks’ notice|
|Between 2- 5 years||2 weeks’ notice|
|Between 5-10 years||4 weeks’ notice|
|Between 10-15 years||6 weeks’ notice|
|Over 15 years||8 weeks’ notice|
If you fail to give an employee the minimum statutory notice when terminating their contract (unless for gross misconduct under the disciplinary policy) they can lodge a claim against you and can be awarded compensation for any loss as a result of the breach.
Step 6: Unfair Dismissal
As an employer you cannot terminate an employee’s contract of employment once the probationary period has lapsed, without a reason. It is essential that you have procedures in place that clearly communicates to employees what the disciplinary procedure is, when this will be involved, process and consequences. Having a performance management system in place will assist in managing performance, recognise satisfactory performance and challenge under performance. Equally it is important to have procedures in place and to follow them with regard to redundancy.
Where you terminate employment for an invalid reason or your behaviour towards the employee leads to a constructive dismissal, the employee may take a claim of unfair dismissal. In such cases the employee may be awarded compensation up to four weeks salary where there is no monetary loss or up to two years’ salary where such a loss exists. In addition, you may be required to reinstate the employee.
Step 7: Discrimination
As an employer it is essential you provide equal access to employment, pay and promotion and do not act or make a decision that may discriminate against an employee or potential employee, either directly or indirectly under any of the nine grounds. Therefore, it is important that you have a policy in place for recruitment and follow the procedures when advertising, recruiting, and selecting staff.
Where you breach legislation the employee may take a claim. A claim concerning access to employment may lead to an award of €13,000. Other claims may lead to compensation of up to two years’ salary or €40,000, whichever is greater.
To prevent you indivertibly breaching the legislation and being issued with a fine, not to mention the stress that this provokes, why not contact us for advice and support. Contact [email protected] or on 01 5134740 for a free consultation.