Contracts and entitlements when hiring

24 May 2010

Dr Thomas Cooney, director of the Institute of Minority Entrepreneurship at Dublin Institute of Technology and mentor, highlights what you need to know when hiring for the first time.

When employing a person, whether on a full-time or part-time basis, a written statement of terms and conditions of employment must be provided.

Whilst the full contract does not have to be in writing, certain terms and conditions of employment must be stated in writing within two months of the employee starting employment. The employer must also provide a written statement of pay (payslip) which should set out the gross pay and list all deductions made from it.

It is important to know that most experienced adult workers in Ireland are entitled to be paid a minimum wage of €8.65 per hour. There are however, some exceptions to the minimum wage, including those employed by close relatives, those aged under 18, and trainees or apprentices. There are also certain industries in Ireland where a higher minimum wage applies, including the construction industry.

A maximum working week average of 48 hours a week is allowed per person. The maximum 48 hour week is based on an average calculated over a four, six, or twelve-month period depending on the industry.

Employers must keep a record of how many hours an employee works. Workers have the right to a 15-minute break if working four and a half hours of work and a 30-minute break if working six hours of work.

Annual leave entitlements

Full-time workers have the right to four working weeks paid annual leave per year. Part-time workers have the right to a proportional amount of annual leave based on the amount of time that they work.

All employees, full-time, part-time, temporary or casual earn annual leave entitlements from the time they start work. Most employees are entitled to four weeks’ paid annual leave per leave year. You (the employer) determine the timing of the annual leave, taking into consideration work and personal requirements. Pay for the leave must be given in advance and calculated at the normal weekly rate.

Employers are also obliged to allow employees (who meet relevant qualifying criteria, if any) to avail of certain statutory protective leaves, such as maternity leave, health and safety leave, parental leave, adoptive leave, and carer’s leave.

There is specific legislation setting down the rules for each entitlement. Sick pay is not a statutory entitlement; this means that if an employee is off work sick, their employer is not legally bound to pay them for the time that they are off.

Much of the information used in the article was sourced from the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA). Further details can be found here.

Photo: Dr Thomas Cooney, director of the Institute of Minority Entrepreneurship at Dublin Institute of Technology

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