24 Random Questions From My Website (December, 2017) About Employment Law In Ireland

questions and answers

When I look at the phrases which led to people visiting my website EmploymentRightsIreland.com I can see the questions they are trying to find answers for.

I have just taken a look at the search logs for December, 2017 and the usual questions have come up: questions about holiday entitlements, public holiday entitlements, and disciplinary procedures.

The same, or similar, questions come up each month so the questions in this article from December, 2017 data are representative of the types of questions employees and employers ask.

I have written extensive articles about this topics which you can find here:

  1. How to calculate your holiday entitlements, including public holidays
  2. Disciplinary procedures, including how to carry out a disciplinary procedure step by step

In this piece, however, I want to answer some other specific questions from the search logs.

Let’s go.

Q 1. difference between terms of employment and conditions of employment

 

  1. There is none. Terms and conditions of employment are essentially the same thing and the phrase, terms and conditions, is usually used to describe the provisions of the employment contract.

Q 2. do irish employers have to pay 20 annual leave days

 

  1. The legislation actually provides for a maximum of 4 working weeks, but yes, the employee is entitled to paid leave each year. The article linked to from number 1 above tells you exactly what the employee is entitled to by way of annual leave, regardless of whether he/she is full time or part time.

Q 3. what does a indefinite contract mean

 

  1. This question refers to a contract of indefinite duration (CID). You can learn more about Contracts of Indefinite duration here. If you have had a series of fixed term contracts you may be entitled to a contract of indefinite duration, which is, in effect, a permanent contract.

Q 4. what are principles of natural justice in ireland

 

    1. The principles can be encapsulated in 2 Latin phrases:
    2. Nemo iudex in causa sua (no man is a judge in his own cause) and
    3. Audi alterem partem (here the other side)

This can be summed up as holding that the person against whom an allegation has been made should have the chance to put their side of the story, and the decision maker should be unbiased and engage in a fair procedure before arriving at a decision.

You can watch a short video about the 2 fundamentals of natural justice in civil law in Ireland here.

Q 5. i havent signed any warning before can i get fired with verbal warning?

      1. It it immaterial whether you have signed for a disciplinary warning or not; let’s face it, if refusing to sign for a warning could prevent the employer from using the disciplinary procedure he would never be able to terminate an employee’s employment. Therefore, you will still have the warning on your record, whether you signed or accepted it or not.

Q 6. can you opt out of the working time directive in ireland

 

      1. No, the working time directive has led to working time regulations being part of the fabric of Irish employment law and there is no opt out.

Q 7. whats happens if i have been out of work sick for a year

 

      1. Ultimately the employer may seek to terminate the employment contract on the basis of the employee’s inability to perform the work for which he was employed. Before doing this it would be desirable for the employer to get an up to date medical report to ascertain the position and whether the employee will be able to return to work in the near future. If not, the employee may be terminated on the ground of incapacity.

Q 8. irish law on references for work

 

      1. I have written about references in the past. In summary, there is no obligation on the employer to give a reference for a departing, or departed, employee. In fact, some employers have a policy of not giving references. If the employer does give a reference, though, it should be accurate and not misleading.

Q 9. how many verbal and written warnings

 

      1. There is no hard and fast rules or regulations about how many warnings an employer should give an employee. On occasion, an employee can be summarily dismissed without any warnings if the conduct is so bad that it warrants instant dismissal. Most disciplinary procedures will provide for 3 or 4 warnings, but if you are an employee you need to read your workplace disciplinary procedure to be sure.

Q 10. can employer impose electronic time system

 

      1. Yes.

Q 11. smoke break entitlements ireland

 

      1. There is no legal entitlement to a smoke break. Your entitlements to rest breaks, for smokers and non smokers, are the same. Read about rest breaks in the workplace here.

Q 12. legal fees wrc

 

      1. If you bring a claim to the WRC (Workplace Relations Commission) both parties pay their own legal expenses/fees.

Q 13. as an employer can i decide when my employees take hoildays

 

      1. Yes.

Q 14. in irish law can you be contacted about work when your off sick

 

      1. Yes, but the employer needs to be careful about this. However, there is no legal impediment to the employer contacting an employee, and it is advisable to do so to see how the employee is and enquire about his/her welfare.

Q 15. in republic of ireland can you be made work overtime

 

      1. The situation regarding overtime should be set out in your contract but, generally, an employee being requested to overtime and refusing may be guilty of misconduct by virtue of refusing a reasonable request of the employer. There would need to be a bit of give and take on both sides, though, and the contract of employment should be reviewed carefully.

Q 16. can i get wages owed after 7 years in ireland

 

      1. No, you are out of time. The statute of limitations for contract litigation is 6 years.

Q 17. what s the next step if you are on final warning?

      1. Dismissal.

Q 18. do you have to recognise a trade union

 

      1. No. The employee has a right to be a member of a union but the employer does not have to recognise the union in the workplace and can negotiate directly with the employee.

Q 19. does the law permit an employer to charge an employee for misconduct which had occurred in the past fixed term of contract?

 

      1. No. If an employee is guilty of misconduct he should be subject to the disciplinary procedure in the workplace but charging an employee a financial penalty would be inappropriate and unsound.

Q 20. how many sick days are you entitled to in ireland

 

      1. It will depend on your contract of employment. If the contract does not allow any sick days there is no legal entitlement to be entitled to paid sick days.

Q 21. how much do i get on the sick in ireland

 

      1. It depends on whether your employer operates a sick pay scheme or not. Some do, but there is no legal obligation to pay an employee while he/she is out sick, unless it is in the contract. The employee may be entitled to illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection.

Q 22. am i entitled to a paid break

 

      1. No.

Q 23. does tupe apply to ireland

 

      1. Yes, it certainly does. You can learn more about TUPE here.

Q 24. what should be included in my employment contract

 

      1. Learn what should be contained in the contract of employment here.

Conclusion

This is only a sample – from one month, December, 2017- of the questions that people are asking on my website. The other big areas that cause people concern are unfair dismissal, bullying, disciplinary procedures, and holiday pay.

There is a lot more information about all aspects of employment law in Ireland on http://EmploymentRightsIreland.com

Why I Can’t Answer Your Questions or Give You Legal Advice for Free

questions-advice-service-terry-gorry

Every day of the week, I receive emails, telephone calls, or letters from people with problems, issues, or questions.

Most people understand that there will be a consultation fee for my advice/opinion.

However, some people think I should be answering these questions and offering my opinion for free.

However, I can’t.

I simply cannot answer these questions or give legal advice for free.

You might think, “miserable/greedy/mean/grasping/stingy lawyer-typical”.

And I understand that reaction.

But let me explain why I have to adopt this policy.

Time and Complexity

Most situations might appear simple but, in fact, are complex, and require time and research.

Let’s take, for example, an employment scenario. In order to advise properly I will need to

  1. Find out all the facts and circumstances of the issue
  2. Review the contract of employment
  3. Review any relevant correspondence between employer and employee
  4. Review any investigation/disciplinary/medial reports relevant to the situation.

Doing this takes time, and possibly research.

Answering all the questions I receive on a daily basis, and providing accurate, professional advice is time consuming, for the reasons outlined above. If I was to do this for free I simply would not have sufficient time in the day to advise and help my clients.

Quite frankly, I would not be able to earn a living, and pay my office expenses, and professional expenses, and pay my mortgage and look after my family.

In summary, to provide you with a good service, and do you and your issue justice, I need to devote time and expertise to it.

And for this, I am sure you agree, I am entitled to be paid, just like you in your job.

Professional Negligence

If I give you bad advice, and you suffer losses as a result of acting on that advice, I am leaving myself open to being sued for professional negligence.

Yes, even if I was not paid.

Why? Because I am a professional and it could be argued that anyone asking me for advice is entitled to rely on that advice.

Yes, even if you have not paid.

Let’s call a spade a spade: if I am leaving myself open to being sued for professional negligence I think it is prudent to charge a consultation fee and give the necessary time to produce the very best advice I can give.

And let’s face it: giving advice is what I do for a living-what I get paid for.

Alternative Sources of Information

My websites provide a large quantity of useful information. They provide the backbone to the growth of my solicitor’s practice.

And all the information is completely free.

That’s the way it will remain; I will never charge for the information freely available on my websites:

But to advise you on your particular situation, taking into account your specific circumstances, and to weigh up all the relevant facts and then advise, there is a small consultation fee.

I trust you now understand why.

You can learn more about this consultation service here.

If you don’t want to pay your local Citizen’s Advice may be able to help.

Here’s the link for information about arranging a consultation.