Are you an employer?
Have you given your employees written statements in accordance with the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994?
You should, you know.
Are you an employee? Did you receive a written contract?
If you didn’t, you are entitled to one.
Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994
The Terms of Employment (Information) act, 1994 sets out the basic terms of employment which the employer must provide to the employee in a written form within 2 months of starting the employment.
Failure to do so will leave the employer open to a claim from the employee, pursuant to the Terms of Employment (Information) act, 1994. The maximum amount that can be awarded to the employee is 4 weeks’ remuneration.
The claim must be brought to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and is a straightforward win or loss situation-that is, it is clear whether there has been a breach of the legal obligation or not.
Other employment related cases may involve arguments about facts, and the interpretation of previous decisions of Courts or tribunals, or the law as set out in statute.
But in this type of case the written statement/contract of employment was either furnished to the employee within the prescribed timeframe or it was not.
For this reason, employers would be strongly advised to give their employees the necessary statements within the 2 month window.
What must be in the written statement?
Firstly, we can look at section 3 of the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994 which sets out the following matters:
An employer shall, not later than 2 months after the commencement of an employee’s employment with the employer, give or cause to be given to the employee a statement in writing containing the following particulars of the terms of the employee’s employment, that is to say
(a) the full names of the employer and the employee,
(b) the address of the employer in the State or, where appropriate, the address of the principal place of the relevant business of the employer in the State or the registered office (within the meaning of the Companies Act, 1963 ),
(c) the place of work or, where there is no fixed or main place of work, a statement specifying that the employee is required or permitted to work at various places,
(d) the title of the job or nature of the work for which the employee is employed,
(e) the date of commencement of the employee’s contract of employment,
(f) in the case of a temporary contract of employment, the expected duration thereof or, if the contract of employment is for a fixed term, the date on which the contract expires,
F5 [ ( fa ) a reference to any registered employment agreement or employment regulation order which applies to the employee and confirmation of where the employee may obtain a copy of such agreement or order, ]
F6 [ (g) the rate or method of calculation of the employee ’ s remuneration and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000,
( ga ) that the employee may, under section 23 of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000, request from the employer a written statement of the employee ’ s average hourly rate of pay for any pay reference period as provided in that section, ]
(g) the rate or method of calculation of the employee’s remuneration,
(h) the length of the intervals between the times at which remuneration is paid, whether a week, a month or any other interval,
(i) any terms or conditions relating to hours of work (including overtime),
(j) any terms or conditions relating to paid leave (other than paid sick leave),
(k) any terms or conditions relating to—
(i) incapacity for work due to sickness or injury and paid sick leave, and
(ii) pensions and pension schemes,
(l) the period of notice which the employee is required to give and entitled to receive (whether by or under statute or under the terms of the employee’s contract of employment) to determine the employee’s contract of employment or, where this cannot be indicated when the information is given, the method for determining such periods of notice,
(m) a reference to any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment including, where the employer is not a party to such agreements, particulars of the bodies or institutions by whom they were made.
You must also consider regulations introduced in S.I. No. 49/1998 – Terms of Employment (Additional Information) Order, 1998 which set out the information which must be provided about rest breaks.
- (1) In relation to an employee who enters into a contract of employment after the commencement of this Order, the employee’s employer shall, within two months after the employee’s commencement of employment with the employer, give or cause to be given to the employee a statement in writing containing particulars of the times and duration of the rest periods and breaks referred to in sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Act that are being allowed to the employee and of any other terms and conditions relating to those periods and breaks.
(2) In relation to an employee who has entered into a contract of employment before the commencement of this Order, the employee’s employer shall, if requested by the employee to do so, give or cause to be given to the employee, within 2 months of the request being made, a statement in writing containing particulars of the times and duration of the rest periods and breaks referred to in sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Act that are being allowed to the employee and of any other terms and conditions relating to those periods and breaks.
Exclusions, Changes, and Complaints
Section 2 of the Act provides some exclusions:
2.—(1) This Act shall not apply to—
(a) employment in which the employee is normally expected to work for the employer for less than 8 hours in a week, or
(b) employment in which the employee has been in the continuous service of the employer for less than 1 month.
Section 5 of the Terms of Employment (Information) act, 1994 obliges the employer to notify the employee of changes to a term or condition within 1 month.
Section 6 of the Act provides for employees who were in the employment before the commencement of the Act. They can request a statement in accordance with section 3 and must be given it within 2 months of the request.
Section 7 of the Terms of Employment (Information) act, 1994 sets out how complaints will be dealt with, and provides for compensation of up to 4 weeks’ remuneration.
Employers should give their employees a written statement or written contract of employment within 2 months of the commencement of the employment.
If they don’t they are leaving themselves wide open for a simple, “open goal” type claim by their employee(s).
Need a contract for your business?
I can supply you with
- a template contract which you will complete yourself for each employee. This would involve things like commencement date, job description/role, rate of pay, and any other specific details for the individual employee and/or
- individual contracts for each employee-we get all the necessary details from you for each employee and draft the contracts for you.
You will also need a staff handbook because you will need to provide certain basic procedures which will apply in the workplace.
For example, discipline, grievance, dignity at work policies/procedures. Also, your contract of employment will refer to these policies/procedures.
I can also supply you with a staff handbook (€100 plus vat).
Learn more about it here.