What are my rights as an employee?
An Employee’s rights are to be found in the Contract of Employment, the terms of employment or are implied by the Law. The most basic right is of course, payment for work done. You are entitled to Terms and Conditions of your employment, which should set out certain information (work times, overtime, sick pay, details of notice which has to be given). You are entitled to be paid the national minimum wage of €8.65 per hour. Certain types of work are entitled to minimum hourly wages over and above this level.
Hours worked and time off
As an employee, the maximum average working week is forty-eight hours per week. All employees are entitled to certain rest breaks and time off. All employees are entitled to eleven hours daily rest every day, one full day off per week, a fifteen minute break after four hours work and a thirty minute break after six hours. You are entitled to holidays, which is around four weeks paid leave for a full time worker over and above the usual Public Holidays. However, it is your Employer who can decide when you take your leave. Parents, be they natural or adoptive, are entitled to parental leave, unpaid, of up to fourteen weeks for children below the age of five. New mothers are entitled to Maternity Leave of up to eighteen weeks. Your employer is not obligated to pay your wages while on maternity leave, but the Department of Social Welfare will pay up to 70% of your earnings while on Maternity Leave. If there is an urgent family matter, an employee would be entitled to 'force majeure' leave.
All employees have the right to fair procedures in the case of disciplinary matters. An long standing employee cannot be simply 'let go' for no reason, and any associations of improper behaviour on the employees part must be fully investigated by the employer and the employee must have an opportunity to defend themselves. If you are being made redundant, you are entitled to statutory redundancy payment, which is based on your term of service.
As an employee, you are entitled to a safe and secure place of work. This covers the provision of proper equipment, procedures etc. and to ensure that you are not injured at work. It is a matter for your Employer to ensure that you are not subjected to bullying or intimidation by any person (including your employer and fellow employees) while at work. If you are subjected to ongoing bullying that causes health issues, you would be entitled to bring a claim for Personal Injuries. If such actions lead to you being left with no option but to leave your work, you would be entitled to bring a claim for Constructive Dismissal.
If you feel you are affected by any of the issues, or if you have any other query relating to your employment, please contact us immediately as certain time limits do apply.
What are my obligations as an employer?
As an employer, you are obliged to furnish a written document containing Terms and Conditions of employment to all employees. You are required to pay your Employee the agreed wage, less all statutory deductions (PAYE, USC etc.). You are entitled to organise the work place as you see fit, which includes the assignment of specific tasks to specific people, to allocate holiday time as you see fit and to discipline employees for breaches in the terms and conditions of work. It is important that for any disciplinary action you take, that there is full conformity to the terms and conditions given to employees.
You are obliged not to discriminate when hiring staff. This includes not asking certain questions on application forms, on interviews etc.
It is a constitutional right for an employee to join a Trade Union, and it is allowable for a Union to operate a 'closed shop'. New employees should be informed of this before commencing work.
You are obliged to provide a safe place of work for all employees, to include keeping them free of all workplace bullying. Specific regulations may apply to your business depending on the type of work carried out there.
You are obliged to give your employees the necessary notice period if they are to be laid off. They are entitled to redundancy if their job will cease to be.
Employers should be conscious that in many cases it is desirable to have legal advice on certain issues at the earliest stages, as proper advice given promptly can reduce costs and litigation from Employees. Please contact us to discuss any matters which may occur.