Time to refresh contracts of employment and recruitment practices

Time to refresh contracts of employment and recruitment practices

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018

The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 (“the Act”) is due to come into effect on 1 March 2019. The Act will impose significant obligations on employers, with particular implications for sectors where flexible working is routinely used.

There is very little time before the Act comes into force, so employers should now prepare for these changes given the potentially serious sanctions that may be imposed on employers for non-compliance with the Act.

While the Act contains a number of key changes (listed below), the focus of this article is on the introduction of the requirement to provide a statement of core terms of employment to new employees and how that new requirement amends the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 – 2014 (“the 1994 Act”).

Key Changes of the Act

  • The requirement of employers to notify employees in writing of the five core terms of their employment within five days upon commencing employment;
  • A prohibition of zero hour contracts, with the exception of limited circumstances;
  • The introduction of ‘banded hour contracts’ to protect employees who consistently work more than their contracted hours;
  • Provision for payment to employees who report for duty and are subsequently sent home without work being provided;
  • Anti-penalisation measures for employees who invoke their rights in the Workplace Relations Commission (“the WRC”). Awards of up to 2 years remuneration under the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 may be made.

Core Terms of Employment
Section 7 of the Act requires employers to notify employees in writing of the five core terms of their employment within five days of commencing employment.

This alters the current position under the 1994 Act whereby an employer is required to provide an employee with a written statement of their employment within two months of commencing employment.
The table below shows how the Act has amended the 1994 Act and has elevated some of the terms of employment to core terms of employment:-

Contractual Terms The Act – Core Terms – 5 days The 1994 Act – two months
1. The full names of the employer and employee
2. The address of the employer or the registered office of the employer
3. The expected duration of a temporary contract of employment and the expiry date of a fixed term contract;
4. The rate or method of calculation of employees’ pay and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 2000;
5. The number of hours which the employer normally expects the employee to work per day and per week.
6. 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, x
7. The title of the job or nature of the work for which the employee is employed x
8. The date of commencement of the employee’s contract of employment x
9. 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 x
10. 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 x
11. The length of the intervals between the times at which remuneration is paid, whether a week, a month or any other interval x
12. Any terms or conditions relating to hours of work (including overtime) x
13. Any terms or conditions relating to paid leave (other than paid sick leave) x
14. Any terms or conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury and paid sick leave, and pensions and pension schemes x
15. The period of notice which the employee is required to give and entitled to receive x
16. A reference to any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment x

Failure to Comply with the Act

Should an employer fail to comply with the requirement of the Act to provide the core terms, an employee may be awarded up to four weeks’ remuneration if they lodge a claim to the WRC. The employee must have a minimum of one month’s service to take such action.

It is also a criminal offence not to provide the required information. If found guilty of such offence an employer may be liable to a fine of up to €5,000, up to twelve months imprisonment, or both.

Review of Contracts of Employment

In preparation for Act coming into force, employers should review their recruitment and hiring processes.

Instead of issuing an initial statement of the five core terms of employment and then a subsequent statement of employment containing the remainder of the terms, employers could put in place template contracts containing the requirements of the Act and the 1994 Act.

Those contracts should be provided to the newly recruited employees within five days of commencement of employment.

For further information on this topic, please contact Laura Graham at lgraham@reddycharlton.ie

Laura Graham
Author: Laura Graham