17 Apr, 2023

Top 5 Questions on Employer Obligations

Employment law is constantly changing, and it has been difficult for employers to keep up. Following a recent webinar with Teagasc, our team answer your top questions from the event.

1.     Do I need to give all my employees a contract of employment?

Employers are obliged to give their employees a statement containing the core terms of employment within 5 days of the start of employment. Employers must then give their employees a statement containing the remaining terms and conditions within 1 month. 

We recommend drafting a contract of employment containing all terms of conditions in one document before the employee commences employment. This ensures that an employer's legal obligations are met but also provides clarity around the employment relationship for both parties, which can reduce disputes at a later stage.


2.     Can my employee work over 48 hours a week during busy times?

Yes, the maximum number of hours that an adult employee can work in an average week is 48 hours. This does not mean that it can never exceed 48 hours, but it is the average that is important. Normally this is calculated over a 4-month period, but in the case of farming, it can be calculated over a 6-month period.


3.     Do I need to keep a record of all my employees' working hours?

Employers are required by law to keep records of daily hours worked. This should include start and finish times, breaks taken and time spent on annual leave. All employers must keep these records in a way that can be easily understood by an inspector from the Workplace Relations Commission.


4.     How does the new Sick Leave Act affect me?

Under the Sick Leave Act 2022, paid sick leave is now a statutory entitlement in Ireland. All employees, both full-time and part-time, have an entitlement to paid sick leave. Here’s how it works:

  • Employees are entitled to up to 3 days of paid sick leave per year. This can be taken consecutively or non-consecutively.

  • An employee becomes entitled to sick pay after 13 weeks of continuous services in the employment.

  • Employees need to provide a medical certificate to qualify.

  • The daily rate of payment under the Sick Leave Act is 70% of regular earnings, up to a maximum of €110 per day.

There are plans to increase the minimum number of sick leave days over the next four years.

5.     What risks are associated with non-compliance?

Workplace Relations Commission Inspectors visit places of employment and carry out investigations on behalf of the Commission in order to ensure compliance with employment legislation. If a breach of legislation is found, an Inspector may issue a Fixed Payment Notice to an employer. Other more serious breaches of employment law are classed as offences which may result in criminal prosecution. 

Additionally, an employee can also submit a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission if they feel that their employment rights are being breached. An employer should also take into consideration that poor workplace practices can increase employee turnover. This can also affect brand/reputation, which can discourage employees from applying for jobs in the future.


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Our HR & Payroll Services team are on-hand to ensure you meet your employer obligations. Find out more about our services and how they can benefit your business.