27 May, 2021

What are my obligations as an employer?

Our recent Farm Report found that 21% of those who employ staff on-farm, only 21% have formal employment contracts in place and only 23% record annual leave. Our Employer Services team highlight the key obligations you take on as an employer.

As an employer, you have certain obligations when it comes to your employees. These obligations are governed by employment legislation. If you employ people or are setting up a business that will employ people, you need to be familiar with your responsibilities and your employees' rights. Below we have listed some of the key responsibilities an employer has to ensure that their employee's rights are being complied with.

(1) Your employee must receive a written statement of 5 core terms of employment within the first 5 days of starting a job. These core terms are:

  • The full names of the employer and employee

  • The address of the employer

  • The expected duration of the contract (where the contract is temporary or fixed term)

  • The rate or method of calculating pay and the pay reference period for the purposes of the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 (a week, a fortnight, or a month)

  • What you reasonably expect the normal length of the employee’s working day and week to be, in a normal working day and in a normal working week.

(2) You must provide the employee with a statement of the remaining terms within 2 months of their starting work.

(3) Most workers are entitled to be paid a minimum wage of €10.20 per hour. However, there are some exceptions to this, such as apprentices, people aged under 20 and people employed by close relatives.

(4) You must give your employees payslips.

(5) You are responsible for ensuring that your employees are given adequate rest. The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets down the rules governing maximum working hours and daily and weekly rest breaks. You are responsible for keeping records.

(6) Employees are entitled to annual leave and public holidays; from the time they start work. Most employees are entitled to 4 weeks paid annual leave for each leave year. Part-time workers’ entitlement is generally calculated as 8% of the hours worked, up to a maximum of 4 working weeks for each leave year.

(7) You are responsible for deducting the correct amount of tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge from your employees’ wages and remitting these to Revenue using the PAYE system. You also pay employer’s PRSI contributions.

(8) You are responsible for ensuring your employees are of legal working age and follow legislation in terms of young persons and children.

(9) You must comply with your data protection obligations when collecting CVs and related information about individuals.

(10) Under data protection legislation, employees can find out what information an organisation holds about them by making a request to access personal data. You must have procedures in place to respond within 1 month to personal data access requests from employees.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 employers must, as far as is reasonably practicable, ensure employees’ safety, health, and welfare at work. To prevent workplace injuries and ill health you must:

  • Provide and maintain safe workplaces, machinery, and equipment.

  • Prevent risks from the use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise, and vibration.

  • Prevent any improper conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health, and welfare of employees at risk (‘horseplay’ and bullying at work come under this category)

  • Provide instruction and training to employees on health and safety.

  • Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees (at no cost to employees)

  • Appoint a competent person as the organisation’s safety officer.

Every employer must carry out a risk assessment for their workplace.

(11) You must give your employees a copy of your grievance and disciplinary procedures within 28 days of their starting their contract of employment.

(12) Provide employees with adequate training (and protective clothing/equipment if necessary)

(13) Ensure all employees are treated equally in the business and that bullying/ harassment does not exist. They must not discriminate when advertising, recruiting, or promoting staff.

Disclaimer: This list is not exhaustive, ifac shall have no liability for any loss or damage howsoever arising, be it by negligence or otherwise, as a result of use or reliance upon this information. Professional advice should always be sought.