Does your employer have to inform you about your terms of employment?
YES – The European Union, by Directive, requires all Member States to bring in a law to do this, and so the Terms of Employment Information Act 1994-201 was brought in to oblige all employers to provide a written statement to their employees, setting out the particulars of their terms of employment.

(Note: this is not to be confused with the contract of employment itself).

 

Who is covered by the act?
You have to be an employee with at least one month’s service with your employer. This includes employees of the State, apprentices and also agency workers. If you are an agency worker, then it’s the party who actually pays you who is responsible for providing the written statement.

What are you entitled to?
If you entered a contract of employment (written or otherwise) after the 16th May 1994, then your employer must give you a written statement of your terms of employment, signed by them, within two months of commencing employment with them.

If you entered a contract of employment prior to that date, then they must give you the written statement within two months of you requesting it. Either way, they must also notify you of any changes in the particulars given in the statement, and do so within one month of any such changes coming into effect.

 

What must be in the statement?
The law requires the employer to detail the following particulars to you:-

  • Full name of the employer & employee
  • Address of the employer in the State, or, where appropriate, the principal place of business, or the address registered with the Companies Registration Office
  • Place of work, or where there is no main place of work, a statement indicating that you are required or permitted to work at various places.
  • Job title or nature of work
  • Date you commenced employment
  • If your contract is temporary, the expected duration of the employment
  • If your contract is for a fixed term the date on which the contract expires
  • The rate of remuneration or the method of calculating it
  • The pay reference period for calculating the hourly rate of pay for the National Minimum Wage
  • Whether remuneration is weekly, monthly or otherwise
  • Hours of work-including overtime
  • Terms or conditions of paid leave (other than sick pay)
  • Terms or conditions of any sickness or injury benefit or leave
  • Terms or conditions relating to pensions and pension schemes
  • Notice to be given on termination of employment or the method by which it will be determined
  • Reference to any Collective Agreement affecting the employment contract

Note: If you work outside the State, then your employer must include in the written statement details of the period of employment outside the state, the currency you will be paid in, any other benefits you will be entitled to and any terms relating to your repatriation home. You have to get these before you leave.

What can you do if you do not get what you are entitled to?

If your employer does not give you your written statement, or there is a problem with what they have included or excluded, you can make a complaint to a Rights Commissioner at any time during your employment, or within six months of leaving.

The Rights Commissioner can uphold your complaint or not. They can confirm the particulars in the statement, alter or add to it, order a statement to be drawn up by the employer and they have the power to order the employer to pay you up to four weeks remuneration as compensation.

If you (or your employer) are not satisfied with a Rights Commissioner’s recommendation, then you can appeal it to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) within six weeks of the Rights Commissioner communicating the recommendation. There are also enforcement procedures available.

 

Written by Michael Halpenny, Head of SIPTU Legal Rights Unit.
This article was published in the February 2011 issue of Liberty.