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Working in Ireland: Employment Contract

Irish Statutory Employment Rights
If you are working for an employer for a regular wage or salary, you automatically have a contract of employment. Even if it is not written down, employment legislation in Ireland recognises agreements between employer and employee.

Certain employee rights are recognised by the state which supersede any agreements between employer and employee. An example is Irish maternity leave. Even if maternity leave is not part of the agreement between employer and employee, or an agreement is made not to apply the particular law, the employee still has their statutory right to maternity leave.

Employment Contract Written Requirements
While the complete contract of employment does not have to be in writing, the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994, says that certain terms of the contract must put in writing. This requirement does not apply to employees who have been employed for less than one month.

The terms that must be included in any contract of employment include:
  • The full name of the employer and employee;
  • The address of the employer - a registered office if the employer is a company;
  • The place of work or, if it is the case, the fact that the employee is required to work in a variety of locations;
  • The job title or the nature of the employment;
  • The date the employment began;
  • The details of the contract if it is fixed;
  • The expected length of the contract if it is temporary;
  • Details of rest periods and breaks as required by law.
If the employee is asked to work abroad by the employer, he or she is entitled to receive certain terms in writing before departure, including the period of employment outside Ireland and the currency his or her wages will be paid in.

Probationary Period for Employees in Ireland
The contract can include a probationary period and can allow for this period to be extended. If an employee is on probation, he or she cannot rely on unfair dismissals legislation unless he or she has more than one year's service or is dismissed for trade union membership or activity, pregnancy-related matters or claiming maternity rights. Rights such as information on matters like terms of employment, holidays and pay slips apply to an employee even while he or she is on probation.

If your employer fails to give you written details of the terms of your contract, you can bring a complaint to a Rights Commissioner. You must make the complaint while you are in employment or within 6 months of leaving your employment.

Application forms are available from:

The Rights Commissioner Service
Tom Johnson House
Haddington Road
Dublin 4
Tel: (01) 660 9662