You automatically have a contract of employment if you work for a regular wage or salary and you must be given a written statement of terms of employment. The core terms must be given to you within 5 days of starting a job, while the remaining terms can be given to you within 2 months of starting. Core terms include the full names of the employer and employee, the employer’s address, the duration of the contract (if fixed term), the rate of calculating pay and the pay reference period, the length of your working day and week. The additional terms include the place of work, title of the job, date employment began, pay intervals, paid leave, sick pay, period of notice to be given by employer/employee and pension and pension schemes.

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Generally, employees work under open-ended contracts which continue until the employer or employee end it. However, you may also be obliged to work under fixed-term or specified-purpose contracts which end on a specified date or when a specified task is completed.

A contract of employment includes some/all terms that apply by law to every employment contract, terms passed by laws in the Dáil, terms that are in accordance with the Constitution, Joint Labour Committee regulations and EU laws.

An employer is required to sign and date the statement of terms but there is no requirement for an employee to sign. The employer must also keep a copy of it throughout the duration of your employment and up to a year after it finishes.

At the start of your employment, your employer must provide you with a copy of written grievance and disciplinary procedures which are drawn up by the Workplace Relations Commission. They must also give you a written notice of the procedures to be followed under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2015 before you are dismissed within 28 days of you beginning work.

A probationary period can be included in the contract and the Unfair Dismissals Acts will not apply if you are dismissed while on probation provided the contract of employment is in writing and the probation period is specified in the contract and is one year or less. The Acts will apply however, if you are dismissed because of trade union membership, pregnancy-related issues or entitlements under maternity protection such as parental leave or adoptive leave.

Your contract of employment may change due to changes in the law however, other changes must be agreed between your employer and yourself.

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If you feel like your contract of employment may be in breach of the laws in place,  we will guide you on your best options. Your convenience is important to us and we aim to minimise the amount of time you have to spend on the process. We offer video calls to save you from travelling to meet us and you can meet us at times convenient to you.

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Gary O’Sullivan

Solicitor, Head of Department

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