Employment Law Core Elements – What’s the Law on Working Time

Working time in Irish employment law is defined as any time an employee is at his/her place of work or at his/her employer’s disposal and carrying out their role related duties

Time spent on ‘standby’ or ‘on-call’ is not considered working time. However an employee actually ‘called-out’ is considered at work

Employers must implement a system to accurately record and manage actual hours worked by all their employees. Such records must be kept and retained for inspection

Employees are entitled to a 15 minute break after working 4.5 hours without a break

Employees are entitled to total rest breaks of a minimum of 30 minutes per 8 hour working day

There is no entitlement on employers to pay rest break periods and such breaks are not considered working time

Employees are entitled to 11 hours consecutive rest in each 24 hour period

Employees are entitled to a period of 24 hours consecutive rest each week

The maximum allowed average working week is limited to 48 hours

Full particulars of rest breaks must be provided in writing to all employees and are usually detailed in employment contracts

It is not illegal for an employee to have more than one job. However in such circumstances the above limits and obligations apply to the totality of the dual employment circumstances

The relevant piece of legislation that details the above is ‘The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997’

Employment Law Core Elements – What’s the Law on Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE)

This legislation protects the individual rights of employees affected by a business transfer. It is a complex area within the employment law arena.

The Irish law is based on EU regulations. The protections afforded employees relate primarily to protection of employment conditions and individual employment contracts. Employees affected by a business transfer are given information & consultation rights and the preservation of employment is also significantly protected as a core tenet.

The regulations apply to all business transfers, either whole or partial. The scope covers all employees in any business that is either transferred to another business, acquired by another business or merged with another business.

Typically a transfer is deemed to have occurred where there is a change of employer.

With limited allowable exceptions, continuity of employment is also another right preserved in a transfer.

Employee dismissal by either the company being transferred or the company receiving the transfer is specifically prohibited on the sole grounds of the transfer taking place.

There is however a specific ground upon which employee dismissal can be actioned. This is provided for if the required dismissals relate to economic, technical or organisational reasons. Often this is vague and open to interpretation. In such scenarios the total new combined workforce must be considered when deciding on any required redundancies and there must be clear factual evidence to support such decisions.

Both the transferor company and the transferee company are obliged to consult with their respective employee populations prior to the transfer actually happening.

The relevant piece of legislation that details the above is ‘The Transfer of Undertakings Regulations, 2003’.