Employment Law Core Elements – What’s the Law on Annual Leave

All employees are entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday leave per leave year

Employees qualify for paid annual leave and accrue same from day 1 of their employment. In other words there is no qualifying service level period

If you become ill while on holiday and are certified as being sick, you can take these days again as annual leave, as these days are not considered annual leave

You must receive at least one holiday period of 2 consecutive weeks, somewhere throughout the leave year

You must take your annual leave entitlement and both you and your employer are legally obliged to ensure you do so

It is the employer’s perrogative as to when annual leave may be taken

In Ireland, employee’s are also entitled to 9 public holidays in addition to their 4 weeks annual leave

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Gender Pay Gap Reporting will become law in Ireland over the coming months. It is now appropriate for companies affected by same to be upping their preparation and assessing its impact.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting Update

The current Irish gender pay gap Information Bill 2019 should become law either later this year or more likely early next year.

It is very likely to mirror much of the current UK similar legislation.

The affected Irish threshold for reporting purposes is likely to be Organisations with 50 employees or greater, introduced on a phased basis.

Fulltime and part-time employee groupings will be required to be reported on and separately.

Bonus payments and BIK payments will also be required to be reported on separately for male and female employees

Reporting is likely to require official reporting to the relevant authority together with communication to Company employee populations.

Enforcement is likely to be via the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)

Reporting is likely to be a once a year activity

Reporting formats/manner/etc. will be laid down in the legislation or its enabling regulations

Key Points to remember

The Irish workforce is essentially 50% male 50% FemaleIreland has a current Gender Pay Gap standing at 13.9% (based on 2014 data)

Gender Pay is not the same thing as Equal Pay

Good preplanning initiatives to consider now would include

Review of existing flexible working policing & arrangements

Development of An Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy if one does not already exist. If one does it may need to be updated and expanded

Conducting of an Equal Pay Audit

Conducting a current Pay Gap Report to get an insight into current status well in advance of reporting requirements.

Sean Kane

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’.

The Latest piece of Irish Employment Legislation


The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 was passed into Irish statute law in December 2018 and becomes the law of the land from March 2019. What’s it about and why should employers and employees familiarise themselves with its key provisions.

It is a short and simple piece of legislation, but does pack a punch and has some significant impact of certain sectors and types of employments in Ireland. Here are its top line provisions and key objectives. Overall hard to argue with any of it.


From next month onwards all new hires will have a right to receive written notification of 5 key terms of employment, within the first 5 days of employment. Employers are now obliged to provide same within this new shorter timeframe. These terms relate to clarity around who the employer is and in particular what the contracted work hours are, daily and weekly. This obligation is new and is in addition to the existing requirement to provide written notification of 15 key terms of employment within the first 2 months of employment, as is already law. Failure to comply allows the employee seek compensation via the WRC and opens the employer to fines and/or imprisonment.


These are now effectively banned with only a few minor exceptions. These exceptions deal with situations where emergency cover is required at short notice. Industry should now no longer use these type of contracts and where they exist seek to normalise them to meet the new compliance landscape. Minimum payments and guaranteed contracted hours baselines are now introduced as protection against the use of same.


This new piece of Irish employment legislation introduces the concept of banded hour contracts. It guarantees the employee on one of these banded hour contracts, payment for at least the minimum hours associated with the band, if actual hours worked do not reach this level. There is a range of bands with different hours associated within each band. Employees can now make a claim to be covered by one of these bands, if their average hours over the last 12 months fall into this bracket. They can make a claim from day 1 of this legislation becoming law, as they are allowed average over a 12 month period prior to the legislation commencement. Employers will need to review existing contracts and actual employee hours worked to assess if they need to adjust payments to reflect this new reality.


Employers who violate the requirements imposed via this new law, will be subject to fines of up to €5k and or imprisonment of up to 12 months. Pretty severe penalties, not to be taken lightly. These fines will be administered via the Circuit Courts.

Employees can claim 4 weeks compensation where an employer is found in breach via the WRC and importantly can also claim up to 2 years remuneration compensation, where an employer is found to have penalised any employee who takes such a claim.


This new bill, the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018, becomes a statute act from March 1st this year, less than one month from now. I would advise all employers to review their employment contracts and just as importantly ensure they have robust mechanisms, for easily and accurately recording actual hours worked across their employee population.

If you receive an employee claim under its provisions, are you comfortable you can defend it successfully?.