WE CAN HELP WITH ALL ASPECTS OF EMPLOYMENT ADVICE FOR INDIVIDUALS

It's important that as an employee in Ireland, you know you're rights because employers will more often than you think, take advantage of your good nature and helpful attitude. 

While the full contract does not technically have to be in writing, as an employer, you must give your employee certain terms and conditions of employment in writing within 2 months of starting employment. The most important of these being the official name of employer, employee details and job details including hours, job title, pay and notice requirements. 

WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD IT ALL

Don't be afraid and come talk to us. You won't tell us anything we've never heard before - if you do, we'll be very shocked! So if you think you are being mistreated by an employer in any of the below areas, please fill out the form and we will come back to you with the appropriate advice and possibly book you in for an appointment with a Solicitor. 

 

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To find out more, please fill out the above form and we will get back to you to discuss your options. 

 

Know your Rights!

 
 

Annual Leave

All employees once commencing work are entitled to Annual Leave - this include full-time, part-time, permanent, contract, agency, temporary or casual staff. Most employees are entitled to roughly 4 weeks of paid annual leave per year, however it is up to the discretion of the employer to offer more to employees. It is not uncommon in many Multinational and Blue Chip companies to be awarded more. For part-time workers, annual leave is usually calculated at 8% of the hours worked annually or a maximum of 4 weeks per year. Not included in this 4 weeks is the statutory protective leave which includes maternity leave, paternity leave, health and safety leave, parental leave, adoptive leave and carers leave.

Maternity Leave

To become pregnant during employment gives a woman entitlement to 26 weeks Maternity Cover. This leave is available to all female employees including casual workers, regardless of how long you have been with the business or how many hours you work. It is also possible to avail of a further 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave, amounting to a maximum of 40 weeks. 

At least 2 weeks must be taken before your baby's due date, and the remainder after it's birth. Your entitlement to be paid during this maternity leave depends on the terms and conditions of your contract. Employers are not obliged to pay female employees for maternity leave however you may qualify for maternity benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection depending on your PRSI Contributions. We like to stress that most businesses will have different terms and conditions outlined in their contract and we advice that you familiarise yourself with what is in your own contract. 

Paternity Leave

Since September 2016, all new fathers are entitled to take 2 weeks leave upon the birth or adoption of their child. You can start this 2 weeks anytime within 6 months of the child's birth. Your entitlement to payment for these 2 weeks depends on the terms of your contract of employment. Employers are not obliged to pay you for this time. However, like maternity leave you may be entitled to paid Paternity Benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection if you have sufficient PRSI contributions.

You should give your employer roughly 4 weeks notice of such leave, although most employers understand that it is not always possible to accurately predict expected dates of birth.  You may be required to provide a certificate from your spouse or partner's doctor confirming when your baby is due, or confirmation of the baby’s actual date of birth if you apply for leave after the birth has occurred or in the case of adoption, provide an adoption certificate. 


 
 
 

Parental Leave

In 2013, the EU increased the amount of parental leave available to each parent from 14 weeks to 18 weeks. This is available to parents with children who have long-term illness or disability up to 16 years old. The law change also includes that parents returning to work may request a change in hours to accommodate the needs of the child. Where an employee has one or more child for which they require parental leave, a maximum of 18 weeks may be taken within a 12 month period however, if the employers agrees, more can be taken. In the case of twins or triplets, parents can take more than 18 weeks. Both parents have an equal entitlement to parental leave unless it is the case that both parents work for the same employer. 

If it is the case that the parent becomes unwell while on parental leave, it is possible to suspend your parental leave for the duration of the illness provided you let the employer know in writing and provide evidence in the form of a sick cert.  You are not entitled to pay from your employer while you are on parental leave nor are you entitled to any social welfare payment.

Carer's Leave

The Carer's Leave Act 2001, allows an employee to take 13 weeks unpaid leave to act as a full-time carer for a family member or friend. The maximum number of weeks that can be taken in the form of carer's leave is 104 weeks. Although it is unpaid, the employee is protected to ensure that their job position will remain open to them for the duration of their leave. You may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if you have enough PRSI Benefits. If you do not qualify for this, you may qualify for Carer's Allowance, however this is means tested. 

In order to be entitled to carer's leave, you must have worked with your employer for 12 continuous months and person you plan to care for, must have been deemed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as someone that needs full-time care and attention. You should give your employer 6 weeks notice on your intention of taking carer's leave. You may work/attend education while you are on carer’s leave for up to 15 hours a week provided your income from employment or self-employment is less than a weekly income limit of €332.50.

 

 

HEALTH & SAFETY

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts 2005 and 2010 states that the employer has a duty to ensure the employees’ safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable. Among others, the employer is responsible to:

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  • Provide and maintain a safe workplace
  • Prevent risks from use of any article or substance and from exposure to physical agents, noise and vibration
  • Prevent any conduct or behaviour likely to put the safety, health and welfare at risk
  • Provide instruction and training to employees
  • Provide protective clothing and equipment to employees
  • Appoint a designated organisation Safety Officer

The employee also has duties to perform under this act: 

  • To take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves and of other people in the workplace
  • Not to engage in improper behaviour that will endanger themselves or others
  • Not to be under the influence of drink or drugs in the workplace
  • To undergo any reasonable medical or other assessment if requested to do so by the employer
  • To report any defects in the place of work or equipment which might be a danger to health and safety

DISMISSAL

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Unfair Dismissal Cases must be commenced within six months of your dismissal so if you have been dismissed, it is imperative that you move quickly. You must also have been employed by that particular employer for 52 continuous weeks. To apply to the Employment Appeals Tribunal for redress you simply complete the T1a form.

It is crucial in an Unfair Dismissal case that when completing this form you correctly identify the employer. Often employers operate under a trading name but have been constituted in the form of a limited company. It is this limited company which must be named on the form, as this is the legal entity that owes you a legal obligation.

  • Were you dismissed, sacked or fired without any fair procedure?
  • Was your employment ended for a minor breach of discipline which did not warrant such a sever sanction?
  • Have you been unfairly selected for redundancy while others who arrived to the company after you, or who are less skilled, are kept on?
  • Was someone internally making your life so difficult and stressful that you felt you had no other choice but to resign?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you have an unfair dismissal case, that we want to hear about! 

Compensation for Employment cases are awarded based on loss of earnings. We ask potential clients to keep this in mind when contacting us. We will never guarantee you any amount because it is up to this discretion of the adjudicator in the WRC. We also would like to make clear that the WRC does not award costs.


GRIEVANCE

If you do have a problem in work and you have made it clear that you are unhappy, and your employers has done nothing to rectify that situation, you can ask to initiate the company 'grievance procedure'. You should find a copy of this in your employee handbook, on your companies online HR portal, in your contract, or you could simply request a copy from your HR contact internally. If it arises that your employer does not have a grievance procedure, we advise that you then contact us right away. Without a grievance procedure, it leaves you without any clear direction as who to take your complaint to. 

If your employer does have a grievance procedure, as to initiate it and follow the steps to the end. If when exhausted nothing has changed, please contact us. Do not let your problem go! We have seen it to many times 


INJURY BENEFIT

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If you have an accident in work, ensure you report it to your employer right away. If driving is one of your job functions and you have a vehicle accident during working hour, also bring this to the attention of your employer. If you are injured and in need of medical assistance, go to your GP or to the hospital in an ambulance. Then you may check your contract to see what benefits or entitlements you may be eligible for while you are out of work and what you should expect from your employer. An employer must report any accidents that take place in the workplace to the Health and Safety Authority when an employee is out of work for 3 consecutive days or more. Your employer may have taken out employers’ liability insurance cover. This cover enables employers to meet the cost of compensation for their employee’s injuries or illness which occur while their employees are working.

In relation to pay, we recommend that you read your own employment contract to understand if you are entitled to pay for sick leave. By law, you are not entitled to be paid while on sick leave, however most employers offer paid sick leave up to a certain number of days. There are a number of social welfare benefits that you may be entitled to while out on sick leave, these include Occupational Injuries Benefit, Injury Benefit, Medical Care Scheme, Disablement Benefit and Occupational Injuries Benefit Scheme. 

Unfortunately, you cannot make a claim against your employer under the Health and Safety legislation but you can loadge a personal injury claim against them through Seán Ormonde & Co. Solicitors. 


SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND BULLYING

The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 states that the obligation to prevent harassment in the workplace lies with the employer. If you are harassed by reason of your:

  • Gender
  • Civil status
  • Family status, for example, as a parent of a child
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religious belief
  • Membership of the Traveller community

you may bring a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission and be entitled to compensation from your employer. The bullying or harassment does not have to come from an employer but could come from a fellow employee, manager or anyone within the organisation, nor does it have to necessarily have to take place it work but could also happen while on training day, a work related trip or at a work social event. Under the Acts, you may also hold your employer responsible if the harassment takes place outside your employment but you are treated differently as a result of the harassment.

We advise that you make it clear to either HR or your superior that you are unhappy with the conduct of that person and if nothing is done to rectify the situation, you come to Seán Ormonde & Co. right away. Your employer should have policies and grievance procedures in place to manage these types of complaints. A useful resource for employers is the Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work; this aims to give practical guidance to employers on how to prevent sexual harassment and harassment at work and how to put procedures in place to deal with it.

In some cases it can be difficult to prove that the conduct came as a result of one of the 9 grounds above. However, with the in-house experience we have, we can work closely with you and dissect every email, meeting and encounter you have had and how we can use it to back up your claim. The policy should set out what is unacceptable behaviour at work. An effective grievance or complaints procedure should be in place to deal with complaints about harassment. 


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SO.. IS IT TIME TO CONTACT US FOR ADVICE? 

If you think you have been a victim of any of the above issues at work, then it is definitely time to contact us. Employment cases, like yours, have been our bread and butter for years now. You can rest assured that you are dealing with the experts in this area!

Please fill in our contact form and we can advise you both on next steps and what to expect if you decide to move forward with a claim. We will follow up your enquiry with a call within 48 hours.