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A Contract of Employment is a legally binding agreement between an Employer and Employee which regulates the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. It defines the respective rights and obligations of both the Employer and the Employee. It incorporates all required legal standards but also commercial aspects to allow the Parties specify how they want their unique employment relationship to unfold.
The Terms of Employment and Information Act 1994 and 2001, requires that an Employee receive a statement of the core terms of employment within five days of starting work. If such a statement is not furnished by the Employer they are liable for considerable fines to be determined by the Workplace Relations Commission. The 'core terms' of employment are as follows: the full names of the Employer and Employee, the Employer's address, the intended duration of the contract, the rate of pay and pay reference period and working hours.
The Terms of Employment (Information) Act further requires that an Employee receives an elaborated statement (contract) specifying additional terms of employment within two months of their commencement date, including:
Failure to provide employees with this information can again yield considerable liability.
Other legislation operates in the sphere of employment contracts, making it necessary to include additional clauses in agreements with employees. These include, but are not limited to: right to paid leave, trade union membership, grievance and disciplinary procedures. This document observes all the legal requirements for a lawful Contract of Employment, ensuring no legally mandatory clause is omitted. It also includes to a range non-mandatory but commercially useful and important clauses to help clearly articulate the nature of the Employee's position within the organisation, their obligations to the Employer and those owed by the Employer to the Employer.
This Contract of Employment is designed in contemplation of workplace issues or disputes which may arises in the course of the employment relationship, recognising that it is expedient to define each Parties expectation at the outset, the Contract of Employment then becomes as a means of avoiding conflict and a mechanism for resolving it. The variety of clauses in this document and the user's ability to individuate them facilitates the smooth operation of the employment relationship.
The age of employees
Another vitally important consideration when drawing up a Contract of Employment is the age of the intended employee. In Ireland the minimum working age is 14 years old. But working at the age of 14 is subject to several restrictions. Employees under the age of 16 cannot be employed in regular, full time jobs. They can only engage in light work during school holidays or as part of educational, approved work experience for which they need written permission from a parent or guardian. Furthermore this work can only amount to a maximum 35 hours a week (or a maximum 40 hours if approved work experience). Minors aged 16 and 17 can work a maximum of 8 hours a day, up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Once employees turn the age of 18 they can work the same number of hours as normal employees. The requirements for hiring young workers is set out in The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996.
The age of employees also has a bearing on the amount of money the employer is legally required to pay them. Employees under the age of 18 are entitled to 70% of the national minimum wage, employees aged 18 are entitled to 80% thereof and employees aged 19 are entitled to 90% of the national minimum wage.
How to Use this Document
This document should be filled out by an employer (or a user acting on their behalf), sent to the employee for signature and then returned. Pursuant to the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977 employers must provide their employees with copies of their internal Grievance Procedures and Disciplinary Procedures. These policies should be drafted in line with the Workplace Relations Commission's Code of Practice and Disciplinary Procedures.
This Contract of Employment can be used for employees working in office, remotely or in a hybrid fashion. The 'Place of Work' section accommodates the different ways of managing the Employee's workplace. However, it is important that if the employee is permitted to work remotely at the time of the signing of this contract or subsequently, the specific terms and conditions of remote working are outlined and agreed by the Parties. Important clauses include: how to handle data security, health and safety, cyber security and absences from work. There is a separate document 'Remote Work Agreement' which deals precisely with the exigencies of remote working. It serves as a variation of a Contract of Employment or an addendum (more detailed elaboration thereof). If the Employee is working remotely that document should be used in tandem with the present Contract of Employment. It deals exclusively with the employee's rights and obligations when working remotely. All other terms in the Contract of Employment endure and remain valid. The Remote Work Agreement simply elaborates and specifies the peculiar requirements and obligations owing on both Parties when working outside of the office.
It is also advised that employers supply new employees with a copy of the Employee Handbook, a document which details all internal workplace policies, practices and procedures. The employee should be made aware of any additional benefits of employment, training and development schemes and pension schemes for which they are eligible to participate. This facilitates the employee's understanding of how the workplace operates and their integration into the new place of work. Importantly, the Employee Handbook should detail important legal obligations that must be observed by employees in the conduct of their duties, including data protection policies, privacy and cyber security policies.
This document is compliant with the law of Ireland, both statutory and common law. The specific legislations which are directly incorporated into this agreement are as follows: the Terms of Employment and Information Act, Employment (Miscellaneous) Act 2018, the Unfair Dismissals Act 1977, Protection of Fixed Term Workers Act , the Protection of Young Persons in Employment Act, National Minimum Wage Act, the Organisation of Working Time Act and the Sick Leave Act 2022.
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Other names for the document: Employment Contract, Contract of Employment between Employer and Employee, Contract for the Provision of Services by an Employee, Agreement to Establish Relationship of Employment, Contract to Establish Relationship of Employment