Employment Contracts

Employment Appeals Tribunal Attendances

Redundancy

Termination of Employment

Health and Safety

With legislation creating all types of rights for both employers and employees, it is important that both parties are clear on what is expected of them in order to avoid costly disputes. Compliance with employers' obligations is being increasingly scrutinised, so employers need experienced and up-to-date employment law practitioners to guide them.

At Julie Breen Solicitors in Ferns and Enniscorthy, we have extensive experience in dealing with all aspects of the relationship between employer and employee.

Employment Contracts

Employment Law - Employment Contract - Julie Breen Solicitor, Enniscorthy, Co. WexfordContracts of employment are the basis on which the relationship between employers and their employees are built. A contract of employment is a formal legal contract between a specific employer and a specific employee, which must be signed by both parties. Some aspects of the relationship are governed by statute law, but there are also written terms and conditions of employment which relate to an individual situation.

For employees, it is important to seek professional legal advice before signing an employment contract, because sometimes the wording and details can be unclear to the employee. Employment contracts that at first seem straightforward may, on closer inspection, require further negotiation, or cause the employee to rethink accepting the position altogether.

A contract of employment is also a vital legal tool for any employer, especially in times when jobs are scarce. The great advantage to an employer is that there are many items which can be included to protect the business.

Because contracts of employment and employee handbooks are important legal documents, it is advisable to seek the advice of a solicitor who can either draft these on your behalf or make sure that an existing handbook is up to date. At Julie Breen Solicitors in Ferns and Enniscorthy we can advise you on all aspects of drafting a contract of employment for employers, of reviewing terms and conditions of employment for an employee.

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Employment Appeals Tribunal Attendances

The Employment Appeals Tribunal is the forum for unfair dismissal claims, and was established to provide a fast, inexpensive and relatively informal way to resolve disputes between employers and employees.

Time Limit - Statute of Limitations: A Form T1A must be lodged within six months of the date of dismissal (extendable to twelve months where appropriate). This is a strict time limit. Once the Form T1A has been served on the employer, the employer has fourteen days within which to lodge their Form T2. Once the necessary forms have been lodged, a hearing date will be set by the Employment Appeals Tribunal. An adjournment is extremely difficult to obtain from the Employment Appeals Tribunal, even if both sides consent to it.

Following the Hearing:

The Employment Appeals Tribunal does not normally award costs against either party, but it does make a determination and may award reinstatement, reengagement or compensation up to two years remuneration. A decision will be issued within approximately six months and will be posted to parties and to their representatives. If either party decide that they wish to appeal the determination of the Employment Appeals Tribunal, then the appeal must be made to the Circuit Court within six weeks. An appeal of the Employment Appeals Tribunal determination can be made to the High Court on a point of law only

At Julie Breen Solicitors in Ferns and Enniscorthy, we have the experience you need in attending the Employment Appeals Tribunal in cases of unfair dismissal. For further information and advice regarding this area, please contact us.

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Redundancy

Redundancy means that a job has ceased to exist. The reasons for a job ceasing to exist may vary - it may be due to the financial position of the employer, lack of work, the business closing down or a reorganisation within the business, or possibly where the employer decides that different or additional skills / qualifications are required for the job. In order to qualify for a statutory redundancy payment, an employee must have at least 104 weeks of continuous service with the employer. Employees being made redundant have the right to time off during the notice period to find alternative work.

Employers who pay the statutory redundancy entitlement and give proper notice of redundancy (at least 2 weeks) are entitled to a rebate from the Social Insurance Fund. This employer rebate is reduced from 60% to 15% in relation to employees made redundant on or after 1 January 2012.

Any disputes over entitlement are referred to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Whether you are an employer who needs to make someone redundant or an employee who has been made redundant, if you have concerns about any legal aspects of the redundancy procedure then please contact us at Julie Breen Solicitors in Ferns and Enniscorthy.

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Termination of Employment

Termination of employment issues have become commonplace in Ireland today. It is important for any small business to seek legal advice about the procedures involved, and the rights of employees and employers, when it comes to terminating employment.

Termination of Employment - Julie Breen Solicitor, Enniscorthy, Co. WexfordAt Julie Breen Solicitors in Ferns and Enniscorthy we can guide you through this process, whether you are an employer or an employee.

The most commonly litigated aspect of employment law is cases involving the termination of the employment contract itself. Although most disputes in the workplace will be resolved without the need to terminate the employment contract, in some cases this may be the only reasonable avenue available.

Contracts of employment may be terminated in a number of ways including: agreement, dismissal, repudiation and frustration.

Agreement
Contracts of employment may be terminated with the consent of both parties. This may be the case in certain circumstances where the interests of both parties are served by the immediate termination of the contract of employment - for example if the employer is actively seeking to cut back on staff numbers, and the employee has been offered more lucrative terms with another employer.

Dismissal
A dismissal is legally defined as the termination of the contract of employment by the employer. In circumstances where an employee refuses to accept this termination, then he/she may decide to sue for damages for wrongful dismissal.

Repudiation
A repudiation of the employment contract occurs where either party fails to abide by the terms agreed.

In circumstances where an employee is the one alleged to have committed the breach, the contract is not deemed to be terminated - it is still at the discretion of the employer to retain the services of the employee. The reasoning behind this principle is to avoid rewarding employees who seek to prematurely end their contracts deliberately.

Frustration
The legal principle of frustration is defined where circumstances outside of the control of either party mean that the contract comes to an end, and any further contractual obligations are set aside. Examples of this would include such things as the destruction of the workplace, illness on the part of the employee, employee’s imprisonment or liquidation of the business.

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Health and Safety

All employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees, contractors and visitors from accidents and injuries. This obligation is expressed in Section 12 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, so that confusion as to who is / is not an employee need not deprive an injured person from getting proper compensation when injured in a workplace.

The employer's duty includes ensuring the following:

that employees are provided with the necessary machinery and tools to complete the job, and that those tools and machines are to be maintained in a safe condition.

that the workplace must be kept in a safe, tidy condition with floors, doors and gates clean and clear and free from hazards.

that the employer is vicariously responsible for the negligence of his/her employees, meaning that a worker injured by the negligence of a fellow worker is entitled to compensation from the employer.

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