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Prevention is Always Better Than Cure: The Importance of Getting your Paperwork Right!

The idea that prevention is necessarily better than cure long ago made its way from adage into the heart of employee and industrial relations policy. However, the legal environment in which Irish employers now operate has changed significantly and has become increasingly more challenging and complex.

Too often Irish employers find themselves in costly litigation with employees which they can ill afford, but could avoid, with carefully worded employment contracts and the effective management of employee disputes.

Recently there has been changes to the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994 – 2001. Employers are now required to provide employees with a written statement of basic terms and conditions of employment within five days of starting employment with this new act named The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.

 The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 came into effect on 4 March 2019 and makes changes to the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994, the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, the National Minimum Wage Act 2000, the Unfair Dismissal Act 1997 and the Workplace Relations Act 2015.

 The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act requires an employer to provide the following terms to an employee in a written statement within five days from his/her start date:

  • full names of the employer and the employee
  • address of the employer
  • where the contract is temporary, the duration of the contract or if it is for a fixed term the date on which the contract expires
  • the rate or method of calculation of the employee’s remuneration and pay reference period
  • the number of hours per day and per week which the employer reasonably expects the employee to work.

Failure to comply and provide a statement of the above core terms and written terms of employment to existing or new employees may result in an employee bringing forward a case for adjudication to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) under The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018. If the WRC finds in favour of the employee, he/she may be awarded up to four week’s pay.

Poorly written employment contracts and policies and procedures, combined with poorly managed employee disputes, can result in fines of up to 2 years gross remuneration – that is, if an employee subsequently makes a claim to the WRC for unfair or constructive dismissal.

At Insight HR, we believe prevention is better than a cure. If you focus too much attention on the costs associated with getting your paperwork right, and too little attention on protecting your business, you may well find yourself in a situation where you have no control over your labour costs.

Do not leave your business exposed to unnecessary compensation claims and costly legal fees.  Our experienced HR Consultants understand the legal complexities involved in developing robust employment contracts, and policies and procedures, as well as the requirements and expectations,  should an employer find themselves embroiled in a difficult employee dispute.

To find out more about employment contracts and staff handbooks, or to talk to one of our consultants in confidence about a staffing situation, call Mary Cullen or Liam Barton on 056 770 1060 or email


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