Here is some employment law which every employer farmer should know.
Employment Contracts – Employment Law
An employer is obliged to provide an employee with a statement in writing no later than two months after the commencement of employment containing certain information such as place of work, the title of the job, the nature of work, the date of commencement of the Contract of Employment and terms and conditions in relation to hours of work and paid leave etc.
In the case of temporary contracts, the expected duration, or the date in which the Contract expires, in the case of a Fixed Term Contract, must also be included.
Any changes later must be confirmed in writing with the employee.
The Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997
Some of the points the above Act outlines are as follows:
* A maximum average net working time of 48 hours.
* A daily rest break of 11 consecutive hours.
* Rest breaks while at work.
* A weekly rest break of 24 consecutive hours.
* A maximum average of night working of 8 hours.
An employee is entitled to a 15-minute break per four hours worked, and a 30-minute break per six hours worked.
The 48-hour net maximum working week can be averaged.
There is an exemption in respect of work which is seasonal in its nature and this can be averaged over six months.
Full-time workers are entitled to four working weeks paid annual leave per year. Generally part-time workers are entitled to 8% of the hours worked in the leave year, subject to a maximum of four working weeks.
Unfair Dismissal Law – Employment law
The Unfair Dismissals Act, 1997 to 2001 is based on two fundamental principles.
n Substantial grounds must exist to justify the termination of employment.
n Fair procedures must be followed in effecting the termination. All employees who have one year’s continuous service with the employer and who have not reached normal retirement age for employment, are included under this Act.
This is an extremely contentious area, and one which employers should handle with extreme care. If fair procedures are not followed in terminating an employee’s employment, despite there being substantial grounds, a termination of employment can still be deemed to be unfair.
The dismissal is deemed not to be unfair if it is resulted wholly or mainly from the redundancy of an employee.
Strict adherence to the definition of the redundancy is required from employers, if an employee is held to be dismissed by reason of redundancy.
Dignity at Work / Bullying
Each employer must take measures to ensure that employees are not subject to verbal or physical bullying or harassment from their bosses, co-workers or customers.
Every employer should ensure that any complaint is dealt with seriously and in a manner that does not add to the issues experienced by the employee.
Each employer should take active steps to discharge their obligation and fulfil their duty of care in this matter.
It is important that an employer has a proper policy drawn up in relation to bullying in the workplace.
The Employment Equality Acts, 1998 and 2004 prohibit discrimination on many grounds.
The grounds are gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race/colour/nationality/ethic or national origins and membership of the traveller community.
The Act prohibits discrimination in employment and in particular, access to employment, conditions of employment, training or experience for or in relation to employment promotion or re-grading or classification of posts.
Minimum notice period for termination of employment applies to employees.
Minimum notice period which employers must give to employees on termination depends on whether a Contract of Employment exists. In the event that a Contract of Employment does not exist, the length of the period of notice depends on the length of service.
Should an employer fail to provide the statutory notice period, they would be obliged to pay that employee for that period.
Fixed Term Workers and Part-Time Workers
A fixed term worker is engaged to carry out a specific task with a defined start and end date. There are restrictions on the period of time the employer can continue an employee on fixed term contracts.
A part-time employee is any employee who works less than a full-time employee doing comparable work. In general terms, part-time employees are afforded the same protections as full-time employees.
Health & Safety Law
Every employee is entitled to be provided with a safe place of work, safe equipment and safe systems of work.