New job? Here’s what you need to know about your Contract


This article first appeared in the Wicklow and Bray People on 5 February 2020. 

When you start a new position, it’s important at the outset to understand the details of your new role. A  clear contract is key to a successful working relationship between you and your employer.

When you receive your contract, you should take the time to read it carefully, and be aware of what it is legally required to contain. In this article, we cover some of the fundamental elements when it comes to the terms of your employment.

Within five days:

By law, you must receive a written statement of five core terms within five days of starting your new role. These are:

  1. The full names of the employer and employee
  2. The address of the employer
  3. The expected duration of the contract (if the contract is temporary or fixed term)
  4. The method of calculating or rate of pay
  5. The expected normal length of your working day and week

Employers can face legal consequences if they don’t provide you with this.

Within two months:

Your employer is legally required to then provide you with a written statement of the remaining terms and conditions of employment within two months of your start date.

This must include reference to:

  1. Where you will be working
  2. Your job title or the nature of the work – You should know the department or team you’re working in and what the reporting structure is. You should also be clear on what exactly is required of you and whether it is a temporary, contract or permanent position. What the working hours are and the options regarding time flexibility should also be included.
  3. The date your employment started
  4. How often you will be paid e.g. weekly, monthly, etc.
  5. Any terms or conditions relating to your hours of work (including overtime)
  6. Details around paid leave – This will include details of annual leave and public holiday entitlement. Your employer may have a policy on how long in advance people are required to request leave and periods where it won’t be granted e.g. during the roll-out of a new project.
  7. Details around sick pay – This will include terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury.
  8. Any terms or conditions relating to pensions and pension scheme
  9. Period of notice to be given by employer or employee – This will outline the method and length of notice to be given by either party in order to terminate the current relationship.
  10. Details of any collective agreements that may affect your terms of employment

Other things to be aware of:

Some employers may also include provisions that would prevent ex-employees from starting a competing business or joining a competitor.

There may also be stipulations around confidentiality agreements, social media policies, privacy, ownership of intellectual property and the use of company technology.

Your employer must sign and date the statement of terms, but there is no requirement for you, as the employee, to sign it. You should address any questions or concerns about your contract with your employer up front to save yourself difficulties down the road.

Covid-19 – key items to be aware of:

As we all know there have been significant changes that have altered the working environment since the on-set of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many businesses have had to radically change core features of their staff’s employment contracts, such as location (move to remote or hybrid working), pay cuts or reduction in working hours.

However, it’s important to be aware that companies need consent from their employees to make any changes to employment contracts – regardless of how big or small. Should they alter fundamental aspects of the employment contract without consent, they could face legal challenges.

Article by: Marie Hynes, Associate Solicitor at Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors. Augustus Cullen Law is based at 7 Wentworth Place, Wicklow. If you would like more information on this topic, call +353 404 67412 or email info@aclsolicitors.ie

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