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Blog  »  Decemeber 2013
19
Dec 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Christmas Bonuses

Christmas is a time for giving! As such, many employers use it as opportunity to give back to their employees for their hard-work and contribution throughout the year. Done correctly, bonuses can be an excellent way of motivating and engaging staff.

However, over the last number of years companies have found it increasingly difficult to be able to afford bonuses. This year Eason bookstores has deferred paying Christmas Bonus to over 800 staff in an effort to reduce costs.

Companies, who have paid bonuses for many years and then stop, need to do so cautiously, as the bonus may have become an implied term of the contract of employment. As such, stopping bonus payments could be seen as a breach of contract. Easons itself is in deep negotiation with Siptu regarding their bonus payments.

One way to protect the company against this is to have a clear written statement on bonus payments in the contract of employment. The statement should clearly state that any bonus payments will be non-contractual, or at the very least, clarify that the Company reserves the right to amend the structure of the bonus scheme.

Employers should bear in mind that, monetary bonuses will be taxable, however employees can receive one non-monetary gift per year up to the value of €250 which will be exempt from PAYE/PRSI.

Possible options for utilising this benefit include:

  • Vouchers: these generally include:

OneForAll Gift Vouchers
Restaurant Vouchers
Supermarket Vouchers

  • A turkey or ham 
  • A case of steaks
  • A team lunch

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employment Contract, Wages

9
Dec 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Seasonal Workers: what you need to know

Christmas is nearly here! For many companies that means a spike in trade. To cover this period many employers take on additional temporary staff. However, employers need to be mindful that even if an individual is only employed for a few weeks employment legislation will apply.

The below tips will help you through:

  • Contracts of Employment: all seasonal workers must be provided with a contract of employment. The contract should clearly state that it is for a specific purpose or specific period and that once completed the contract will end. The contract should state that the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977-2007 will not apply where the reason for terminating the contract is the expiry of the specified purpose/period.
  • Less Favourable Treatment: under the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work Act) 2003, seasonal workers cannot be treated less favourably than their permanent counterparts. For example, their annual leave entitlement, eligibility to sick pay or additional benefits such as health insurance should be the same as fulltime counterparts. (There are some exceptions around pensions).
  • Continuity of Employment: if you recall the same temporary employees over a number of successive seasons, they may be able to claim continuous employment under an implied contract where the employee has an expectation of further work.

The key to hiring seasonal workers is to have a written contract of employment in place clearly defining the terms and conditions. If there is no contract in place their status may be unclear which can lead to disputes. Having contracts in place will reduce the risk of disputes arising and allow employers to focus on having a productive holiday season.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment