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Blog  »  February 2016
Feb 16

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Public Holidays

March this year will include two public holidays, St Patrick's Day and Easter Monday, so how do employers correctly account for public holidays for their employee's?

Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, all employees, regardless of their employment status, are entitled to some form of payment for a public holiday.

Full-time employees who qualify for public holiday benefit will be entitled to one of the following:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day's pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

Part-time employees can qualify for the full entitlement as listed above if they have worked 40 hours or more in the 5 weeks preceding the public holiday.

If a part-time employee does not normally work on the day the Public holiday falls, they can receive one-fifth of their normal weekly rate of pay as payment.

There are 9 Public Holidays in the Irish Calendar:
• New Year's Day (1st January)
• St. Patrick's Day (17th March)
• Easter Monday
• First Monday in May, June & August
• Last Monday in October
• Christmas Day (25th December)
• St. Stephen's Day (26th December)

A public holiday is sometimes called a bank holiday, but this is incorrect. Bank holidays are not provided for within the legislation as paid time off. For instance, Good Friday is not a public holiday and therefore there is no automatic or statutory entitlement to time off work on that day.

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Feb 16

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Notice Periods - Frequent Questions Answered

Termination of employment can be a difficult stage in any employment relationship, regardless of which party is making the decision to terminate. Notice periods can often be central to misunderstandings and disagreements. To help employers navigate these murky waters, we’ve put together answers to some frequent questions we receive:

How long should a Notice Period be?

The Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts 1973 to 2001, sets out minimum statutory notice periods, which are:

From the Employee to the Employer

  • Less than 13 weeks service: Nil
  • 13 weeks service or more: 1 week

From the Employer to the Employee

  • Less than 13 weeks service: Nil
  • 13 weeks to 2 years: one week
  • 2 years to 5 years: two weeks
  • 5 years to 10 years: four weeks
  • 10 years to 15 years: six weeks
  • 15+ years: 8 weeks

However, employers are free to set notice periods that are in excess of the statutory minimum, once they are agreed in the contract of employment.

Setting slightly longer notice periods can protect an employer and your business. For example, under legislation, if a long serving, key employee wishes to leave your employment they only need to give you one weeks’ notice. Could your company cope with that? Would one week be long enough to have a full and thorough handover? Would one week be long enough to find a suitable replacement for that person? Experience tells us that the answer to the above questions is more often than not, NO, one week would not be enough. Having an increased notice period gives employers the opportunity to plan for the employee’s departure. What a reasonable notice period is will depend on a number of factors including, length of service, job role, experience and custom and practice.

Does an Employee Have to Work their Notice Period?

In some situations an employer may not want the employee to work out their notice period. There are a number of options open to an employer in this scenario:

  • Pay In Lieu of Notice (PILON): it is advisable to include a PILON clause in the contract of employment as it will allow employers to pay the employee their entire notice pay in a lump sum and not have the employee return to work.
  • Garden Leave: where a garden leave clause has been included in the contract of employment, an employer can request that an individual stay away from work during their notice period, however they will remain on the company payroll and remain bound by their terms and conditions of employment for the duration of their notice period. Whilst on garden leave an employee may not work for a competitor. 
  • Serious misconduct: in cases of serious misconduct a contract may be terminated without notice due, however fair and correct disciplinary procedures must have been followed.

Does an employer have to pay an employee if they refuse to work their notice period?

If an employee fails to show up for work during their notice period the employer is not obliged to pay them.


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Posted in Contract of employment, Dismissals

Feb 16

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

A New Era for EROs

Following their statutory cessation by the High Court in July 2011, Employment Regulation Orders (ERO's) for certain industries are to be re-established. Starting firstly with the reinstatement of ERO's for the security and contract cleaning industries, bringing improved rates of pay for workers, with new basic hourly rates of €10.75 and €9.75 respectively. The new ERO's, which took effect from October 1st 2015, also set enhanced rates for overtime and other improved T&C's for employees in these sectors. Sounds simple enough, an increase to the hourly rate and the overtime. But what else is there that you as an employer need to know?

Let's look at the security industry ERO.

Overtime: the ERO on the security industry sets an overtime rate for all hours worked in excess of an average 48 hours per week at a rate of time and a half. The ERO also sets out conditions of employment covering issues such Annual Leave, Sick Pay, Training and Hours of Work. And it is here that there are some anomaly's, employers may not be aware of.

A Death in Service Benefit of one year's basic pay will be payable to any employee employed with the company more than 6 months and regardless of whether they were working at the time of death.
A Personal Attack Benefit will apply after 6 months service to all employees covered by the ERO, who are attacked during the course of duty, resulting in an injury. A minimum of 10 and a maximum of 26 weeks basic pay, minus Social Welfare payment could be payable to your employee(s) if they are injured on the job.

Sick Pay Benefit payable of €120 per week for no less than 3 weeks and no more than 5 for employees with 2 or more years service, on top of the Department of Social Protection payment they may be in receipt of.

There are just under 20,000 "security operative" workers covered by the new ERO.

Employers affected are now obliged to pay wage rates and provide conditions of employment not less favourable than those prescribed. Any breaches of the ERO may be referred to the Workplace Relations Commission for appropriate action. And given the restructuring of the WRC, this is an area to keep an eye on as other industry sectors could also get the same "shake-up"

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