Irish employment law is protective and prescriptive in nature. There is a significant amount of legislation governing the employment relationship in Ireland. Irish employment law is based on an assumption that an employer and employee enter into a contractual relationship freely and voluntarily, on equal terms, and that this is set out in the terms and conditions of employment. Traditionally, the regulation of the employment relationship has taken place almost exclusively at this individual contractual level. Irish employment law is therefore an extension of the law of contract, since much of its substance derives from and relates to contract law.
There is a statutory requirement under Irish law that certain terms and conditions of employment are documented in writing. This requirement must be fulfilled within two months of the commencement of employment.
Some of the more prominent legislative protections in Irish employment law for employees include:
That most employees may not work in excess of an average of 48 hours maximum per week (calculated on a four month period). Irish employment law also provides for minimum rest breaks. An entitlement to the national minimum hourly rate of pay which is currently €8.65 for persons over 18. An employee has a statutory entitlement to be paid annual leave. A full time employee is entitled to a minimum of four working weeks annual leave. Furthermore an employee is entitled to leave in respect of the nine annual public holidays in Ireland. A pregnant employee has a statutory entitlement to maternity leave. Ordinary maternity leave is for a period of 26 weeks. An employee has the option to avail of additional maternity leave for a further period of 16 weeks. An adopting employee has an entitlement to ordinary adoptive leave of 24 weeks and additional adoptive leave of 16 weeks. An employer is not obliged to pay an employee while on maternity or adoptive leave. Under Irish employment law, an employee can avail of parental leave (14 weeks per child) and carer's leave (13 to 104 weeks), provided they satisfy certain statutory criteria. There is no obligation to pay employees while on parental or carer's leave. There is no obligation on employers in Irish employment law to pay employees while they are on sick leave. Irish employment law provides that part-time and fixed-term employees cannot be treated less favourably than a comparable full-time employee. Irish employment law...