Prior to the 1st October 2015, if you did not provide an employee with a contract of employment, you could face a complaint and the employee could be compensated for up to four weeks salary. That was bad enough, particularly if you had a large number of employees without contracts who brought such complaints. From the 1st October 2015, it got even worse for Irish employers without contracts of employment. In simple terms, if you don’t have a contract of employment, you can now possibly face criminal prosecution in the criminal courts and the simple fact is, this is all so simple to avoid. You have 60 days from the commencement of employment within which to produce a contract, but I think it is best practice to have the contract signed ever before the employee begins work. This isn’t rocket science! It is also important to note that the contract of employment is the core document that determines the relationship between the employer and the employee. Because it is drafted by the employer, it will also give control to the employer over how the relationship is to work into the future. Many of our employer clients complain that employees have too many rights, indeed it is often stated that they have all the rights. While there is some merit to those statements, the contract can be used, from the outset, to redress the balance between the rights of both employer and employee. It makes no sense to me for an employer not to have a contract of employment, and any experienced employment lawyer can draw up a contract that fits with your industry, workplace and ethos.
If you want to talk to me about drawing up contracts of employment, and otherwise being minimally compliant with employment law, then do get in touch.