EU updates new Protection Directive
Directive 2019/1152 on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions seeks to offer protection to employees in more precarious employment positions. It has been implemented in Ireland by way of the European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022, which came into effect on 20 December.
There are a number of additional legal requirements, particularly when it comes to drafting contracts of employment.
Terms of contract
An employer must notify employees of the terms and conditions of employment within one month of the employment commencing, which was previously two months. Employers are also required to provide an employee with the core terms of employment within five days of commencing employment (‘the five-day statement’).
A number of terms now must be provided in the five-day statement, including the place of work, the role title, commencement date of contract and terms relating to hours of work.
The one-month statement must now additional include details of training provided, the identity of the main employer, work patterns and the number of guaranteed paid hours and minimum notice periods for shift-work.
Employers may not restrict an employee from undertaking other employment unless there are objective grounds for doing so, including, for example health and safety or confidentiality. Any restriction should be justified in the terms of employment.
The new rules also introduce a maximum probationary period. Prior to its introduction, an employer and employee were free to agree any duration of probationary period as a term of the contract of employment. However, now the maximum period of probation is 6 months. This can be extended if the employee is absent during the initial probationary period. It does not apply to public servants.
Employers should be aware that if an employee has recently completed at least 6 months of their probationary period then that probation will expire either on the date when it was due to expire or on 1 February 2023, whichever date is earlier.
Effectively, this means that if the original contract of employment included a probationary period of longer than 6 months and the originally agreed period has not yet expired, it will end as of 1 February.