New rules on probation periods and employment documentation in force

Moira Grassick - Chief Operating Officer

March 03 2023

First published: August 3rd, 2022
Last updated: March 3rd, 2023

New rules on probation periods and employment documentation in force

The EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions aims to ensure that employers provide clear and predictable working conditions to staff.

The Irish Government quietly passed new Regulations in December 2022 transposing the Directive into Irish law.

The European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 (the Regulations) make some fundamental changes to Irish employment law.

Here we look at the key employment law compliance issues arising out of these recent Regulations….

Probationary periods

The Regulations put a six-month time limit on probationary periods. Longer probation periods are permitted on an exceptional basis, provided it is in the employee’s interest to extend probation to longer than six months. The maximum length of a probation period extended for any exceptional reasons is twelve months.

Similarly, if you hire workers on fixed-term contracts, the length of any probationary period must be proportionate to the expected duration of the contract and the nature of the work.

Exclusivity of service

Another fundamental change under the Regulations involves exclusivity of service. You must not prohibit employees from taking up a second job with another employer so long as any such parallel employment doesn’t conflict with the employee’s work schedule with your business.

You may restrict an employee from taking up parallel employment if there are objective grounds for doing so. Examples of such objective grounds may be:

  • Health and safety,
  • Protection of business confidentiality,
  • Integrity of public service,
  • Avoidance of conflicts of interest.

If you have reasons for restricting employees from taking up parallel employment, you should include the restriction and the basis for it in the contract of employment or the written statement of main terms.

Employment documentation

The Regulations also introduce some fundamental changes to the level of information that needs to be included in the Day 5 Statement and the Written Statement of Main Terms. Further details of these changes are available in a related post here.

What do employers need to do now?

The first step for employers is to begin a review of your template contracts of employment and employee handbooks.

Has your business provided for a six-month probation period that can be extended to eleven months at the employer’s discretion? Although a common policy for Irish employers, you will now need to update your contracts of employment as this practice is no longer permitted.

Likewise, many Irish employers include an exclusive service clause in their employment contracts. If your business has relied on an exclusive service clause up to now, you will need to review your employment contract to ensure it complies with the Regulations.

And your obligations in relation to the Day 5 Statement and the Written Statement of Main terms have also changed so it’s very important to carry out a compliance review of all your employment documentation.

Peninsula can help you update your contracts of employment in Ireland

Reviewing and updating contracts of employment can be a time-consuming task.

Luckily for you, our expert HR consultants have years of experience doing just that and are available to take your call today.

For more on how Peninsula can help, call 1800 719 216.

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