The Peninsula Employment Law Dictionary - 'N'

Peninsula Team

November 25 2011

We all know that employment law is a minefield. Sometimes it may feel like there is legislation for everything and often there are lots of ‘buzz-words’ specific to employment law being bounced around. You wouldn’t be on your own if you thought that employment law is like another language! In an effort to help employers wade through these buzz-words and parts of legislation, we at Peninsula have created our very own Employment Law Dictionary! It’s simple, concise and easy to understand. Each month we represent a letter of the alphabet and associate a few words in employment law with that letter. National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) - NERA was established in 2007 with the aim of securing compliance with employment rights legislation and to foster a culture of compliance in Ireland. NERA seeks to do this through the following means:
  • An information service
  • An employer inspection service
  • An enforcement power where employers are found not to be compliant with an aspect of employment law
    • Prosecuting employers who fail to fall into compliance
NERA is an Office of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and has its headquarters in Carlow, with regional offices in Cork, Dublin, Shannon and Sligo. National Minimum Wage (NMW) - Under the National Minimum Wage Act 2000, an experienced adult worker is entitled to earn at least €8.65 per hour. An experienced adult worker is a worker who is not:
  • under the age of 18;
  • in the first two years of employment over the age of 18; or
  • a trainee undergoing a course that satisfies certain statutory requirements
An employee who is under 18 years of age is entitled to an hourly rate of at least 70% of the NMW. Job entrants entering employment for the first time after reaching the age of 18, or, if in employment, on reaching that age must be paid at least 80% of the NMW in the first year and 90% of the NMW in the second year. Employers should be aware that different criteria and rates apply to those employees who are undergoing a course of study or training that meets specific statutory requirements, such as apprenticeships, and those employers governed by sectoral wage agreements such as Registered Employment Agreements (REAs). At the time of writing this definition, Employment Regulation Orders are unconstitutional but employers need to be wary of these agreements should they be introduced once more. Night Worker- A night worker is an individual who normally works at least three hours of their daily working roster and 50% of their total annual working hours between 12.00am (midnight) and 7.00am. For "special category" night workers, where a risk assessment indicates that the work involves special hazards or a heavy physical or mental strain, there is a limit of eight hours night work in any 24 hour period.  For all other night workers the limit is an average of 48 hours per week calculated over a two month period or a collectively agreed longer period that has been approved by the Labour Court. Young workers are not permitted to work between the hours of 10.00pm. on any one day and 6.00am on the following day. Notice Period- There are legal minimum periods of notice for both the employer and the employee to give when terminating a contract of employment.  These periods are:
  1. Notice to be given by the employer:
    • less than 13 weeks' continuous service - nil
    • 13 weeks' but less than 2 years' service - 1 week
    • 2 years' but less than 5 years' service - 2 weeks
    • 5 years' but less than 10 years' service - 4 weeks
    • 10 years' but less than 15 years' service - 6 weeks
    • 15 years' service or more - 8 weeks
  1. Notice to be given by the employee:
    • less than 13 weeks' continuous service - nil
    • 13 weeks' service or more - 1 week.
These are the minimum periods of notice required by law. An employer can if they wish include longer periods of notice in the contract of employment. It is important to note that an employee cannot be expected to work out a longer notice period than that an employer is prepared to give. A balance needs to be made between the value of the employee to the business and the impact his or her departure would have on the business against the potentially negative implications of having a disenfranchised employee forced to work a long notice period, when their heart is no longer in the job.

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