What Should Be in a Contract of Employment?

Employment contracts

All employees are legally entitled to a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment within two months of commencement of employment.


What Is Required By Law


There are as many as 40 clauses which we recommend for inclusion in a contract of employment, ranging from clauses that are required as a minimum by law to those that are highly recommended to clarify the employment relationship and to protect the employer.


Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994


The Terms of Employment (Information) Act stipulate that an employer must provide a written statement of terms and conditions to employees covering the following:


  • Full name of employer
  • Full name of employee
  • The address of the employer
  • The place of work (if there is no permanent place of work, a statement specifying that the employee is required or permitted to work at various places)
  • Appointment/job role – The title or description of the job or the nature of the work for which the employee is employed (duties should always be described in an inclusive manner and include a general clause for example that the employee will, in addition, be expected to carry out any reasonable requests of the employer
  • The date of commencement of the contract
  • The rate of pay, the method of calculation and the frequency of payment (this clause should also include provisions on any permissible deductions in accordance with the Payment of Wages Act, 1991
  • The period of notice required from each party to terminate the contract
  • The terms and conditions applicable to sick pay, if any
  • The terms and conditions applicable to pension schemes, if any
  • The terms and conditions relating to paid leave if any
  • Reference should be made to any collective agreement affecting the terms of the contract, whether or not the employer is a party to the agreement, including information about the institutions or organisations which drew up any Collective Agreement which affects the terms of the contract to which the employer is not a party

An Employee Working Abroad is also entitled to details of the following:

  • The period of employment outside the State
  • The currency in which they will be paid
  • Any other benefits in kind or cash that will be provided
  • The terms and conditions applicable on the employee’s return home


Terms and Conditions of Employment That are Not Explicitly Required by Law but Which Are Highly Recommended


There are certain terms and conditions of employment that are not required by law but should be expressly included. For example:

  • English language
  • Flexibility with regard to Location of Work / Mobility Requirement / Changes in job role
  • Probationary Period and Probation Policy
  • Reporting Relationship
  • Hours of work / additional hours / overtime / shift liability / weekend liability / night work liability / public holiday liability / various provisions to cover rosters / zero hours / guaranteed hours / casual hours, etc.
  • Basic pay, shift premiums, overtime, additional hours, performance related bonuses, medical insurance, death in service, pension, PHI, other benefits
  • Deductions form pay
  • Absence Management, Sick Leave and Sick Pay, Medical examination
  • Holidays, public holidays, all other forms of leave
  • Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures
  • Confidentiality
  • Company Property
  • Phone and Mobile Phone Usage
  • Performance Review
  • Pay Review
  • Quiet-time, Lay-Offs or Short-Time
  • Health and Safety
  • Non – Smoking
  • Changes in Personal Details
  • Right to Inspect / Search
  • Drugs & Alcohol Policy / Right to Test for Intoxicants
  • Training and Courses
  • Retirement
  • Company Rules and Regulations
  • Equality
  • Bullying and Harassment / Respect and Dignity at Work
  • Restraint of Trade / Non Solicitation / Post-Termination Restrictions
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Internet, Email & Social Media Usage
  • Reimbursement of Travel & Expenses
  • Use of Company Vehicles
  • Use of own vehicles for work
  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Retirement
  • Notice and termination of contract provisions including garden leave
  • Approval to work in ROI
  • Changes in terms and conditions of employment / contract conditions
  • Governing law
  • Collective agreements
  • Data protection
  • Acceptance of terms
  • Suspension without pay
  • Other employment / double employment
  • Break and rest periods / exemption provision for employer for recording breaks
  • Organisation of Working Time Act
  • Return of company property
  • Performance review
  • Public/media or social media comments
  • Fixed-term / specific purpose provisions


 Next Steps


Too often employers find themselves in disputes (often times expensive ones) with employees which could have been avoided through a well-written, well thought-through, employment contract.