Basic information on working time and breaks
- The average working hours in 4 months must not exceed 48 hours (separate regulations apply, among others, to doctors and transport workers - drivers). In other words, the total hours of 18 working weeks divided by 18 cannot exceed 48 hours.
- 11 hours of break every day (namely 11 hours off every 24 hours).
- 24 hours off in each 7-day period (or two 24-hour breaks every two weeks).
- 15 minutes break after 4.5 hours of work and 30 minutes after 6 hours of work. Irish law does not provide for paid breaks (unless your contract of employment states otherwise). In addition, retail workers are entitled to one-hour break if their working day includes hours between 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Employees with so-called zero-hours contracts are individuals available to their employer, whose working hours have not been specified in the employment contract (terms and conditions).
The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 (OWTA) was amended to prohibit zero-hour contracts, except in the following circumstances:
- where the work is of a casual nature
- where the work is done in emergency circumstances
- short-term relief work to cover routine absences for the employer.
Employees on contracts with unspecified working hours are entitled to:
- compensation if they have worked less than 25% of their potential hours in the week
- request in writing from the employer, after completing a minimum of 12 months' work for the employer, to determine the working hours on the basis of the weekly average hours over this period. This will become the weekly, contractual, working time.
Claiming your rights
Employees have the right to submit a complaint under a number of employment acts regarding contracts of employment, remuneration, breaches of working time regulations, etc. The basic time limit for submitting a complaint to the WRC - Workplace Relations Commission is 6 months. It is not true that claims can wait until the end of employment contract (in such a case the complaint can cover the last 6 months of the employment). It is possible to extend the time limit for a complaint to 12 months - but certain conditions must be complied with. Ignorance of the law or the language barrier are not considered to be grounds for applying for an extension of the complaint time limit.
In cases of breaches of the Working Hours Act, the WRC (Adjudicator) has the right to grant compensation of up to the amount of the employee's two-year salary.
List of sample cases, where Krystian Boino represented our office clients before labour courts:
Shop Assistant-v- Shop decision nr ADJ-00014634
Agency employee redundancy
An Agency Worker An Agency Worker provider, WRC decision nr ADJ-00015084
Redundancy after lay-off period
Crèche Assistant Manager v A Crèche, decision nr ADJ-00013421
Proper introduction of layoff, redundancy claim
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS (IRELAND) LTD - AND - KRZYSZTOF STANEK; Labour Court case no.: RPD186
Working time complaint
Pracownik -v- G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS (IRE) LTD; Labour Court case nr: DWT1832
Industrial Relations Act complaint
Pracownik -v- Firma Ochroniarska; Labour Court case no.: LCR21859
CLELANDS SUPERMARKETS LTD -v- Employee Labour Court decision no. EDA1735
Discriminatory dismissal during sick leave
Maciej Czajka -v- Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland Ltd; decision no. DEC-E2017-084
Discrimination- dismissal of pregnant employee
Employee- v- WRIGHTS OF HOWTH SEAFOOD BARS LIMITED; Labour Court decision no: EDA1728
Redundancy- alleged transfer of undertakings (one of 49 cases)
Employee -v- Nine One One Retail Limited (In Liquidation), Employment Appeals Tribunal decision no.: RP328/2014
Pregnancy discrimination- reduction of working hours
A Female Worker -V- A Retail Multiple Adjudicator/Equality Officer decision no. DEC-E2016-064
Hourly rate- agency workers
Employees-v- NOEL RECRUITMENT CITI NORTH LIMITED; Labour Court decision no.: AWD1517
Pregnant employee dismissal
Employee-v- ROTTAPHARM LTD; Labour Court decision no: EDA159
Employee-v- Employer; Labour Court decyzja nr EDA1314