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Ask Buachaill Your Own Question
Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 13232
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I wanted to ask for some advice regarding my current issue

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Hi, I wanted to ask for some advice regarding my current issue with my employer.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Well basically I put on lay off in April and was given a contract to sign from my employer which I did sign. It says “the statement of terms & conditions of employment” listing out things I agree too regarding accepting that I am on lay off and I’ll be paid through the government receiving 70% of my wages etc. In this it states that If I find work elsewhere to let my employer know immediately and I will be taken off payroll immediately. I handed in my notice on Friday the 5th of June and thanked them for everything etc and they have said that he do not expect this from me and they are relying on my to come back that I’ll have to give 4 weeks notice and come into work on Monday when they plan to start opening procedures
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I was an administrator for a clothing store
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I signed a contract to accept that I was laid off and they hope to return us to employment where possible but now they are saying that I need to work for 4 weeks

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1. The bot***** *****ne is that if your employment contract provides for the giving of four weeks notice, then you either have to serve this notice period or pay your employer compensation in lieu of notice. Essentially, your employment contract was only suspended whilst you were on the Government 70% of wages scheme. It was not ended. So, for you to end your employment contract, you need to give the period of notice stated in your employment contract, and if this is four weeks notice, then you need to wait the four weeks until 3rd July before you can leave your employment. Essentially, you cannot hand in your notice on 5th June and simply leave, unless you are agreeable to pay compensation to your employer to buy out your notice period. So, you should attend work on Monday and work the four weeks notice. Essentially, you have to work the contractual period of notice stated in your employment contract to validly end it.

2. Thank you for using the website. If you require clarification, I will be happy to help. Please use the buttons at the top of the page to rate or accept the answer as otherwise the Expert remains unpaid by the website despite answering your question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thank you for your response.
I have 23 days of annual leave to take can that be used to serve out my notice?

3. Yes, your annual leave can be used to serve out your notice. 20 days annual leave amounts to four weeks notice. So, this would be fine. But you should formally write to your employer and state you are taking your annual leave for the next four weeks and wish to be paid accordingly.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They have mentioned that because of the current global situation they will have to renegotiate holidays. Can they refuse to allow me to use my annual leave for the notice?

4. No power has been given to employers to refuse annual leave. So, unless there is some power given in your employment contract which allows your employer to decide when you can take annual leave, you can take it when you want. So, look at the clause in your employment contract which deals with holidays to see what is permitted. The answer to your question depends upon the terms of the clause in the employment contract which deals with annual leave - is it at the discretion of the employer or is the employee free to decide when to take annual leave?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The holiday year runs from January to December calculated pro rata and yes I can see in my original contract that all holiday arrangements are subject to approval from the manager and will be taken at the discretion of the manager
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I just don’t see how if I am laid off from my employment and I sign a new contract to accept that I am laid off and they state that they hope to bring us back to work and that if we find work elsewhere that we must inform them and we will be taken off payroll immediately. How is it that they could enforce a notice period from my original contract when I am currently laid off?

5. All employment contracts were merely suspended whilst the covid-19 situation was in effect. The employment contracts were not ended. So, you were still subject to your employment contract's terms even though the Government was paying you. So, you could at any stage have ended your employment contract, but you had to do so, in accordance with its terms. Similarly, your employer could only end the employment contract in accordance with the employment contract terms. For both of you, one of the terms was to give notice to end the employment contract. So, unless you validly end the employment contract you are still subject to its terms, including the notice requirement. Essentially, you remained on the payroll and until you validly ended the employment contract you still had to be paid, whether this was from the Government or from your employer.

Buachaill and other Republic of Ireland Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay thank you very much for your help, I appreciate it.

6. You are welcome. I know this might not be the answer you wanted to hear, but this is where the law stands on it all.

7. Thank you for accepting the answer.