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Mar 17

Posted by
Laura Murphy

8 Employment Myths Busted

We've clarified the truth on some of the most common employment law myths.

Myth 1: No employment contract exists if there is nothing in writing or signed.

Fact: Even verbal agreements are binding. An employment contract exists from the moment a job offer is accepted. Legally, an employer should within two months of an employee starting work, issue a written statement of terms and conditions of employment. However, if this document has never been issued a binding employment contract still exists between the employer and employee. Where terms are agreed orally, the situation is ripe for disputes.

Myth 2: Holidays start to accrue once the probationary period is successfully completed.

Fact: Holidays start to accrue from the first day an employee is employed. The existence of a probationary period will not affect a new employee's length of service or statutory employment rights.

Myth 3: Employees can say when they take their holidays.

Fact: Employees requests for annual leave can be refused by an employer for business reasons. However, when considering leave requests employers should also bear in mind the employees family responsibilities and entitlement to rest periods. Based on business needs employers can specify certain periods where annual leave can or cannot be taken. Employers should consult with employees at least one month before any holidays are due to commence. Employers are advised to agree with employees how and when employees should give notice of annual leave, ideally through an annual leave policy.

Myth 4: Employees on long-term sick leave should be left alone.

Fact: Although employers should not put undue pressure on employees who are on long-term sick leave, they are entitled to find out more information about the illness with the aim of establishing when and how the employee could return to work. 

Myth 5: An employee’s continuous service resets after moving roles within a company.

Fact: Moving roles within the same company does not ‘reset’ an employee’s continuous service.

Myth 6: Employees have the right to have bank holidays off work, or to be paid overtime for working them.

Fact: Employees are not automatically entitled to a day off or extra pay on a bank holiday. Any such right will depend on the contract of employment. Employees are entitled to 5.6 weeks annual leave per year, whether or not bank holidays are included as part of this leave will be up to individual employers.

Myth 7: An employee who is dismissed for gross misconduct is not entitled to pay in lieu for holidays accrued.

Fact: Regardless of the reason for dismissal, if an employee is dismissed part way through a holiday year, they will be entitled to pay in lieu of untaken statutory holiday that has accrued up to the termination date. Regarding holidays over and above statutory entailment, payment for these should be made unless the contract of employment specifically states that these days will be forfeited in cases of dismissal for gross misconduct.

Myth 8: The 10 keeping-in-touch days for employees on maternity leave, adoption or additional paternity leave and 20 shared parental leave KIT days are pro rated for part-time employees.

Fact: The legislation does not make provision for the 10 keeping-in-touch days or 20 shared-parental-leave-in-touch days to be pro-rated for part-time employees. For example, an employee on maternity leave who normally works only a three-day week is still entitled to 10 keeping-in-touch days.

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