The payment of wages in the employment contract is governed by the Payment of Wages Act, 1991 and this piece of legislation stipulates that wages be paid by cheque, cash, draft, credit transfer and postal order.
Written Statement of Wages and Deductions
The employer is obliged to provide a written statement of wages and deductions at the time of payment. It is worth noting that in the case of schools in Ireland for the purposes of the Payment of Wages act, 1991 the Department of Education and Skills is deemed to the employer. This is so even though the Board of Management of a Primary school or manager of a secondary school will have negotiated the contract.
Permitted Deductions of Wages
There are only a few situations where deductions may be made from the emplyee’s wages and these situations include
- if the law requires it,
- if provision is made for the deduction in the contract of employment and
- where the employee has given written consent for the deduction.
Non Payment of Wages
The act also goes on to say that where an employee is shortchanged or not paid at all, then the shortage will be considered by the act to be a deduction which is unlawful.
Any employee who has a problem in this regard can make a complaint to the Rights Commissioner (within 6 months) and the Rights Commissioner can make an order directing the employer to make payment up to twice the net amount of wages that should have been made to the employee.
Any decision of the Rights Commissioner can be appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal and from there to the High Court, but only on a point of law in relation to the latter appeal. It is worth noting that a decision of a Rights Commissioner or a decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal has the same force as an order of the Circuit Court.
Any term in an employment contract which seeks to limit or exclude the operation of the Payment of Wages Act, 1991 is void and won’t be recognised.
Minimum Wage Rates
The minimum wage rate in Ireland since July, 2011 is €8.65 for an experienced adult employee. An experienced adult employee is a worker who has at least 2 years’ experience since turning 18 years of age.
However trainees, employees under 18 years of age, and employees entering employment for the first time after turning 18 can be paid slightly less.
Disputes can be referred to a Rights Commissioner by an employee after he/she has received a written statement of pay from his employer with the option of appealing the decision to the Labour Court.
Employers-How to Avoid Costly Employment Claims
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