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Managing Performance

 Managing Performance – is it time for ‘Review’...??

It’s that time of year and many Managers are currently attempting to schedule ‘Performance Reviews’ for the past year, grappling with detailed Appraisal forms or online systems to be updated. So how important is the completion of those Appraisal Forms? Many would argue ‘Reviews’ are a waste of time and yes, many systems can be more cumbersome in implementation than the value they bring. Current and emerging trends show that there is much more value on focussing on the future and the standards and behaviours required from the role rather than concentrating on last years efforts. Scoring/Rating systems are (thankfully ) very much in the past and the best benefit to be gained from Appraisals is focussing on defining the required standard i.e. ‘What does “good” look like” and coaching the employee to that required standard.

Terms such as ‘One-to-One’s’ or ‘Coaching’ sessions demonstrate both a more mutual approach for greater accountability and a focus on improvement rather than placing too much emphasis on the past. The priority for the Manager is to have the ”conversation”(the paperwork is secondary) set out the standards, give recognition and focus on the future.

While managing performance takes time, consider what happens if you don’t!!

People Matters are experienced in developing effective Appraisal systems that enable employees to perform to their best. Call us and we will assist with updating your Performance Review processes.



Fixed Term Contracts


The term, fixed-term employee, covers employees whose contract ends on a specified date, or when a specific task is completed, or when a specific event occurs. A fixed-term contract can also involve a specified-purpose and so may not end on a specific date.

The Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Work) Act 2003 provides that fixed-term employees may not be treated less favorably than comparable permanent employees unless the employer can objectively justify the different treatment. Any justification offered cannot be connected with the fact that the employee is on a fixed-term contract.

Specific provisions of the Act include:

(i) informing the employee in writing as soon as practicable of the objective condition determining the contract.

(ii) stating the objective grounds justifying the renewal of the fixed term contract and the failure to offer a contract of indefinite duration, at the latest by the date of the renewal.

(iii) where a fixed term employee completes or has completed his or her third year of continuous employment then the fixed term contract may be renewed by the employer on only one occasion and any such renewal shall be for a fixed term of no longer than one year.

(iv) once the four-year threshold has expired then the fixed term contract is transmuted into a contract of indefinite duration by operation of law, unless there is an objective justification for not ordering the status of the contract in this way.

The burden of proof is on the employer with regard to objective grounds justifying the renewal of the fixed term contract. Case law has shown that vague generalisations, unsubstantiated claims and financial reasons alone will not suffice.

Fixed term workers are excluded from the protection of the Unfair Dismissals Acts by virtue of the fact that the contract has come to an end (either by expiry of the term or the arrival of the specific purpose event) provided a) The contract was in writing; b) The contract states that the Unfair Dismissals act will not apply to a dismissal which occurs only as a result of the end of the contract and c) The contract was signed by both employee and employer.

An employee can also successfully claim for unfair dismissal if he/she has been employed on more than one fixed term contract and the gap between contracts is less than three months and the last contract was granted in an attempt to avoid liability under the Unfair Dismissals legislation.




Code of Practice on Retirement

With the change in Statutory Retirement Age and the need to avoid age discrimination, employers have been looking for guidance for some time on how to best handle the process as employees approach Retirement Age. The new Code of Practice on Retirement Age published in December 2017 provides welcome guidelines as well emphasising the importance of valuing employees of all ages and embracing a culture that does not tolerate discrimination. Compulsory Retirement Age must be an express or implied term of the employment contract and must be ‘capable of objective justification…by existence of a legitimate aim‘.

The Code promotes the practice of a planned approach to retirement at least 6 months in advance and of carefully considering requests to work longer. When an employee is approaching retirement, the Code advises employers to notify an employee of the intention to retire him/her on the contractual retirement date within 6-12 months of that date thereby allowing sufficient time for planning and arranging advice on succession. In addition, the Code sets out the procedure to be used by both sides when dealing with a request to work beyond the normal retirement age. For example, it requires an employee to make a request in writing no less than three months from the intended retirement date to be followed up with a meeting between the employer and employee.




Paternity Leave

With effect from 1 September 2016, new parents (other than the mother of the child) are entitled to paternity leave from employment or self-employment following birth or adoption of a child. The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 provides for statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks. The provisions apply to births and adoptions on or after 1 September 2016. You can start paternity leave at any time within the first 6 months following the birth or adoption placement.

Payment during paternity leave

Your entitlement to pay and superannuation during paternity leave depends on the terms of your contract of employment. Employers are not obliged to pay employees who are on paternity leave. You may qualify for Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection if you have sufficient PRSI contributions. However an employee’s contract could provide for additional rights to payment by the employer during the leave period, so that, for example, the employee could receive full pay less the amount of Paternity Benefit payable.


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