An employee is currently on a permanent contract in one department in the business. The employee has applied for a temporary role (maternity leave cover) in another part of the business. If we decide the employee is suitable for this temporary role, do we have to keep their permanent role open for them, or can we advise the employee that they must resign from their permanent role if they want to take up the temporary role. Assuming that we can do this, would the employee have continuous service if they forfeit their permanent role in favour of the temporary one?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A ROI on 6 June 2013
Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

It may be possible, depending on the nature of the business, to allow the permanent employee to be assigned to the temporary role thus his/her service will continue uninterrupted and he/she will continue to be employed by the same entity, albeit in a different role for a set period of time. In circumstances where such a temporary assignment is possible, the employer should put in place a temporary assignment agreement with the employee which should comprehensively set out the arrangement and clearly explain what happens when the temporary assignment has finished. This would be a matter of negotiation between the employer and the assigned employee, however, the employer has a duty to fully

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 02/09/2015

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Zelda Cunningham
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Zelda Cunningham. Contact telephone number is +353 1 618 0000 or email

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