Equality and the new gender politics under the spotlight at Ibec Employment Law Conference
30/04/2019 - Sponsored by Mazars, ‘Equality and the New Gender Politics’, was the theme of Ibec’s 2019 Annual Employment Law Conference, held in Dublin’s Croke Park on Wednesday, 3 April. This year’s conference focused on equality in the Irish workplace – what it means, what is required for legal compliance and the consequences of failing to meet the necessary standard.
New EU law will further restrict flexibility in employment
29/04/2019 - A proposed new directive addressing “transparent and predictable working conditions” has been approved by the European Parliament. The proposed legislation aims to address the complex issue of determining predictability of work as well as the status of a “worker” for the purpose of EU law.
Paid parental leave to be introduced by November 2019
29/04/2019 - From November 2019 all new parents in employment or self-employment will be able to avail of 2 weeks paid parental leave to spend with their new babies during their first year. The new scheme will eventually result in parents benefiting from 7 weeks state paid parental leave as it develops over the next 3 years.
Balance for Better Business
26/04/2019 - Since its launch, the independent business-led review group "Balance for Better Business" has focussed on developing capacity to communicate the business case for better gender balance in corporate leadership and to establish robust data on the gender composition of publicly listed boards.
Ibec and 30 per cent club launch New Executive Search Code
26/04/2019 - Ibec and 30% Club Ireland launched a new Code on Executive and Board Resourcing this month. The Code is a code of conduct for search professionals to adhere to in the placement of diverse talent across senior roles in organisations, with the support of business decision makers.
Managing Long Terms Absence - your FAQs answered
26/04/2019 - On 9 April, Ciara McGuone, Employee Relations Executive, held a webinar on managing long term absence. The webinar generated a number queries fro temporarily backfilling the position of an employee on long term sick leave to conducting a welfare meetings to termining the employment of an employee on income protection. Read our follow up Q&As for more.
Probationary dismissal pitfalls
26/04/2019 - An employer must be extremely cautious when dealing with employees on probation. Although the most recent cases have seen lesser amounts than the harsher awards provided for in previous decisions, they still should deter employers from handling the dismissal of an employee during probation in an unfair manner.
Employment status related disputes before the WRC
25/04/2019 - The distinction between a ‘contract of service’ which is associated with an employee and a ‘contract for service’ which relates to self-employed independent contractors is vital for determining who is an employee for the purpose of employment rights legislation. The classification also affects the way in which tax and PRSI are payable, one's entitlement to a number of social welfare benefits, public liability and protection and entitlements under the employment legislation.
Hiring Summer Interns - legal restrictions and good practice
25/04/2019 - While internships are generally a positive and practical experience for the parties involved, unfortunately there can be legal difficulties with some unpaid internships type of arrangements.
Sick pay related disputes before the Labour Court
24/04/2019 - As there is no legal requirement for an employer to provide sick pay while an employee is on sick leave, it is down to the discretion of the employer to decide if it will be included in their employment terms of not. Where company sick pay exists, it is important that employers are clear on the rules surrounding qualification for same.
First aid guidelines now allow for administration of aspirin in suspected heart attack cases
22/04/2019 - Appendix 1 of the First Aid Responder (FAR) Clinical Practice Guidelines (updated in February 2018) states that aspirin is a useful agent in the treatment of various thromboembolic diseases such as acute myocardial infarction, E.g. Cardiac Arrest. It details how Aspirin is to be administered, the dosage required, when to administer (when there are indications of Cardiac Chest pains or Myocardinal Infarction), the contra-Indications etc. It is recommended that employers have a policy in place around the authorisation, administration and storage of Aspirin within your company. When developing a policy, it is advised to reference these guidelines and ensure to consult with your trained First Aid Responders.
Government publishes its Gender Pay Gap Information Bill on International Women's Day
28/03/2019 - Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, on 8 March announced that Cabinet had agreed the text of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2018. The Bill, as drafted, does not apply to employers with less than 50 employees.
DPC publishes Annual Report 25 May - 31 December 2018
27/03/2019 - On 28 February the Data Protection Commission (DPC) published its first post-GDPR annual report. Covering the period 25 May to 31 December, the Report includes data on the number of complaints, prosecutions and audits conducted together with case studies showing the DPC's compliance expectations.
Low Pay Commission cautions against new law to protect tips
27/03/2019 - In a report published on 28 February, the Commission said there is insufficient reliable data to prove the issue of employers withholding tips is a significant problem in Ireland warning that one of the unintended negative consequences such as a potential reduction in take-home pay of low paid employees.
Significant changes to the Injuries Board come into effect in April
27/03/2019 - The Personal Injuries Assessment Board (Amendment) Act 2019 will come into effect on 3 April. The Act will strengthen PIAB to ensure greater compliance with the PIAB process and it will be of particular benefit in addressing cases of non-cooperation such as non-attendance at medicals and refusal to provide details of special damages, as Claimants can be penalised in respect of costs.
City Centre bar had legitimate purpose for disclosing CCTV to Employer following an incident at work related social event
26/03/2019 - The Data Protection Commissioner recently published her Annual Report 25 May to 31 December 2018. The report contains some interesting case studies including one involving a complaint made to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) against a city centre bar, alleging that it had disclosed the complainant’s personal data contained on CCTV footage to his employer without his knowledge or consent.
Ibec responds to new proposals aimed at addressing false self-employment
26/03/2019 - Ibec is manifestly opposed to the practice of false self-employment. It provides a competitive advantage to those who would flout the law at the expense of the majority of compliant individuals and businesses who observe existing tax and employment rights legislation. However, based on evidence outlined in recent independent studies, the practice of false self-employment is not as wide spread a problem as has been suggested, and where it does arise, there is an existing legal framework to address it.
Number of days lost to industrial action in 2018 lowest since 2011 - CSO
26/03/2019 - Figures published by the CSO in recent weeks show that there were 4,050 days, across ten disputes, lost to industrial disputes in 2018 compared with more than 50,000 the year before. Disputes in the retail and airline sector accounted for most of they days lost last year.
Pay for public holidays - revisit the rules as Easter approaches
26/03/2019 - The rules governing the calculation of pay for public holidays are set out in S.I. 475 of 1997, Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay for Holidays) Regulations 1997. This year the Easter Monday public holiday falls on 22 April. Good Friday is not a public holiday
Procedural flaw not fatal in dismissal of Porter dismissed for 4 years of high absence
26/03/2019 - In a recent case before the Labour Court involving a Porter fired for high levels of absence, the Court found that although the investigation that led to dismissal proceedings was conducted by the person who participated in the decision process, the dismissal was fair.
Should I stay or should I go?
26/03/2019 - It happens on occasion that after an employee tenders their resignation, they ask to retract it. This may happen for a multitude of reasons. If this occurs, how should an employer respond? We review what an employer should consider in this situation, the options if faced with such a retraction and the principles established through case law.
Spouses and partners of critical skills permit holders will now get Stamp 1G permission to work
26/03/2019 - The requirement for spouses and de-facto partners to obtain a spousal employment permit in order to work has now been removed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI).
€15,000 award for worker whose restaurant owner employer failed to take her sexual harassment allegations seriously
26/03/2019 - The recent case A Chef v A Restaurant  30 E.L.R. 37 highlights the obligation on employers to properly investigate and respond to complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Employer not obliged to pay inaccurate rate outlined in Warehouse Operative's contract
28/02/2019 - The administrative error occurred when the employee's consolidated rate (basic hourly rate of pay plus any premium for unsocial hours) was mistakenly included in the contract as the basic rate. The Labour Court overturned a previous AO decision by stating that the higher rate was not properly payable.
Ensure you assign the correct public holiday benefit for St Patrick's Day 2019
28/02/2019 - St Patrick's day falls on a Sunday this year. It is a common misconception that public holidays that fall at the weekend 'move' to the following Monday. If you are uncertain about how this might affect your rosters and/or how to allocate the public holiday benefit, see our guidance note
Ibec Submission to the Low Pay Commission 2019
26/02/2019 - In a recent Submission to the Low Pay Commission, Ibec said that in the event of an orderly Brexit, there should be a fair and sustainable increase in the minimum wage of no more than the 2019 rate of inflation. A disruptive Brexit outcome however, should see the NMW remain at its existing level.
New law on tips imminent
26/02/2019 - The Protection of Employee Tips Bill 2017 passed the Committee stage of the Seanad this month. Once enacted, it will amend the Minimum Wage Act and change the existing scope for employers to withhold, deduct or demand the return of a tip from an employee. It will also require a firm to display its tips policy.
Dismissal of welder found sleeping on the job not procedurally unfair despite deficiencies in process
31/01/2019 - The Labour Court in a recent determination found that despite certain deficiencies in the company's procedure, the process followed was not tainted to a degree that rendered the dismissal procedurally unfair.
Law now in place allowing public servants to work until 70
31/01/2019 - Legislation giving most public servants the option of working up to the age of 70 was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins on St Stephen's Day. It remains to be seen what, if any, effect this many have on the private sector retirement landscape.
Bullying recognised under Health and Safety legislation
30/01/2019 - An Office Manager penalised for making bullying complaint was recetnly awarded €20,000 under Health and Safety legislation. Workplace bullying can lead to an employee’s resignation and risk of a constructive dismissal claim. Often pursued as the basis for personal injury claim, it is not typically pursued as a claim under Health and Safety legislation.
Labour Court decides case not properly within its jurisdiction
30/01/2019 - A dispute before the Labour Court has been dismissed where the Court found that the appeal brought on behalf of one person had ‘far reaching implications’ for a similar body of workers.This is an important consideration for employers when notified by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) of an investigation by an Adjudication Officer under the Industrial Relations Acts 1969.
Labour Court reviewing T&Cs within the Construction and Electrical Contracting Sector
30/01/2019 - In light of the Labour Court's plan to review terms and conditions within the Construction and Electrical Contracting Sector which could result in the making of an SEO or the revision of an SEO, we include an update on the binding agreements that are currently in place.
Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Publishes Statement of Strategy for 2019 – 2022 and Work Programme for 2019
30/01/2019 - The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) this month published its Strategy Statement Fair and Compliant Workplaces and Equal Treatment in Services2019 to 2022 together with its annual Work Programme.
How will the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) legislation impact your business? FAQs
03/01/2019 - The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, commonly referrred to as the "banded hours" legislation has been signed into law and is due to come into effect in March 2019. Below is a list of frequently asked questions which Ibec has received from members in relation to the impact of the new legislation, with our responses.
Employees undergoing fertility treatment - are they protected?
19/12/2018 - Despite having stringent legislation protecting those on maternity, paternity, adoptive and parental leave, there is no legislation that outlines protections for those undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment or other fertility treatments. To date in Ireland, this topic has been explored very little under the auspices of the WRC or Labour Court, so employers are still unsure of how to treat an employee who has disclosed that they are undergoing fertility treatment.
International Day of Disabled Persons
19/12/2018 - December 3rd marked International Day of Disabled Persons which aims to promote empowerment for people with disabilities. To mark the day, Ibec’s Diversity Forum heard from the Pathways Co-ordinator of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Marie Devitt.
That was the year that was ... HRlink Year in Review 2018
19/12/2018 - As 2018 draws to a close, we take the opportunity to look back on the legislative developments, industrial relations and HR news stories as well as other events that helped shape the last 12 months of HRlink.
"Banded hours" Bill soon to become law and will impact on all employers
19/12/2018 - The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, commonly referred to as the “banded hours” legislation, is close to finalisation and is likely to be signed into law before Christmas, just over a year after the Bill was first published.
Can you require employees to speak English on the job?
18/12/2018 - It is important to take into consideration when introducing a policy of this kind, that race is one of the nine grounds protected from discrimination under the Employment Equality Act 1998 to 2015. As such, employers must have non-discriminatory objective justification for introducing an English only speaking policy
Dealing with the fallout from work related social events
18/12/2018 - The Christmas party season is well under way and although it offers an opportunity to reward and engage with one’s workforce, it also can result in instances of misconduct. It is important to remember that any social event is regarded as an extension of the workplace and, therefore, the duty of care to protect health, safety and welfare of employees is extended to any such events.
Employment Law Policy Update December 2018
18/12/2018 - There are already a number of items on the employment related legislative agenda for 2019 with some key Bills expected to be published or enacted in the coming months that will affect the employer - employee relationship. See the current proposals contained in our Employment Law Policy Update 2018.
Public Holidays FAQs – Christmas and New Years 2018/2019
17/12/2018 - Given the number of public holidays over the approaching festive season, we include a quick FAQ by way of reminder on the options for employers in assigning public holiday benefits.
"Banded hours Bill" soon to become law and will impact on all employers
12/12/2018 - The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, commonly referred to as the “banded hours” legislation, is close to finalisation and is likely to be signed into law before Christmas, just over a year after the Bill was first published.
PAYE Modernisation - Deadline 1 January 2019
07/12/2018 - From 1 January 2019 the PAYE system, which was first introduced in 1960, is changing to 'real time'. This means that every time employers pay their employees, they will report the pay and deduction details to Revenue as part of the payroll process.
New banded hours law likely to be enacted soon
30/11/2018 - As the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 advances towards the end of the legislative process, Ibec has continued to repeat concerns previously raised about aspects of the proposed legislation.
Be Winter Ready 2018 - 2019
29/11/2018 - Employers are required manage safety, health and welfare at work. This includes managing the workplace during our winter weather. The first step in preparing a winter hazard identification and risk assessment is to look at all potential weather conditions and determine how they could impact on the business.
Latest CSO figures show rise in pay, working hours and number of industrial disputes
29/11/2018 - Average weekly pay, working hours and number of industrial disputes all up in Quarter 3. CSO figures published this week show that average weekly earnings increased by 3.2% to €740.32 between Q3 2017 and the third quarter of this year. Average weekly hours were 32.7 in the period during which 6 industrial disputes were in train.
Seven weeks of paid parental leave planned by 2021
29/11/2018 - Budget 2019 introduced two weeks’ paid parental leave to take effect from November 2019. In a related development, Government this month announced a plan to gradually extend the number of weeks of paid parental leave to seven, by 2021.
21 Days is time limit for appeals to the High Court under equality legislation
28/11/2018 - The time limit for an application for leave to appeal a Labour Court decision to the High Court on a point of law is 42 days as set out in Section 46 of the Workplace Relations Acts 2015 ( 2015 Act), except for cases under the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 (1998 Act) where the time limit is set out under the Rules of the Superior Courts and is 21 days.
CJEU - no contractual nexus needed between firms for transfer regs to apply
28/11/2018 - In a recent case, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a firm newly contracted to provide security services at a museum, in taking on the majority of the staff previously employed by the prior contract holder, gave rise to a transfer of undertakings
Disability, an untapped diverse resource in the war for talent
28/11/2018 - Despite an increasing emphasis on the importance of diversity in the workforce, people with disabilities continue to be underrepresented. It is estimated 13 per cent of the population comprise people with disabilities.
Ibec responds to auto enrolment proposal
28/11/2018 - Ibec has welcomed Government draft proposals for an automatic enrolment (AE) retirement savings system for employees that are not covered by occupational pensions but has warned that contribution rates should be kept low in the initial years to encourage employees to stay in the system.
Prepared for the future?
28/11/2018 - The future is uncertain, but the increasing pace of change is a given. In the workplace of the future, employers will face the introduction of new work practices, new roles and skills and entirely new ways of providing services to customers through the utilisation of technology.
Private sector employers eye public sector retirement reform with interest
28/11/2018 - Our longer lives are leading to longer working, which in turn raises challenges as to how the issue of retirement should be managed within the confines of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2015.
Right to Legal Representation during the Disciplinary Process?
28/11/2018 - A recent decision offers a more favourable view for employers who are faced with requests for legal representation in internal procedures, compared to the much debated 2017 High Court decision of Lyons v Longford Westmeath ETB.
‘This is not working out…’ recent Labour Court recommendation on probationary dismissal underpins employer’s requirement to apply fair procedures
27/11/2018 - The Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-2015 provides protections for employees with 12 months of service in relation to the termination of their employment. Employees with less than 12 months of service who wish to pursue a claim may, however, opt to take a claim for unfair dismissal under the Industrial Relations Acts 1946-2015.
The Employment Equality Act 1998 – twenty years on, challenges remain
27/11/2018 - Twenty years after its enactment, most right-thinking employers would likely be acting broadly in accordance with the requirements of the Act in terms of ensuring promotion of diversity and inclusion even if it was not required as a matter of law. Yet despite the moral case for the legislation being acknowledged and even embraced, challenges remain in its application.
Basis on which non EEA nationals can work in Ireland - Q&A
31/10/2018 - Ibec Knowledge Centre Executive Ananta Kaur ran a webinar on October 17th in relation to work permissions for non-EEA nationals in Ireland. Read our follow up Q&A document summarising the questions that were raised during the webinar and the key themes discussed including working holiday authorisation and INIS stamps.
Organisation of Working Time – rest breaks and rest periods case law
31/10/2018 - The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 is a detailed piece of legislation outlining an employer’s obligation with regards rest breaks, weekly rest and working time. Furthermore, an employer may face compensation claims for amounts up to two years of an employee’s salary for breaches of other provisions of the Act.
Protected Disclosure or Grievance?
31/10/2018 - There were two main issues considered in a case involving a butcher and a meat processing plant. One was continuous service in the context of the right to take a claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, and if a protected disclosure had been made, allowing protection under the Acts notwithstanding length of service.
Shift pattern related disputes
31/10/2018 - In the September 2018 issue of HRlink, we looked at cases where which an individual took a claim against their employer regarding a change in their shift pattern. Changing shift patterns can be a contentious issue for employers. As well as individual claims, a collective group of employees can take a claim against their employer.
Transport provider successfully defends paternity top up discrimination claim
31/10/2018 - In his findings, the WRC adjudicator concerned said that the payment of 'top up' during maternity leave falls within the exception to the general rules covering discrimination provided for in section 26 (1) of the Employment Equality Acts.
Claim of discrimination during recruitment process results in substantial award against company
30/10/2018 - Section 8 of the Employment Equality Act 1998 to 2015 (“the Act”) states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or prospective employee with respect to access to employment. Critical to this is that an individual does not have to be an employee in order to take a claim against an organisation in relation to access to employment.
Claims for trade union recognition result in predictable recommendations
30/10/2018 - It is a well-established principle under Irish law that employers who wish to engage in collective bargaining with a trade union may do so, but those who choose not to do not have to.
European Safety Week 2018
30/10/2018 - The week commencing Monday October 14th was was European safety week and this year’s theme focused on ‘Healthy Workplaces Manage Dangerous Substances’.
Ibec HR Leadership Summit held in Dublin on 25 October
30/10/2018 - Themed ‘Smarter World, Smarter Work’ Ibec’s annual HR Leadership Summit took place on October 25th in Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium. This year’s event focused on preparing Ireland for a new era of work.
Thinking about a new shift pattern? Lessons from case law on avoiding the pitfalls
27/09/2018 - Planning a shift change can sometimes be straightforward in the case of introducing a new shift in response to an increase in demand. Where a change to an existing work pattern with current employees is needed, employers can encounter resistance especially if the new system will result in a significant change in lifestyle or routine.
Are "as and when required" contracts still permitted?
26/09/2018 - The usage of zero hours arrangements and variable hours contracts remains a topical issue, particularly in the context of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, often referred to as the “banded hours” legislation.
Part-time work: "difference in treatment does not automatically translate into 'less favourable' treatment" says the WRC
26/09/2018 - The issue of justifying applying different terms and conditions of employment to part-time staff on objective grounds was explored in a recent case before the WRC, that of a A Flight Attendant v An Airline ADJ 00009303.
“As and when required” contracts – are they still permitted?
26/09/2018 - The usage of zero hours arrangements and variable hours contracts remains a topical issue, particularly in the context of the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, often referred to as the “banded hours” legislation.
Labour Court recommends that JLC system be retained for all sectors currently covered
25/09/2018 - In its five-yearly review of the JLC system, the Labour Court has recommended that the same sectors remain covered but suggests that the two regional catering JLCs be amalgamated into one national body
Parental leave request – WRC awards compensation for ‘distress’
25/09/2018 - In the case of An Employee v An Employer ADJ-00000473, the Workplace Relations Commission awarded the complainant, a veterinary inspector, compensation for the distress caused by her employer’s delay in granting her parental leave request.
Sample diversity and inclusion policy
25/09/2018 - The management of diversity at work focuses at a strategic level on integrating individual differences into the organisation to benefit both the individual and the organisation. It is also important that a company’s approach to diversity is underpinned by an explicit company policy and commitment. To that end, Ibec has developed a sample policy on diversity.
What is included in pay with respect to public holidays
25/09/2018 - With the October public holiday fast approaching we look at the payment of public holidays and what should be included in pay when allocating a public holiday benefit to employees. Pay for public holidays is set out in S.I. 475 of 1997, Organisation of Working Time (Determination of Pay for Holidays) Regulations 1997. The October public holiday falls on Monday the 29th October 2018.