Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today says business is shocked and angry at new employment legislative proposals which the organisation believes is the clearest sign yet that the current political structure has become dysfunctional. This is leading to policies which are reckless and poorly thought through.
The proposals which have given rise to this alarm are contained within the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and which will significantly damage the Irish business model and erode our competitiveness.
The proposal to narrow the bands to less than 5 hours, along with the obligation to offer any available hours to existing part-time staff in the first instance, without regard for skills, qualifications or experience, is unworkable. These proposals undermine the right of employers to manage their businesses.
In addition, the administration and compliance requirements brought about by these proposals will overwhelm small and medium-sized businesses.
Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy, said: "The continuation of the current political structure presents irreversible risks to business unless political parties take a more responsible approach to creating legislation. In this disproportionate Employment Bill, we see all the failings of the current political structure. This draft legislation has been an exercise in populist politics since inception, with political parties more concerned about optics than sensible, balanced regulation. The business community now fears that unless political parties take a more responsible approach to creating legislation, a continuation of the current political structure risks serious damage to Ireland's reputation and competitiveness."
Ibec is calling for government to remove the potentially discriminatory amendment on distribution of available hours and to broaden the bands of hours to allow businesses some reasonable flexibility to respond to changing business demands. This Bill will have significant negative effects for employers but will also reduce flexibility for all employees. In particular, those workers with disabilities, those with caring responsibilities, and young people who value opportunities to flex hours up and down according to their availability, are likely to be disproportionately impacted.
We urge Government to pause this Bill pending a full evidence-based regulatory impact assessment. While we acknowledge that there are instances of poor employment practices, the crippling burden the legislation in this format would impose, is disproportionate to the scale of the issue government is seeking to regulate.