Priority legislation for publication includes:
1. The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill to address zero hour contracts, low hour contracts and banded hours.
In May the Government approved draft legislative proposals brought forward by then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, and then Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen TD, in response to the commitment in the Programme for Government to address problems caused by a perceived increased casualisation of work and to strengthen the regulation of precarious work. The draft proposals were approved by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and sent to the Attorney General’s Office for priority drafting of a Bill.
Based on the draft proposals, it is anticipated that the legislation may feature:
- A requirement that employers inform employees in writing, within 5 days of the commencement of their employment, of five core terms of their employment, including what the employer reasonably expects the length of the employee's working day and week will be;
- The creation of a new offence for the failure of an employer to provide the required statement within one month of the commencement of employment;
- Introducing a minimum payment for low paid employees who are required to report for work but who are not provided with the expected hours of work. The proposals would introduce a minimum payment of three times the national minimum wage, or three times the minimum rate set down in an employment regulation order for the relevant employment sector;
- Prohibiting zero hours contracts, except in cases of genuine casual work, emergency cover, or short-term relief work for the employer;
- Amending Section 18 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 to remove reference to ‘zero hours working practices’, and to provide that an employer will no longer be able to engage an employee on a contract for a certain number of hours, where the stated contractual hours are zero;
- Ensuring that employees on low hour contracts who consistently work more hours each week than provided for in their contract of employment will be entitled to be placed in a band of hours that reflects the reality of the hours that they have worked over an extended period;
- The creation of a new right for employees to be placed in a band of hours that reflects the actual hours worked over a given reference period of 18 months. The 18 month reference period is intended to allow for normal fluctuations in working hours due to seasonal or other factors. Under the proposals, an employee will be able to refer a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission as against his or her employer with a view to being placed in the appropriate band of hours.
- The introduction of protections from penalisation for employees who exercise their rights under the proposed legislation.
2. Data Protection Bill to transpose the EU Directive 2016/680 and give full effect to the Regulation 2016/679
This Bill will be the main legislative instrument that will give effect to, and provide exemptions from, certain provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and will set out a new legal framework for the enforcement of data protection law in Ireland.
3. Social Welfare (Budget) Bill - to provide in primary legislation any 2018 provisions.
4. The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill - To give effect to the pay provisions of the proposed Public Service Stability Agreement and the continuing unwinding of the FEMPI legislation
Other employment related legislation in scope for publication includes:
5. Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill - To amend the 1990 Act to give the Garda Siochana Representative Associations access to the States industrial relations institutions, the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court
6. Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 (Amendment) Bill – To amend the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 (OWTA) to remove the blanket exclusion of An Garda Siochana and members of the Defence Forces from scope of the OWTA and bring them within scope, subject to the application of the derogations permitted by the Working Time Directive
7. Health & Wellbeing (Calorie Posting and Workplace Wellbeing) Bill – To require food premises to display calories on menus and to require all public sector employers to have and to report on a Health and Wellbeing policy
8. Family Leave Bill - To consolidate with amendments all family leave legislation
Access the full Government Legislation Programme for Autumn 2017 click here.