IHREC issues guidelines on the issue of retirement and fixed-term contracts
04/05/2018 - The Irish Human Rights and Equality Authority has issued guidance available to employers on the use of fixed-term contracts beyond a contractual retirement age. The guidelines are intended as a complement to the recently issued WRC Code of Practice on Longer Working (S.I.600/2017).
Dismissals due to intoxicants upheld in two recent cases
25/04/2018 - Two recent cases, one before the Labour Court and the other before an Adjudication Officer relate to employer decisions to dismiss employees for failing an intoxicants test. In one case, the worker had been tested during site induction training the day before work commenced.
How much is reasonable for Sunday Premium? - the Labour Court’s view
25/04/2018 - In the modern world many businesses are open seven days a week which means an employee’s roster can include work on a Sunday. Organisations need to be aware of the additional responsibilities and obligations on employers whose staff work on a Sunday.
Ibec response to the Extreme Weather (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018 (Private Members’ Bill)
25/04/2018 - Responding to the new Extreme Weather (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018, Ibec has said is that it cannot condone any legislation which envisages a national shutdown for all status red severe weather warnings to be mandated by law.
Worker's refusal to share information about disability results in win for company
25/04/2018 - An employee who refused to provide his employer with information pertaining to his disability has been found not to have been discriminated against by his employer.
WRC upholds dismissal of referee who officiated at games during sick leave
23/04/2018 - The Workplace Relations Commission recently rejected the claim for unfair dismissal brought by a Dublin based fitter who was fired when his employer, an Air Filtration Provider, discovered the man had officiated at a number of football matches while on sick leave
A balanced approach to employment regulation needs to be restored
27/03/2018 - Over the past twelve months alone, there have been twelve new legislative initiatives seeking to amend Irish employment law. These include a range of Private Members’ Bills, one of the most recent being the possible introduction of legislation in a bid to counteract “bogus” self-employment.
Data Protection Commissioner publishes 2017 Annual Report
27/03/2018 - 2017 saw a significant increase in the number of complaints, security breach, prosecution and investigation related activities carried out by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. The growth was enabled by an increase in budget and staffing levels in advance of the GDPR.
WRC publishes its Work Programme for 2018
27/03/2018 - In accordance with Section 22(1) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, the Board of the WRC has produced a Work Programme of the activities that the Commission intends to carry out in 2018. The document highlights the core mission and details the services and operation the Commission provides.
CJEU rules that pregnant women can be dismissed as part of redundancy rounds
26/03/2018 - The European Court of Justice in recent weeks held that a Spanish law which allowed a pregnant employee to be included in a collective redundancy scheme was not contrary to EU law.
Storm Emma and the payment of wages
05/03/2018 - The national response to the latest adverse weather conditions has generated a series of questions as to the rights of employees to be paid when they accepted the Government advice to remain indoors during the red weather warning or in situations where the employer was not operating due to the extreme weather conditions.
National emergencies and the payment of wages
28/02/2018 - The national response to Hurricane Ophelia has generated a series of questions as to the rights of employees to be paid when, through no fault of their own, they are forced to stay home from work. Various news reports emerged over the course of the day attempting to address the key question - were employees entitled to be paid for the day in question?
Weather alert - advice for employers in affected areas
28/02/2018 - A company policy on absence due to bad or inclement weather should address the situation where employees are unable to attend work, or organisations do not have work available, due to weather-related circumstances outside of their control.
Dealing with WRC complaints - a step by step guide
22/02/2018 - This is a guidance note for employers who are notified of employment complaints by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Fair selection for redundancy
22/02/2018 - There are three main points that a third party will look at when determining if an employee has been unfairly selected in a redundancy dismissal case. These are whether or not a genuine redundancy existed, whether the selection process was fair and whether the employer engaged in fair procedures throughout.
Court of Appeal overturns award to disabled special needs assistant
21/02/2018 - The Court of Appeal has overturned a €40,000 compensation award to a special needs assistant who was told she could not return to work at a special needs school after suffering serious injuries in a road accident.The new judgement overturns earlier High Court and Labour Court rulings and takes a narrower view of what is required of employers under section 16 of the Employment Equality Acts in respect of accommodating an employee with a disability in the workplace.
Employment protection extended to seafarers on Irish vessels
21/02/2018 - Transposition of Directive (EU) 2015/1794 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 October 2015 amending Directives 2008/94/EC, 2009/38/EC and 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Council Directives 98/59/EC and 2001/23/EC, as regards seafarers ('the Seafarers Directive').
Ibec cautions against further minimum wage rise
21/02/2018 - The closing date for submissions to the Low Pay Commission on the National Minimum Wage rate for 2019 was February 9th. Ibec's submission argues that there is no justification for a further NMW rise in 2019 which would leave Ireland's rate even more dramatically out of line with the UK.
Labour Court au pair ruling highlights employer responsibilities of host families
21/02/2018 - A recent Labour Court ruling reaffirms tha au pairs are entitled to full employment protection including the right to a written statement of terms and conditions of employment, to receive payslips, to be paid minimum wage and to work on average no more than 48 hours per week on average.
Protected disclosures - the story so far
21/02/2018 - The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 has been in operation for over three years. However, employers are still getting to grips with its provisions and potential impact. In this article, we review the Act’s main provisions and review some of the cases which have been determined to date.
Zeroing in on banded hours – an update on the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017
21/02/2018 - The draft legislation which has been proposed to further regulate variable hours arrangements has been the subject of much debate since its publication last December. Many Ibec members and other employers who rely on variable hours arrangements for absence cover or because of the nature of the business in which they operate are understandably concerned at the impact of the proposed changes.
Covert surveillance at work
26/01/2018 - A supermarket that installed covert surveillance cameras to address suspected theft in the workplace was in breach of the European Convention of Human Rights Article 8 right to privacy according to the European Court of Human Rights. Workers had been told about the visible cameras not others placed covertly.
New Code of Practice on Retirement published by the WRC
25/01/2018 - Over the past couple of years, the area of retirement age has experienced a lot of change and there is further change proposed. Since the change in the qualification age for the state pension to 66 in January 2014, the issue of mandatory company retirement age (traditionally 65 in many organisations) has become an even more complex issue.
Legalities around changing terms and conditions of employment
24/01/2018 - In times of change, sometimes arising out of financial difficulty, an employer may view the employment contract and establish what, if any, changes can be made in order to alleviate any financial loss that may be occurring within the organisation. It is of significant importance that employees first agree to this change before it is implemented, and that the relevant consultation is carried out.
Proposed new law on employee tips reaches Seanad
24/01/2018 - In March of 2017, Sinn Féin put forward new legislation for consideration which aims to ensure that workers in the service industry are legally entitled to retain any tips, gratuities or service charges received from customers. The National Minimum Wage (Protection of Employee Tips) Bill 2017 came before the Seanad on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 for second stage debate
Union pay increase expectations for 2018 wildly unrealistic - Ibec
24/01/2018 - A recent call from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) for pay increases of 3.1% this year in addition to cost of living increases related to housing and childcare cost are, in Ibec’s view, wildly unrealistic and uncompetitive.
Appeal of compliance notices dismissed by the Labour Court
23/01/2018 - In the long awaited Determination in the case of an appeal against compliance notices issued by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Inspectors, the Labour Court rejected the appeal by Golden Dale t/a Ballydoyle Racing.
2017 HRlink Year in Review
15/12/2017 - As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back on the industrial relations/ HR, policy and legislative developments that shaped the last 12 months of HRlink.
Ryanair decision to recognise trade unions significant - Ibec
15/12/2017 - Ibec Director of Employer Relations Maeve McElwee said: “The announcement of Ryanair’s decision to engage with relevant trade unions across Europe appears to be a seismic shift by company. This development comes after the latest phase of long standing and very public industrial relations challenges encompassing bases across Europe in France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and Portugal as well as the Irish operation.
Dealing with the fallout from the office Christmas Party
14/12/2017 - As we are in the midst of the Christmas party season, it is timely to take the opportunity to remind employers that these work social events are regarded as an extension of the workplace and that organisations need to be mindful of their responsibilities and the need to manage any incidents or issues that may arise at these events.
Draft legislation to address zero hours arrangements and banded hours contracts will remove flexibility on both sides of the employment relationship
13/12/2017 - The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, has published the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017. The Bill purports to introduce more stringent requirements to provide written statements of employment to employees on commencement of their roles, new entitlements for employees to a specific “band” of hours of work in certain circumstances and the prohibition of so-called “zero-hours” working practices.
Mandatory company retirement age remains complex issue
13/12/2017 - In January 2016, the Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 commenced. This Act amended Sections 6 and 10 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2015. These amendments made it a statutory requirement for employers, who are applying a compulsory retirement age, to objectively and reasonably justify the reason for having such compulsory retirement age.
Labour Private Members’ Bill would lead to overregulation of genuine independent contractors’ arrangements
11/12/2017 - The Labour party has initiated a Private Members’ Bill purporting to address the issue of bogus self-employment. The Protection of Employment (Measures to Counter Self-Employment) Bill has been drafted but has yet to be introduced to either house of the Oireachtas.
Major topics dominating 2017 employment agenda will also be key in 2018
11/12/2017 - As we look back over 2017, our employer relations agenda has been dominated by employment rights regulation, industrial relations activity and the talent agenda. Of current concern to business are Private Members' Bills proposing to abolish mandatory retirement ages, introduce rigid rules on banded hours as well as over regulate self-employment.
Failure to carry out risk assessment for breastfeeding mother is discrimination
20/11/2017 - A recent case heard by the Court of Justice of the European Union examined whether it was gender discrimination for an employer to fail to carry out an appropriate risk assessment for a breastfeeding employee.
High Court gives green light to worker to pursue UD claim lodged more than a year after she was fired over vulgar emails
20/11/2017 - In recent weeks, the High Court gave the green light to a worker to pursue an unfair dismissal claim lodged more than a year after she was fired over vulgar emails.
Managing overtime - tips on creating and applying a company policy
20/11/2017 - Working overtime is a common feature of Irish workplaces. The demand for and approach to overtime varies considerably from workplace to workplace. However, all employers need to be cognisant of certain legal requirements and the potential for complications to arise in overtime arrangements.
Sexual harassment in the workplace
20/11/2017 - This article addresses the legal considerations for employers who are presented with allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. Some key lessons from case law relating to sexual harassment complaints are summarised highlighting an employer’s liability for the harassment itself and the consequences of inadequate action when complaints are brought to their attention.
UK tribunal rules Deliveroo riders are self-employed
20/11/2017 - In the latest UK case involving the employment rights of workers in the gig economy, a tribunal ruled that food delivery company ‘Deliveroo’ couriers are not workers and are self-employed.
Eye and Eyesight Tests in light of the new PRSI Entitlements
16/11/2017 - Under the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Regulations 2007, the employer is required to ensure that the provision of an appropriate eye and eyesight test is made available to every employee.
Government publishes Public Pay and Pensions Bill 2017
16/11/2017 - The government has published the Public Pay and Pensions Bill 2017. This legislation is primarily intended to permit the restoration of pay cuts made during the recession to the majority of public servants between 2018 and 2020. Many of these public servants would be eligible for increases between 6.2% and 7.4% between that period.
Managing Contractors - an OHS perspective
16/11/2017 - Many companies, regardless of size, are subcontracting various functions. In addition, there are contingent workers who are typically brought in for short periods of time. The challenge for many companies who outsource work is to determine who is responsible for what. Is it the host company/end user, the agency, the contract company, or the self-employed contractor?
New tool to help achieve gender balance in decision-making
16/11/2017 - Ibec and the 30% Club in recent months launched a Voluntary Code of Conduct for Recruitment and Executive Search Firms who are involved in senior level recruitment. This initiative is another tool to help organisations achieve gender balance in decision-making roles and hire the right candidate for the job, male or female, from 100% of the talent pool.
Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for the Construction Industry signed into law
16/11/2017 - Sectoral Employment Order for the Construction Industry signed into law
T'is almost the season - plan now to avoid festive HR headaches
16/11/2017 - Unlike some areas of business, there is rarely an air of winding-down as Christmas approaches for HR practitioners. In fact HR often find themselves busier than ever dealing with everything from end of year salary reviews to the fallout from corporate Christmas social events.
Draft bill on zero-hour contracts "crude & disproportionate"
14/11/2017 - Responding to recent commentary by trade unions, Ibec maintained its position that the proposed draft bill on zero-hours contracts is crude and disproportionate.
Government launches Legislation Programme for Autumn Session 2017
17/10/2017 - In recent weeks Government announced the Legislation Programme for Autumn 2017.The programme includes priority legislation; Bills that are expected to undergo pre-legislative scrutiny; all other legislation; Bills currently on the Dáil and Seanad Order Paper; Bills both enacted and published since the Government came to office in May of 2016
Outline of an Induction plan for Senior Managers
17/10/2017 - Many companies believe that once a successful candidate, or employee moving up the ranks, has signed the contract, agreed a start date and successfully resigned or finished up previous duties that it's job done on the new appointment. However, at this stage, the job is only just beginning.
Reasonable accommodation - how much is enough?
17/10/2017 - Section 16 of the Employment Equality Act 2004 provides that an employer is not required to retain an employee if he/she “is not fully competent” and “fully capable” of carrying out their role. Notwithstanding this, an employee with a disability must be regarded as fully competent and capable if the employer can take “appropriate measures” which would enable them to perform their role
International Financial Services (IFS) Apprenticeships
13/10/2017 - Financial Services Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, in partnerships with the National College of Ireland has launched two new International Financial Services Apprenticeships, aimed at both entry level employees looking for a great career choice, as well as experienced professionals wishing to pursue a career change or a more technical role within the financial services sector
Ireland is well served by a voluntarist approach to collective bargaining
13/10/2017 - SIPTU recently called for a referendum on the issue of collective bargaining, no doubt with a view to paving the way for legislation requiring some form of mandatory trade union recognition. Such a move will upset this careful balance of industrial relations which has served us so well to date.
Occupational First Aid: The Requirements and Changes in progress
13/10/2017 - The recent changes to the Occupational First Aid (OFA) Training and Trainer requirements have highlighted the First Aider Role and prompted many companies to review this function within their organisations. This article outlines the basic requirements and highlights the ongoing changes to training.
Training levy increase unwelcome but presents opportunity for reform
12/10/2017 - The budget announcement that the National Training Fund (NTF) levy will be raised by 0.1% of payroll in 2018 to 0.8% and by a further 0.1% in both 2019 and 2020 can be viewed as a potential threat to business competitiveness. However, if properly implemented, the accompanying reforms also offer the opportunity to ring fenced funds for targeted in-work training programmes to help companies upskill their workforce.
Proposal to extend maternity leave in the case of premature births
04/10/2017 - From 1st October 2017, the period for which maternity benefit is paid is being extended in cases where a baby is born prematurely.
Not all routes lead to Dublin - Irish law does not always apply to Ryanair employees, says CJEU
21/09/2017 - The Court of Justice of the European Union has stated that a clause in Ryanair’s contracts of employment providing that any disputes in relation to its terms were to be resolved under Irish law before the relevant Irish authorities is not enforceable in certain cases involving workers in different jurisdictions.
Revised Third Level Graduate Programme allows no retrospection on duration of stamp 1G permission to work
21/09/2017 - This a brief overview of the Revised Third Level Graduate Programme published by INIS. The revised Programme offers graduates at level 9 or above of the National Framework of Qualifications up to a two year period or residence and right to work in the State. It will not be made retrospective for non EEA 2016 graduates from Irish colleges and universities who are (or are not) availing of the 2016 programme.
Putting the X factor into attracting and retaining talent
23/08/2017 - In a rapidly changing world where employee expectations are continuously evolving, the management of talent has become a sizeable and demanding task. At a recent Ibec event, Deloitte, Three Ireland and Citibank shared their expertise.
Quick tips on expediting the employment permit process
23/08/2017 - In order to work in Ireland a non EEA national, unless they are exempted, must hold a valid Employment Permit. We feature some reminders of Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation initiatives that are designed to make the permit application process faster and easier.
PAYE Modernisation, are you ready yet?
10/07/2017 - The modernisation of the PAYE system is due to take effect from January 1st 2019. The new Real Time Reporting (RTR) system will require employers to report pay, tax and other deductions as well as details of employees leaving employment, at the same time as they run payroll.
2017 a pivotal year for employment law developments
22/05/2017 - In light of 2017 proving such an exceptionally busy year for employment policy initiatives, the focus of Ibec's 2017 Employment Law Conference was to help employers navigate the road ahead.
Alcohol and drugs at work- a dismissible offence?
22/05/2017 - In some circumstances it may be reasonable to dismiss and employee who turns up for work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, employers need to adhere to their workplace policies and avoid acting hastily. Many factors will be considered in any subsequent claim.
Key takeaways from data protection case studies
22/05/2017 - A large retail bank's disclosure of personal information to a complainant's mother featured amongst the data security breach notifications dealt with by the Data Protection Commissioner in 2016.
Timely reminder of restrictions on fixed-term contract renewals
22/05/2017 - A recent Labour Court case resulted in a major award for a former fixed-term worker in a dispute over a contract of indefinite duration (CID). The case reaffirms that there must be objective grounds that justify offering a fixed-term worker a further temporary contract rather than a CID.
Too many bills seek to regulate employment relationship
22/05/2017 - Ibec's Director of Employer Relations, Maeve McElwee has described the number of Private Members' Bills currently seeking to regulate employment law as concerning. She warned these Private Members's Bills have little regard for consequences on competitiveness and sustaining jobs.
Labour Court considers collective bargaining application
12/04/2017 - The Communications Workers Union’s claim against Conduit Enterprises Ltd under revised industrial relations legislation was recently before the Labour Court for consideration.
Straight Ally’s at Work
26/01/2017 - A number of companies are taking their work supporting diversity and inclusion and LGBT colleagues in the workplace to a new level through the development of Straight Ally programmes. See attached flyer for the event details and how to book
Options if an employee has difficulty attending for work because of disruption to public transport
31/08/2016 - Employers have various options to consider when deciding how to treat the periods of time when employees are unavailable for work due to disruption to public transport. The company’s approach should ideally be clarified beforehand.
Data protection queries from employees on the increase
28/07/2016 - There has been a steady increase in the number of queries and requests arising under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2003 from employees to their employers in recent years. While some have referred to “digital ambulance chasing”* the reality is that employees, as data subjects, have considerable rights under the legislation. These rights, and employers’ obligations, look set to increase in strength and impact when the legislation is reformed as part of the General Data Protection Regulation due to come into effect in 2018.
The future of mandatory retirement ages - what the law now requires of employers
28/04/2016 - The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 has introduced significant changes to retirement ages. Consideration must now be given by all employers to objectively justifying both their contractual retirement age, and a fixed term contract if one is provided post contractual age. The means of achieving the aim must be both appropriate and necessary. Retirement ages and the implications of the Act for employers will be covered extensively at Ibec's Employment Law Conference 2016.