The Employment Act 2018 creates a new right for employees whose employment contract does not accurately reflect the reality of the hours they work on a consistent basis. After a reference period of 12 months, employees will be able to request in writing to be placed in a band of hours that better reflect their average weekly hours worked. In response, employers are obliged to place the employee in the appropriate band and should do so within four weeks of receiving the employee’s request.
The appropriate band is determined by the employer on the basis of the average number of hours worked by the employee per week during the reference period.
The appropriate bands are laid down in law as set out in the below table.
|Band A:||3 to 6 hours|
|Band B:||6 to 11 hours|
|Band C:||11 to 16 hours|
|Band D:||16 to 21 hours|
|Band E:||21 to 26 hours|
|Band F:||26 to 31 hours|
|Band G:||31 to 36 hours|
|Band H:||over 36 hours|
An employer may refuse to place an employee in a band in one of the following circumstances:
In determining the 12 month reference period, a continuous period of employment immediately before the legislation is to be enacted on 4th March 2019 will be reckonable towards the 12 month reference period. Please visit Brightcontracts.ie for more information on the new Employment Bill which has been in the pipeline now for a number of years.
The Bill is being introduced to ‘improve the security of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours’, common in (but not exclusive to) service industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail. These industries often rely on flexibility in the employment contract and therefore the introduction of this new Bill will require them to take note.
Introducing a contract of employment or a handbook for the first time to current employees, can be a difficult, tricky matter for many employers.
It is an area that many employers put on the long finger, or avoid doing until they have to.
Common reasons for not implementing employee documentation include:
• Lack of time
• Fear that employees will refute the terms of the documents and refuse to sign
• Anxiety that documentation will harm the relationship between management and staff, if the employees feel a new set of rules are being entrust upon then
• A false belief that it will restrict how management deal with employees
However, this does not have to be the case. It is possible to introduce new documentation without spending huge amounts of time, alienating your work force, or causing disruption.
The answer lies in good communications.
To help employers introduce employee documentation, we’ve created a short video outlining our four step guide to rolling out contracts and handbooks.
Alternatively, read our guide to Introducing Contracts & Handbooks to Existing Staff available here http://www.brightcontracts.ie/docs/introducing-contracts-handbooks-to-existing-staff/
CPA Ireland held their Practitioners Conference in Carton House Friday 20th & Saturday 21st September 2013. Laura Murphy and Audrey Mooney from Thesaurus Software attended the conference. Laura and Audrey enjoyed meeting existing Thesaurus Payroll Manger and Solutions Plus customers – getting their feedback and comments.
It was also an opportunity to show Bright Contracts and our new payroll product BrightPay.
In a recent customer survey, 97.82% of respondents ranked the quality of our customer support as Excellent or Good.
This customer support covers our payroll software (Thesaurus Payroll Manager and BrightPay), our employment contracts software (Bright Contracts) and our accounts software (Solutions Plus) and is free to all registered users.
While the excellent/good percentage achieved would be way ahead of industry standards, we hope to reduce the 2.18% who ranked our support as fair or poor!
This July the Government published the Protected Disclosures Bill 2013, commonly known as the “Whistleblowing Bill”. The aim of the bill is to combat corruption and promote a culture of public accountability and transparency. The Bill encourages workers to disclose information relating to wrongdoing in the workplace by offering protection against penalisation should they make a protected disclosure / blow the whistle.
When the Bill is enacted, likely to be later this Autumn, a whistleblower’s protection will include protection from dismissal or any form of penalisation by their employer. If an employee is found to have been dismissed unfairly for having made a protected disclosure, employers could be faced with compensation payments of up to 5 years remuneration. The usual service level of 1 year for cases of unfair dismissal will not apply to Whistleblowing cases.
In preparation of this new legislation, employers are advised to start reviewing their internal policies and procedures and to start considering establishing a robust whistleblowing policy to suit their business. Should you require assistance, Bright Contracts will be providing template policies and guidance on how deal with whistleblowing complaints.
Below you will find a handy employer’s checklist for a NERA (National Employment Rights Authority) inspection:
1. Do you have your employer’s registration number with the Revenue Commissioners?
2. Have you a list of all your employees together with their PPS numbers and addresses?
3. Have you the dates of commencement of employment for all employees? (And dates of termination if applicable?)
5. Have you the employees’ job classification?
6. Have you a record of their annual leave and public holidays taken by each employee?
7. Have you a record of hours worked for all employees?
8. Have you a record of all payroll details?
9. Can you prove that you provide your employees with a written statement of pay?
10. Have you a record or register of all employees under the age of 18?
11. Have you employment permits where applicable?
12. Have you filled out the template letter details that you will receive from NERA advising you of the inspection?
The National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 states that the NMW is €8.65 per hour, there are some exceptions to this.
Where employees are under the age of 18 or within the first 2 years after the date of their first employment over the age of 18, the rate is €6.06 per hour
In the first 2 years after the date of first employment over the age of 18, the rate is €6.92 per hour in the first year and €7.79 per hour in the second year
Where a trainee is doing a course which complies with S.I. No. 99 of 2000 for the 1st one third of the period the rate is €6.49 per hour, the 2nd one third the rate is €6.92 per hour, and the 3rd one third the rate is €7.79 per hour.
S.I. No 99 of 2000 is the Statutory Instrument which forms part of the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000
For the protection of both employees and employers a Contract of Employment, which is now a legal requirement, should be given to each employee as this will state clearly what is expected of both sides and will minimise or hopefully prevent issues arising that lead to ill feeling or disputes in the workplace.
The EU (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 81 of 2013) came into operation on 8 March 2013, amending the Parental Leave Acts 1998 to 2006. The Regulations made the following key changes to parental leave rights in Ireland:
Parental Leave entitlement increased to 18 weeks
The Parental Leave Acts provide parents, adoptive parents and persons in loco parentis, who have the required continuous service with their employer with the right to take unpaid leave to care for their children. The leave may be taken as a continuous block, or, if the employer agrees, it may taken over a period of time. The new Regulations increase the parental leave entitlement from 14 to 18 working weeks.
Leave for child suffering from long-term illness
Normally, parental leave must be taken before the child reaches 8 years of age, but leave can be taken to care for older children in certain limited circumstances, such as when a child has a disability. In such cases parental leave can be taken up until the child reaches 16 years, or the disability ceases, whichever first occurs. The new Regulations now extend the scope of this provision to allow for leave to be taken in respect of a child with a long-term illness until that child reaches 16 years, or the illness ceases, whichever first occurs.
Transfer of parental leave between parents limited to 14 weeks
Each parent has a separate entitlement to parental leave in respect of each child and there is no general right to transfer parental leave from one parent to another. However, in cases where both parents are employed by the same employer, either parent is entitled, subject to the consent of the employer concerned, to transfer all or part of their parental leave to the other parent. However, the new Regulations specify that the right to transfer parental leave is limited to 14 of the 18 working weeks.
Right to request change to working hours or patterns
The new Regulations also provide a statutory entitlement for employees returning from parental leave to request a change in their working hours or patterns for a set period of time. The request must be made not later than 6 weeks before the commencement of the proposed set period. The employer must consider, but is not required to grant, the request. When considering the request, the employer must have regard to the needs of the employer and the employee. The employer must then, within 4 weeks of receipt of the request, either (a) inform the employee in writing that the request has been refused, or (b) if the request is accepted, arrange for the employer and employee to sign an agreement confirming the proposed changes with the date of commencement, and duration of the changed working arrangements set out.
Other Important Aspects
Other noteworthy factors in addition to those above and those set out in the updated handbook section are as follows:
Social insurance contributions
Annual leave and public holidays
Amount of parental leave