HR overview 2015

The start of a new year is the perfect time to refresh your memory of the 2015 changes that will impact on your business for 2016. With that in mind, Caroline McEnery of The HR Suite outlines the HR legislation all retailers should be aware of this year

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22 January 2016 | 0

National minimum wage

A new minimum wage of €9.15 per hour will be effective from 1 January 2016. For employers it is important to note that rates for those under 18 will increase accordingly also.

Annual leave accrual on sick leave

On 20 May 2015, the Work Place Relations Act 2015 was enacted. One change is the right to accrue annual leave for employees on long-term sick leave. This new change means that employees who are on long-term leave due to illness will now be entitled to accrue their annual leave entitlement.

Workplace Relations Act 2014

The sections relating to the new adjudication process set out in the Workplace Relations Act 2015 came into law on 1 October 2015. The act consolidates the various functions of the Labour Relations Commission, Employment Appeals Tribunal, the National Employment Rights Authority and the Labour Court into a single body. Since 1 October 2015, when an employment law claim is initiated it will be heard by an adjudicator. Cases will be heard in private but will be reported on the Workplace Relations Commission website anonymously. Parties will not be required to give sworn evidence instead relying on oral and written submissions.  Appeals will be heard by the Labour Court with a further appeal only on a point of law to the High Court.

Parental leave

There are expected changes required in regards to the Family Leave Bill to consolidate and amend parental leave. Ireland currently has 18 weeks leave versus 36 weeks in the EU. The introduction of a full year’s paid parental leave, split between both parents, is under consideration.

Paternity leave

As part of Budget 2016 the Public Expenditure Minister said: “To recognise the needs of modern families and the role of fathers in the household, I am happy to announce that we will legislate for statutory paternity leave of two weeks.” It is expected that this leave will commence as of September 2016.

Retirement
The purpose of the Employment Equality (Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age) Bill 2014 is to amend the Employment Equality Act of 1998 to abolish mandatory retirement ages for people able and willing to continue in the role for which they were employed. The bill will also address the growing anomaly whereby people are retiring at 65 but have to wait a year or longer to receive access to State pensions. The right to work beyond 65 is guaranteed to be the subject of much debate in 2016.

Zero hours

The University of Limerick study was published which focuses on the prevalence of zero hour contracts amongst Irish employers. The HR Suite expects that there will be a lot of debate regarding the recommendations.

Protected Disclosures Act 2014

This was enacted on 15 July 2014. Ireland now has comprehensive whistle-blowing legislation in place to encourage and protect whistle-blowers who speak out against wrongdoing. It has practical implications for employers, for example there is compensation for unfair dismissal of up to five years’ salary.

EU Working Time Directive

A recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union has the potential to have significant ramifications for employers. The court has decided that certain categories of workers who travel from their homes to customers’ premises are considered to be working, for the purposes of the EU Working Time Directive while making those journeys. The decision applies to workers who do not have a fixed place of work and are required by their employers to travel to service clients. This is of major concern to employers going forward into 2016.

JLC

Following a consultation period with the security sector in November 2014 the Minister for Business and Employment signed the commencement order introducing the Security Employment Regulation Order (ERO). This takes effect from 1 October 2015. It was recently announced that the JLC for the Contract Cleaning Industry has published its proposals for the terms and conditions to be set for this industry. Aside from the financial impact, the EROs have more far-reaching implications and where an employer is found to be in breach of the ERO, they may be referred to the Workplace Relations Commission for appropriate action.

Industrial Relation (Amendment) Bill 2014:

This bill has yet to be passed and enacted. Trade unions will only be able to refer to Labour Court. Collective bargaining will be defined. The burden of proof will be shifted to the employer to show they are already engaged in collective bargaining. Where the employer says they are engaged in collective bargaining with an excepted body, the court will decide if they are genuinely independent of the employer. In addition, there will be enhanced protection for employees who feel they are being victimised for exercising their rights.


 

The HR Suite can advise you and your organisation how to be proactive in managing the new changes that are expected in 2016 that will impact on your business. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the company on 066 7102887.


 

 

 

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