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4
Apr 18

Posted by
Lauren Conway

How long should you retain employee data under GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on 25th May 2018, legislation with new rules and guidelines on how to protect and process personal data. Employee personal data held may include: name, address, phone number, email address, emergency contact details, PPS number, bank account details etc.

The GDPR requires that when retaining and processing personal data there must be lawful reasoning for doing so. In terms of processing employee data employers are likely to rely on a number of lawful reasons, mainly: to fulfill contractual obligations, legal obligations or other legitimate interests. Under data protection legislation employee data should be kept for no longer than is necessary, for the purpose that it was retained. However, when deciding how long to retain personal data employers should be guided by employment legislation.

So how long should I retain employee data?

Written Terms of Employment – 1 year

Employers must retain a copy of this statement throughout the employee’s employment and for one year after termination at a minimum.

Payroll details and Payslips – 6 years

Records, calculations and documents relating to the value of benefits for employees must be kept for 6 years in the event of an audit by Revenue. The WRC may also inspect these in an audit and seek evidence that employees are supplied with payslips.

Hours of Work – 3 years

Details of days and hours worked each week, annual leave and public holidays taken and payment received for same. Rest break records and/or records of notification of employees being fully informed about rest break entitlement and procedures if rest break is unable to be taken.

Maternity and Adoptive Leave Records – none

While there is no set period of the retention of data on maternity leave or adoptive leave records, claims can be made within 6 months of employers being informed of an issue giving rise to a dispute or extended to 12 months in exceptional circumstances.

Parental Leave – 8 years

Records of Parental Leave, including the period of employment of each employee and the dates and times of the leave taken, must be retained for 8 years.

A more detailed list of Employee Record Keeping Requirements can be viewed here.

Where legislation gives no guidance on record keeping requirements, employers should carefully predetermine, and include in any employee privacy notice, how long and the grounds they will use for retaining that data. For example; an employer may decide to retain all performance review records for the entire duration of an employee’s employment to monitor employee performance.

Whatever the reasoning behind retaining employee data – whether it be legal or other business reasons, employers need to ensure they have a clear policy outlining their reasoning, that this is easily accessible to employees and that the policy is consistently applied.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here.
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here.

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Records, Employment Tribunals, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation, Parental Leave, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

22
Mar 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

New SEO giving enhanced employment rights for plumbers and fitters

As of 6th March 2018 a new Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) came into force for those working in the Mechanical Engineering Building Services Contracting Sector.

What is an SEO?

SEOs now replace the old Registered Employment Agreement system which was ruled unconstitutional in 2013. This is the second SEO that has been enacted after the Construction Industry SEO was introduced last October. The SEO sets out increased employment rights for those working in the industry.

Who exactly does this SEO apply to?

It is estimated that the SEO will apply to 10,000 plumbers and pipefitters and registered apprentice plumbers and pipefitters, working in the Sector.

New hourly wage rates

Category 1: Newly qualified plumbers and pipefitters €22.73
Category 2: Qualified plumbers and pipefitters employed in the Sector with effect from the commencement
of their 3rd year of employment after qualification as a plumber or pipefitter
€23.33
Category 3: Qualified plumbers and pipefitters employed in the Sector with effect from the
commencement of their 6th year of employment after qualification as a plumber or pipefitter
€23.60


The rates for apprentices in the Sector has also been increased, with rates of 33.3% of the Category 1 hourly rate of pay for Year 1 Apprentices to 90% of the Category 1 hourly rate of pay for Year 4 Apprentices.

Normal Working Week and Unsociable Hours

The normal working week shall consist of 39 hours worked between Monday and Friday each week.

Normal Daily Working Hours

Normal daily working hours shall consist of eight consecutive hours of work undertaken between the hours of 7 am (normal weekday starting time) and 5 pm (normal weekday finishing time) Monday — Thursday inclusive and between the hours of 7 am (normal Friday starting time) and 4 pm (normal Friday finishing time) on Friday.

Other Hours Worked

Hours worked outside of those hours shall constitute unsocial working hours and shall attract the following premium payments:

Hours worked between normal finishing time and Midnight Monday to Friday inclusive: Time plus a half
Hours worked between Midnight and normal starting time Monday to Friday: Double time
First four hours worked after 7 am on Saturday: Time plus a half
All other hours worked on Saturday: Double time
All hours worked on Sunday: Double time
All hours worked on Public Holidays: Double time plus an additional day’s leave


Other Employment Rights

  • Pension and death-in-service benefit
  • Sick Pay Scheme
  • New Dispute Resolution Procedure: this outlines certain procedures that have to be complied with when a dispute occurs, before any form of industrial action can take place.

What do employers need to do now?

The SEO is legally binding on all employers in the Sector, whether or not they are members of a union and whether or not they agree with the SEO. Employers will need to review their payment practices and employment terms and conditions to ensure that they comply with the new requirements.

12
Mar 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

St. Patrick's Day 2018 - Employers; is it Saturday 17th or Monday 19th?

This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday, leaving many businesses confused as to how the benefit for St. Patrick’s Day should be given. We’ve clarified what you need to know here:

Monday 19th March 2018 may be a Bank Holiday, in that the banks are closed, but it is a normal working day and not a Public Holiday, Saturday 17th is the Public Holiday. Many businesses that operate Monday to Friday will honour Monday 19th as the holiday and close that day, but this is not a mandatory requirement. It is a requirement that full-time employees, and eligible part-time employees, are given their public holiday statutory entitlement for Saturday 17th March.

What is the Statutory Entitlement?

An employee is entitled to their employer’s choice of the following in respect of a public holiday:

  • A paid day off on that day
  • A paid day off within a month of that day
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay

Open for business on 17th March & 19th March?

Businesses that are open for business on Saturday 17th March should treat Saturday 17th March as the Public Holiday. Employees who are scheduled to work on that day should receive one of the last three options above. Employees who are not scheduled to work on 17th March may receive any of the four options. In this situation, there will be no further requirement to offer an additional benefit on Monday 19th March, this will be seen as a regular day.

 

Bright ContractsThesaurus Payroll Software | BrightPay Payroll Software

7
Mar 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

GDPR FAQ's Answered!

The General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on 25 of May 2018. It is legislation with new rules and guidelines on how to protect and process personal data. It is replacing existing data protection regulations that dated back as far as 1988 – obviously pre-dating the era of internet and social media as we currently know it. We are all having to evolve; amending policies and changing how things are done to take into account the new GDPR rules, so here are some of the queries we are receiving into our Bright Contracts support lines on GDPR which you may find useful:

Does GDPR apply to me?

If you are a company in this country, if your company is a sole trader or a limited company, if you have employee’s working for you or customer’s paying you, then you will more than likely hold some form of personal data belonging to them (i.e. a name, an address, a PPS number, a VAT number) If you hold anything that could be classed as personal data then the new GDPR will apply to you.

What is Personal Data?

Personal Data is defined as, “any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’ that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a person.”

It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address. (This is not an exhaustive list by any means) So, do you hold any of that type of information in your company? Of course you do; whether it is your clients, your customers or your employees. Somewhere along the line you will be dealing with personal data.

What rights do employees have under the GDPR?

As Data Subjects*, employees will have new and enhanced rights under the GDPR. The key rights in relation to employees include:

• The right to be informed: this emphasizes the need for transparency in how personal data is used. Employers should now be looking to revise their data protection policies and to implement new employee privacy policies outlining exactly what data is being held on employees.

• The right of access – there are amended rights surrounding an employee’s right to submit a data subject access request. A data subject access request involves an employee requesting to view all data retained on them, this will include data stored electronically and on paper files.

  • Time-frame for response has been reduced from 40 days to one month. 
  • It will no longer be permissible to charge a fee in order to respond to a subject access request.

• The right to rectification: individuals are entitled to have personal data rectified if it is inaccurate or incomplete. In fact it is recommended here that employers take steps to put the onus on employees to update their personal details should they change. For example, authorities will look unfavourably on employers who are communicating with employees through an old address having made no effort to ensure the address is correct. Employers are well advised to include a clause in employment contracts outlining the employee’s responsibility to notify the employer of a change in personal details.

• The right to erasure, also known as the right to be forgotten. The broad principle being that an individual has the right to request deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason to retain the data e.g. a legal requirement to retain employee data will always be a compelling reason to retain data.

* Data Subject: “an individual who is the subject of the personal data”.

Bright Contracts employee compliant GDPR policies are coming soon!

  • If you would like to be notified when they are complete please click here
  • For further information register now for our GDPR webinars here
  • Read our GDPR blogs  here

 

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

2
Mar 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Bad Weather equals staffing headaches – what can be done?

With the recent bad weather, many businesses across the country have been forced to close or get by with skeleton staff. The question now on most employer’s minds is do they have to pay staff who are unable to come into work, whether because of workplace closure or inability to travel.

Answer

There is no legal obligation on employers to pay their employees if the business was forced to close due to extreme weather conditions or if employees were unable to travel to work due to bad weather. However, it is important to be aware of any custom and practice in the organisation or contractual clause, which may override this position.

The general advice to employers is to be as flexible as possible. The handling of bad weather and travel disruption can be a real opportunity for an employer to boost staff morale and show yourself as an all round fair employer. Possible considerations might include:

  • Can you be flexible with regard to working hours or working patterns?
  • Is it possible for employees to work from home or even at a different location?
  • Would it be possible for the employee to work back the time missed at a later date?
  • Rather than deducting pay for time missed you could offer that the employee take annual leave for the time. Whilst offering this as a solution is recommended, enforcing it without the agreement of the employee would not be best practice. 

A company policy on absence due to inclement weather should address the situation where employees are unable to attend work, due to weather-related circumstances. Having such a policy should also mean there is much less scope for confusion and disagreement.

An Inclement Weather policy is available within the Optional Sections of the Bright Contracts Handbook.

28
Feb 18

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Come visit us at the Irish Beauty Show!

Due to severe weather conditions The Irish Beauty Show has been postponed until 8th- 9th April 2018.

Bright Contracts will be at the Irish Beauty Show, RDS, Dublin on the 4th and 5th March. Come visit us at stand K49 to have a chat about how Bright Contracts can help your business. You can also attend our "HR Clinic: How to Survive a Workplace Inspection (WRC)" at the demo stage on Monday from 10:45 - 11:15 am.

In 2016 53% of businesses in the Hair and Beauty industry failed Workplace Relation Commission (WRC) inspections with failing to keep adequate employment records the most common breach at 62%. Bright Contracts is the go-to software solution for SMEs that creates and manages a professional staff handbook and contracts of employment so come and have a chat with us about how we can help you get your contracts in place and be prepared for a WRC inspection.

Everyone we speak to at the show can avail of:

  • 20% off Bright Contracts
  • Free demo the Bright Contracts software
  • Free trial of Bright Contracts
  • Sign up for our free GDPR webinar
  • Register to our newsletter to hear about our free webinars and events, industry updates and special offers across our range of products.

Keeping appropriate employment records is not just a legal requirement but is also protection for both you and your employees. Not having records in place leaves you at a distinct disadvantage in the event of a dispute and at risk of failing an inspection.

1
Feb 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

New Code of Practice on Longer Working

Case 1

Paul Quigley, a highly regarded GP in addiction services in the North Dublin HSE was recently granted an injunction by the High Court to stop the HSE from forcing him to retire. His lawyers are claiming the forced retirement amounts to age discrimination.

Case 2

A WRC adjudicator recently ruled that Susan Devereaux, who was forced to retire from her job, should be re-instated in her role with Pdforra, as the employer had failed to ‘objectively justify’ its reasons for dismissing her when she reached the age of 60.

Case 3

A Bookkeeper who was ‘retired’ by her employer on reaching the age of 66 has been awarded €12,000 in an age discrimination case she took against her employer.

These are just a few of the cases relating to forced retirement that has come up in the courts over the last few months. They have brought attention to the fact that these now ‘retired’ workers were sometimes unable to claim the State pension as they may not have reached the eligible age to do so. At the moment private sector workers in Ireland can start to receive the State pension at the age of 66, this will rise to 67 in 2021 and again to 68 in 2028.

The Workplace Relations Commission has now published a Code of Practice, Industrial Relations Act 1990 (Code of Practice on Longer Working)(Declaration) Order 2017. The Code can now be used to help employer’s when dealing with retirement and requests to work beyond the retirement age. Although not legally binding, any employer who does not follow the guidelines will need to be able to justify the reasoning behind it.

On publishing the new Code of Practice, the WRC has set out what should be taken into consideration when it comes to retirement in the workplace:

Utilising the skills, abilities and experience of older workers

  • Draw on benefits of older workers and utilize through training and knowledge sharing with younger members of staff.
  • Train all management about age diversity and the benefits of such diversity in the workplace

Objective Justification

  • If a mandatory retirement age is set within a company, the employer must be able to ‘objectively justify’ the reason for it, examples may include health and safety, intergenerational fairness.

Set out a step by step ‘Retirement Process’

  • Set timelines and give adequate notice prior to retirement date
  • Explore transitional arrangements like flexible working, alternative roles up to date of retirement.

Requests to work longer

  • Need to be seen to be taken into consideration
  • Procedures set in place for acceptance and refusal of requests to work after set retirement age.

As a whole we are all living longer so it seems only natural that we would also be allowed to work for longer? This new Code of Practice will be very important going forward for Irish Employment legislation and employer’s alike.

For more information please click here


To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook

23
Jan 18

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Is it discrimination to top up maternity pay but not paternity pay?

September 2016 saw the introduction of Paternity Leave, that for the first time ever allowed fathers/partners to take two weeks paid leave on the birth of a child / placement of a child for adoption. Paternity Leave is paid at the same rate as Maternity Pay, currently €235 per week*, leaving it up to employers to decide whether or not they wish to top-up pay during the two weeks leave. The question then arose that if by topping up maternity leave, would an employer by default have to top up paternity pay?

A recent Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) case involving a transport company, provides useful guidance on the answer to this question.

In this case a male employee brought a case under the Employment Equality Act claiming discrimination on the grounds of gender due to the fact that the employer topped up maternity pay but did not top up paternity pay.

However the WRC Adjudicator held in favour of the Company, stating that maternity leave is different to paternity leave and that “the special protection afforded to women in connection with pregnancy and maternity is embedded in European and Irish law”. The Adjudicator concluded that the employer was entitled to make special provisions for women at the time of maternity leave and was protected in that regard by the Employment Equality Acts.

Conclusion

This case gives the green light to employers who wish to offer a maternity top up but not offer the same for paternity leave. Whatever it is you decide on, employers are advised to have clear paternity and maternity leave policies in place that is accessible to all employees.

*The rate of maternity/paternity pay will increase to €240 per week from end of March 2018.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Discrimination, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

16
Jan 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

€15k awarded in discrimination case to pregnant employee

The Labour Court found that the sacking of a manager from Wrights of Howth’s Crabby Jo’s restaurant was tainted with discrimination and have awarded compensation of €15,000.

Background

The employee was on a 6 month probationary period when she was fired just 3 months into her employment, very shortly after informing her bosses that she was pregnant.

No issues had been raised about the employee’s performance, however poor work performance was used as the reason for her dismissal on the 15th of June. The employee felt that the atmosphere had changed completely after she had announced her pregnancy on the 8th of May, she had requested a meeting to discuss her concerns she had over this. She was given no opportunity to make any representations or defend her position and was simply informed, without warning, that her employment was terminated.

In its ruling, the court found that no issues had previously been raised about the employee’s performance prior to her notifying them that she was pregnant and she had not been subject to any disciplinary warnings or action. The court originally awarded €30,000 for discrimination based on gender, however this decision was appealed and a lesser figure of €15,000 compensation was awarded due to the manner of the dismissal and the serious lacking in adherence to the restaurant’s own disciplinary procedures.

Learning points

It is important to recognise that disciplinary procedures must be followed at all times, regardless of how simple or difficult a situation may seem to be. It can end up being a very expensive mistake for an employer. Bright Contracts has comprehensive Disciplinary and Grievance procedures, customisable to companies requirements, built into the software.

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Discrimination, Dismissals, Employee Handbook, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

8
Jan 18

Posted by
Lauren Conway

The countdown to the GDPR is on!

With less than 5 month to go before the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force employers are urged to start preparing immediately if they haven’t already done so.

What is it?

The GDPR is a European privacy regulation replacing all existing data protection regulations and will come into play on 25 May 2018. The aim of the GDPR is to protect all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world.

The GDPR applies to all businesses including sole traders that process personal data (a name, photo, email address, bank details etc.) so it is safe to say that it will affect all businesses in some way. Employers are advised to be prepared otherwise they will face fines of up to €20M or 4% of annual global revenue, whichever is greater, for non-compliance. So how can you start preparing to ensure your business is fully compliant?

Preparation

A good starting point for preparing for GDPR is to create an inventory of all personal data held and answer the following questions:

• Why are you holding the data?
• What is the legal basis for holding the data?
• How is the data obtained?
• Why the data was originally gathered?
• How long is the data held for?
• How is the data saved? Is it saved securely?
• Is the data shared with anyone else and with whom?

As the GDPR requires organisations to be in a position to demonstrate compliance with its requirements, documenting the above will enable employers to:

• Identify and gaps in compliance
• Put in place processes to rectify gaps
• Produce evidence of its compliance on the new GDPR

In preparation for GDPR you must be aware of your data protection responsibilities and ensure that all employees are aware of their responsibilities when processing data. Ensure that you have an up to date data protection/privacy policies addressing the six principles of GDPR and apply it to your organisation.

For further information register now for our GDPR webinars  here
And read our GDPR blogs here

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Company handbook, Employee Handbook, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

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