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12
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Time Saving With Bright Contracts

Contracts. . . they are the pain point of every HR professional when recruiting new employees, processing promotions, extending contracts etc. To non HR professionals it may seem like typing up contracts is quick and easy work but this could not be further from the truth. The following are just some of the pain points I’ve had when typing up contracts, read and tick off any that may apply to you too when creating contracts of employment:

  • Formatting Issues
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Mis-matched Fonts
  • Saving Error: Corrupted file error meaning I have lost my entire document
  • Time consuming reading complete contract to check for errors
  • Printing Errors: Prints off centre or like a jigsaw puzzle making it frustrating to read

Well, how many points did you tick off that were applicable to you? If you found yourself even ticking off two of the above then you need Bright Contracts in your life as this software eliminates every single one of them pain points and produces a consistent, formatted, clean and compliant contract and handbook for each of your employees.

Read the below quick fire Q&A to gain an insight into what bright Contracts is, how it works and how it can help you with your contract and handbook creation:


What is Bright Contracts?
Bright Contracts is a software package that has everything you need to create and manage a professional staff handbook and contracts of employment. What was once traditionally an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process is now quick, easy and affordable with Bright Contracts.

Why should I use it?
Without employee contracts in place, an employer is risking large settlements in the case of staff disputes, and fines in the case of regulatory inspections. Having contracts also clearly defines the contractual relationship between you and your employees. Bright Contracts is the easiest way to get sorted.

What legislation is the software based on?
Bright Contracts has been written taking into account employment legislation across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main piece of legislation governing the content of Bright Contracts is The Employments Rights Act 1996 and The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. The legislation specifies that employees must receive written terms and conditions of employment and what these terms and conditions are. In addition Bright Contracts has taken cognizance of current best practices as well as all relevant legislation in the creation of the content of the contract and handbook. Legislation also requires that employers are provided with details of procedures relating to dismissal, disciplinary and grievances, all of which are covered in our documentation.

How do we know this system complies with requirements and what if the law changes?
The system content has been compiled and tested by HR/Employment law experts. The system will be updated with any changes in legislation, changes brought about by case law or changes in best practice. These updates will be flagged to all current users and will be free to download.

How many people can access Bright Contracts?
When a licence is purchased it comes with two activations which means it can be activated on two separate computers. Once these activations have been used they cannot be deactivated and reactivated on another device.

Do I print off the handbooks and contracts?
The simple answer is yes however if you are trying to reduce your paper foot print then you can also have the handbook and contracts of employment as a pdf document which can then be e-mailed or, if you use our Bright Pay Connect product you can upload the documents to the employee’s connect profile.

You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

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Posted in Bright Contracts News, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Law, Staff Handbook

11
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Changes under the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021

Following on from the signatory into law by the President on the 27th of March, new provisions under the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 were passed and as a result of these changes working parents are now entitled to additional time off under Parent’s Leave and adoptive couples can choose which parent can avail of Adoptive Leave.

What do these changes mean for employees?
Parent’s Leave
Paid parent’s Leave was initially introduced through the enactment of the Parent's Leave and Benefit Act 2019 and provided that 'relevant parents' of a child, born or adopted on or after 1st November 2019, were entitled to two weeks' paid leave, subject to eligibility, at a rate of €245 per week by the Department of Social Protection. A parent of a child born on or after 1st November 2019, a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the child’s parent, a parent of a donor-conceived child as provided for under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, an adopting parent or parents of a child or the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting parent of the child. If the parent has already taken their two-week entitlement, then they can take a further three weeks in 2021 (subject to the two year limit).

Prior to this change, the parent availing of the leave had to take their Parent’s Leave entitlement within 52 weeks of their child’s birth or, placement with their adoptive family. Following the enactment of the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021, as of April 1st 2021, parents are now entitled to five weeks leave under Parent’s Leave, which is an additional three weeks on the previous entitlement. The Act extends the period in which the leave can be taken, the leave can now be taken within the first two years after the birth or adoptive placement of a child. The purpose of this extension is to allow parents the opportunity to spend more time with their children during the first two years of their child’s life. Employers are not obliged to pay parents availing of Parent’s Leave; however, they can top-up the Parent’s Benefit if they wish.

Adoptive Leave
Under the Adoptive Leave Acts 1995 and 2005, an adopting mother or sole male adoptive parent, in employment, is entitled to 24 weeks of adoptive leave from work which begins on the day of the child’s placement. Under the Act, the adoptive parent can apply for an adoptive benefit payment from the Department of Social Protection. The enactment of the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 amends the Adoptive Leave Acts to enable adoptive couples to choose which parent may avail of adoptive leave therefore removing the assumption that the adopting mother is the primary caregiver.

As part of this entitlement, an additional 16 weeks leave is available to the adoptive parent but is not covered for state benefit. While employers are not obliged to pay employees who are on Adoptive Leave more favourable arrangements can be put in place.

What does this mean for employers?

There are now several options available to parents for leave which include the above, such as maternity leave, paternity leave and parental leave. Employees are fully covered by employment legislation while availing of any of these leave options and are therefore subject to the same protections and cannot be penalised in any way. Employers should review their contracts of employment and the appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that the recent changes have been applied and communicated to all employees at the earliest opportunity.

Related Articles:

Out of Hours Communication: The Right to Disconnect

Bullying in the Workplace: What constitutes as bullying?

Vaccinations and The Workplace

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Employment Law, News, Parental Leave

4
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Vaccine & The New World of Work Webinar

With vaccination rollout currently underway across Ireland employers are beginning to look at returning a number of their employees to the workplace over the coming months which means plans need to be in place and actions need to be carried out to ensure it is as smooth and safe a return as possible.

We recently hosted a webinar recently which detailed for our customers how best to tackle returning their employees to the workplace including implementing a vaccine policy. To view the webinar recording click below:

Bright Contracts has recently updated its software to include a COVID-19 vaccine policy applicable to any business/ industry. This policy is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Plan and Temporary Working From Home Policy currently available on Bright Contracts.

You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Customer Update, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Update, GDPR, Health & Safety, Software Upgrade

20
Apr 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

How To Manage Annual Leave Backlog

With the lifting of some restrictions on the 12th of April, the country hopes to see further easing of restrictions in the coming months. Unfortunately this most likely will not mean travel abroad will be possible however staycationing in our Emerald Isle may be the way forward for the rest of this year. Since covid hit many employees have been unable to take annual leave and therefore it has been accumulating, meaning there is a backlog of annual leave to be used which employers are unsure how to manage.

Annual Leave Entitlements
Regardless of whether employees are full-time, part-time, casual or temporary, they are all entitled to annual leave under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. Under this Act, the employer can decide the timing of an employee’s annual leave, providing the required notice and also taking into consideration the requirements of the business and the employee’s health and wellbeing.

In the coming months it is reasonable to assume that there will be an influx of annual leave requests therefore employers should revise their annual leave policies to ensure they remain valid and compliant with company policy and procedure. In some situations employers may also have annual leave carried over from the previous year to manage. In this instance, it is best practice for employers to be as flexible as possible to accommodate requests, particularly during these very tough times.

Annual Leave & Lay-off/ Short Time Working
Employees who were placed on lay-off during Covid-19 continue to accrue public holidays during the first thirteen weeks of the lay-off however they do not accrue annual leave during this period.

In relation to short time working, employees must meet the requirement of having worked a minimum of 40 hours in the five weeks prior to the public holiday in order to qualify for entitlement and to accrue annual leave pro-rata.

Annual Leave & The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme
If the employer is availing of The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme but their employees are working their normal hours then their employees continue to accrue public holidays as normal and therefore are entitled to their statutory annual leave entitlement based on the hours worked.

Annual Leave & Covid Symptoms
If an employee displays any symptoms of covid-19 they should first contact their GP then contact their employer to explain the situation and not return to the workplace for 14 days after first experiencing symptoms. Employees are entitled to sick pay if detailed in the terms & conditions of their employment however if the employer does not pay sick pay then employees should apply for the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit.

Employer Requests: Taking Annual Leave During Covid-19
An employer can request an employee to take annual leave however this should be done in consultation with the employee and in consideration of the business needs. If the company is experiencing challenges it is recommended not to force employees to take all of their annual leave entitlement as the company must take into consideration the employee’s health & wellbeing.

Refusing Annual Leave Requests: Travelling Abroad
If an employee is travelling outside of the country employers cannot refuse an annual leave request based on this. The employer can encourage compliance with government guidelines and public health advice in relation to travelling outside of the country.

However, the employer may have a basis for refusing an annual leave request in relation to restrictions when the employee returns to Ireland in terms of quarantining or 14-day movement restrictions and the impact either of these will have on the business depending on the sector and if the employee is remote working.

Bright Contracts has recently updated its software to include a COVID-19 vaccine policy applicable to any business/ industry. This policy is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Plan and Temporary Working From Home Policy currently available on Bright Contracts.
You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Webinar: The Vaccine & The New World of Work  Register Today!

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Vaccinations and The Workplace

Role Changing During COVID-19: Can employers ask this of their employees?

Out of Hours Communication: The Right to Disconnect

Returning Staff to Work

Posted in Annual Leave, Coronavirus, Employee Handbook

15
Apr 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Vaccinations and The Workplace

With vaccinations rolling out we expect to see the vast majority of healthy adults receiving the vaccine over late summer and early autumn. Thus, providing some optimism for employers who can start planning to return their employees to the workplace. This raises questions such as; can employer’s ensure employees’ health and safety when they return to the workplace? Can employers mandate that all their employees be vaccinated before returning?

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, it is the employer's responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees, therefore it is not unreasonable for an employer to want to have their workforce vaccinated. In November 2020, The Work Safely Protocol was introduced making it essential for employers to ensure these protocols are fully implemented if they intend on having their employees return to the workplace, subject to the restriction levels in force.

While it has been highly recommended by the Health & Safety Authority that everyone receives the Covid-19 vaccine, it is not mandatory in Ireland and it is a person’s fundamental right to bodily integrity which is covered under the Irish Constitution. This leaves employers in a challenging situation; while they are seeking to ensure they have a safe workplace for their employees, they cannot force their employees to get vaccinated and it is very unlikely that the Irish Government will introduce any laws stating employees are obliged to take the vaccine. Therefore, what are the main considerations for employers?

1.Assess the Risk

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, an employer must carry out a risk assessment of the workplace and any potential risks that have been identified must be addressed, The Work Safely Protocol should be adhered to in all workplaces. As scientists are still not clear on whether the vaccine prevents the spread of Covid-19 it is vitally important that employers insist that all employees follow the safety protocols in place whether they have been vaccinated or not.

Employees also have responsibilities under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act to work together with their employer to protect themselves and their colleagues from potential risks; this could reasonably include the risk of Covid-19 infection. Employees must adhere to all guidelines and protocols implemented by their employers.
Communication is crucial; while employers cannot force their employees to get vaccinated, they can emphasise the importance of the vaccine to their employees and that it would help to return business to normal. Employers should also provide as much information from appropriate sources to educate and inform their employees. An employer may also highlight legitimate circumstances where vaccination is not recommended.

 2. Avoid Potential Discrimination

Under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2011, employees are protected from discrimination on the nine grounds including religion, age and disability. An employee may decide not to get the vaccine for a number of reasons that would fall under these specific grounds, such as a medical condition or their religious beliefs. Therefore, it is important to note that any mandate by an employer that employees need to take the vaccine could constitute discrimination under this Act.

3.Managing Employees who Refuse Vaccination

There is little an employer can do if their employee refuses to get the vaccine however, understanding their concerns is important and finding solutions that meet the business needs without infringing on their rights is crucial in managing their integration into the workplace. Extending remote working may be a solution however this may not be viable for all sectors of your company. Employers need to think carefully about any action they take and consider the potential legal consequences associated with these actions.

4.Data Protection Concerns

As part of assessing the risks, employers will certainly want to know who has or has not been vaccinated before bringing employees back to the workplace. In order to process this personal data, there must be a legal basis to do so, the grounds for which are set out in Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulations. Employees are not legally obliged to provide personal medical information.

While employees are not obliged to provide personal medical information, employers may seek vaccination information on the foundation that they are meeting their legal obligations under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Acts. It will be up to the employee if they wish to volunteer this information to their employer. If they choose to volunteer this information, then employers should not disclose this information to other employees. As this type of medical information falls under the sensitive category of Special Category Personal Data, then under GDPR and data protection laws there are additional protections afforded to the processing of this information. If an employee volunteers the fact that they have not nor intend to avail of the vaccine, it should be emphasized that there may be legitimate medical reasons why someone may not receive the vaccine.

In conclusion, given the fact the vast majority of the working population will not be returning to the workplace until later this year, it is hoped that the vast majority will have availed of the vaccine. However, communication and planning are essential in ensuring a smooth transition when the return to the workplace occurs. Employers must ensure health and safety policies and procedures are updated, risk assessments are carried out and adhering to the Work Safely Protocol, all of which are essential in getting people back into the workplace. Remember to be mindful and respectful of an individual’s right to not avail of the vaccine and plan accordingly by offering alternative working arrangements where appropriate and avoid any situation which may constitute discrimination thus leading to legal issues.

Bright Contracts has recently updated its software to include a COVID-19 vaccine policy applicable to any business/ industry. This policy is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Plan and Temporary Working From Home Policy currently available on Bright Contracts.
You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Webinar: The Vaccine & The New World of Work          Register Today!

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Posted in Bright Contracts News, Coronavirus

9
Apr 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Role Changing During COVID-19: Can employers ask this of their employees?

An employer can expect its employees to carry out different roles within the business where their contract of employment permits this. The employer should consider the relevant job descriptions to see if they comprise of the proposed changes, or if the contract contains a flexibility clause that allows the employer to vary the employees' roles and/or duties. If the employment contract does not allow for this, employers must be aware of the difficulties of imposing contractual changes which could potentially result in claims for constructive unfair dismissal. Any changes to the contract of employment should therefore should be undertaken with early consultation and with a view to reaching agreement with employees.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, employees may be more prepared to accept changes to their contract of employment where there is an imperative need for the work to be carried out, or where the viability of the business may be at risk. Employees may be willing to take on different roles if they are aware that it is for a brief period. The employer should be as transparent as possible with employees about the duration of any changes to their roles. An employee may be seen as having agreed to contractual changes if they carry out the varied role without any complaint.

Employers should ensure that suitable training is provided to any employees who may be required to carry out unfamiliar tasks and a risk assessment should be carried out to cover the temporary redeployment. For example, young or pregnant workers should not be substituted into inappropriate work.

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Posted in Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Employee Contracts

30
Mar 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Bullying in the Workplace: What constitutes as bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work.

Examples of bullying behaviour includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Exclusion with negative consequences
  • Verbal abuse/insults
  • Being treated less favourably than colleagues in similar roles
  • Belittling a person’s opinion
  • Disseminating malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo
  • Socially excluding or isolating a person within the work sphere
  • Intrusion - pestering, spying or stalking
  • Intimidation/aggressive interactions
  • Excessive monitoring of work
  • Withholding information necessary for proper performance of a person's job
  • Repeatedly manipulating a person's job content and targets
  • Blaming a person for things beyond their control
  • Use of aggressive and obscene language

What is not considered workplace bullying?

An isolated incident of the behaviour described in the above definition may offend dignity at work, but, as a once off incident, is not considered to be bullying. Workplace bullying should meet the criteria of an on-going series of accumulation of seriously, negative, targeted behaviours against a person or persons to damage their esteem and standing in a harmful, continuous way.

Under the Code, the following examples set out behaviours that do not constitute as bullying:

  • Expressing differences of opinion strongly
  • Offering unwelcome constructive feedback, guidance, or advice about work-related behaviour
  • Ordinary performance management
  • Acceptable corrective action taken by an employer/ supervisor which relates to the management and direction of an employee (for example, an employer managing a worker’s performance, taking reasonable disciplinary action against the employee, or assigning the employee work)
  • Complaints relating to instructions issued by a manager, assignment of duties, terms and conditions of employment or other matters, which are appropriate for referral under other normal grievance procedures, do not constitute bullying.

How does bullying manifest in the workplace?

Workplace bullying ought to meet the criteria of a reoccurring cycle and accumulation of negative directed behaviours against a person or persons to damage their esteem and standing in a harmful, sustained way. A pattern and trend are involved so that a reasonable person would regard such behaviour as clearly wrong, undermining and humiliating. Bullying activities involve actions and behavioural patterns, directly or indirectly, spoken and/or written and could include the use of cyber or digital means for the goal of bullying.

The Bright Contracts Handbook has now been updated to reflect the bullying code of practice for employers and employees on the prevention and resolution of bullying in the workplace. To access the update, log out of your Bright Contracts company file and log back in, you will then see a yellow bar across the top of the page asking you if you would like to upgrade the content.

 If you are not a Bright Contracts customer but are looking to adopt or change your HR Software please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.


Posted in Bright Contracts News, Bullying and Harassment, Company handbook

18
Mar 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Parent's Leave & Benefit Act 2019: Extension of Leave

The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 came into effect on the 1st of November 2019 and provides for 2 weeks Parent’s Leave with protection of employment for a relevant parent in respect of a child born or adopted on or after the 1st of November 2019. The purpose of the Act is to enable the relevant parent to provide, or assist in the provision of, care to the child.


In acknowledgement of the difficulties experienced by parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet has announced that parents of children born or adopted from the 1st of November 2019 can avail of an additional three weeks of Parent's leave from April 2021 and will be paid at the rate of €245 a week. The benefit is now for five week’s paid leave for each parent up to their child's 2nd birthday which can be taken as either five consecutive weeks or in smaller separate block of a minimum of 1 week duration each.

 

Currently the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 sets out the entitlements and criteria applicable to Parent’s Leave available to the relevant parent. Eligibility for Parent’s Leave depends on the employee meeting specific criteria including the following,

  • The employee’s status as a relevant parent,
  • The employee taking the leave within 52 weeks of the birth of the child or in the case of adoption, from the placement date, and,
  • The employee providing certain notice requirements.

Entitlement to leave is for a relevant parent which is:

  • A parent of the child
  • A spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the parent of the child
  • A parent of a donor-conceived child as provided for under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015
  • The adopting parent or parents of a child
  • The spouse or civil partner of the adopting parent of the child (if the parents have not adopted the child together).

Parent’s Benefit can be applied for at any time to be taken within the first 2 years the child’s life and does not need to be taken directly after maternity leave, paid or unpaid. This leave can be taken within 24 months, up to a child's second birthday or within two years following adoption. This measure will be available from April 2021 as it requires primary legislation to commence the extension of the parent’s leave and the development of the IT system to process the benefit.

Paid parent leave can be taken in addition to existing Maternity Leave, Adoptive Leave, Paternity Leave and Parental Leave rights, as applicable to each "relevant" parent.

To exercise the right to Parent’s Leave, the employee must give their employer at least 6 week’s written notice of their intention to take the leave. To apply for Parent's Leave visit here.

View entitlements under Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit.

If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Customer Update, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Parental Leave, Staff Handbook

12
Mar 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Out of Hours Communication: The Right to Disconnect

In line with government health guidance and roadmap for the re-opening of business activities, Employers and Employees alike moved quickly to flexible working arrangements for over the past year. While some Companies have remained in a remote working space, others are introducing a hybrid form of remote and office working.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has increased by almost 30% which is expected to remain high or even rise. Research by Eurofound, an agency of the European Union, indicates that people who work from home on a regular basis are more than twice as likely to exceed the maximum of 48 working hours per week, compared to those working in the office. Almost 30% of those working from home reported they work in their free time every day or a number of times a week, compared to less than 5% of office workers.

With the prospect of remote working becoming more normalised, Employers must ensure safety, health and well-being are a priority as a company’s legal duty of care still applies when Employees are working from home. Employers need to be mindful of the employee’s right to disconnect as remote working has the potential to distort the boundaries between work and home spatially.

In August 2019, the Government announced their intention to introduce legislation which would ensure Employees have the right to disconnect and no longer feel the obligation to check work-related emails outside office hours. A Code of Practice on the ‘Right to Disconnect’ has been proposed before the Dáil which if passed will amend some statutory provisions of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 and application of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005.

Organisation of Working Time (Amendment) (Right to Disconnect) Bill 2020

Section 15 of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997 is amended through the provision of:

  • the right to disconnect from work related e-mails, texts or calls outside of working hours.
  • implementation of a right to disconnect policy establishing hours to disconnect
  • the production of a report on the right to disconnect detailing ways to:

                  - minimise out of hours contact.
                  - establish a standby allowance.
                  - deliver an overtime payment.
                 - ensure all working time does not exceed 48 hours.

This amendment to the Act will make it an offence for an employee to be reprimanded, punished, or subjected to disciplinary action if they ignore a work-related communication sent outside of normal working hours, unless already agreed under the terms and conditions of a relevant right to disconnect policy.

The responsibility for Health and Safety at work rests with the employer regardless of whether an employee works remotely therefore it is good practice to ensure employees know how to protect themselves from potential injury and ill health during this time and that they understand their health and safety obligations whilst working remotely.

On April 1st 2021, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Employment Leo Varadkar signed the new code of practice on the right to disconnect meaning the code comes into effect immediately and will be admissible in evidence in proceedings before a court.

 The Code states that the Right to Disconnect Policy should be referenced in an employee’s contract of employment in the same way as any other company policy would. The Code also states that, where appropriate, a company’s Policy should recognise that certain businesses and roles do not always operate on a standard hours basis but in a manner responsive to customer needs where flexibility is required to meet business needs, and as agreed in the employee’s terms of employment. Employers with operations in multiple time zones may consider putting agile working arrangements on a more formalised footing with a view to ensuring balance between the need for clarity in relation to employees’ ‘normal working hours’, and the employer’s operational needs.

It will be important for employers to ensure that the policy is ‘equality proofed’ in order to avoid unintended negative consequences and to ensure that it does not result in employees being directly or indirectly discriminated against on any of the protected grounds under the Employment Equality Acts 1998 - 2015.

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Posted in Bright Contracts News, Employment Law

15
Oct 20

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Parent’s Leave increases to 5 weeks

Budget 2021 announced that parent’s leave is to increase from 2 weeks to 5 weeks. It is expected that this change will be effective from April 2021.

What is Parent’s Leave

Parent’s leave entitles each parent to additional leave during the first year of a child’s life / first year of an adoption placement. It is generally not permissible for parents to transfer the leave to the other parent. Parent’s leave may be taken as one block or in single weekly blocks. Parents should give at least 6 weeks’ notice of their intention to take the leave.

Where an employee is entitled to take another form of family leave, such as maternity leave, additional maternity leave, adoptive leave or paternity leave, the parent’s leave must start the day immediately following the end of the appropriate family leave.

Pay and other benefits during Parent’s Leave

Eligible parents will be entitled to statutory parent’s leave pay, currently €245 per week. Employers are not obliged to top-up this payment.

Employment rights are preserved during parent’s leave, including annual leave which will continue to accrue.

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