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Blog  »  August 2013
30
Aug 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Whistleblowing Legislation – Be Prepared

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.

Bright Contracts – Employment contracts and handbooks
BrightPay – Payroll Software

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employment Contract, Employment Update

23
Aug 13

Posted by
Ann Tighe

Employer’s Checklist for NERA Inspections

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?)

4. Have you given all your employees a written statement of terms and conditions of employment?

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?

Bright Contracts – Employment contracts and handbooks
BrightPay – Payroll Software

Posted in Contract of employment, Employment Contract, NERA, Payroll

22
Aug 13

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

No show - big dough!

At a recent Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), the Tribunal’s determination for claims under unfair dismissal, minimum notice and working time legislation in respect of a Claimants (employee) employment, was based entirely on the fact that the Respondent (Employers representative) did not show up.

In this case the Claimant was awarded compensation under the unfair dismissal claim of; €28,000. The Claimant was also awarded €2,200 for the claim under the Organisation of Working Time Act5, 1997 and again €2,200 under the claim for Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act 1973-2005.

The Tribunal had no alternative but allow the claims, given there was no representation of the circumstances given by the Respondent.

This employer may have made a simple mistake by noting an incorrect date for the Tribunal, resulting in a hefty pay-out.

Read more at www.eatribunal.ie >

Posted in Contract of employment, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Staff Handbook

19
Aug 13

Posted by
Gerri McGinley

Can Employees Be Paid Less Than The Minimum Wage?

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

Or

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.

Bright Contracts – Employment contracts and handbooks
BrightPay – Payroll Software

Posted in Contract of employment, Employment Contract, Payroll, Wages

14
Aug 13

Posted by
Alan Kelly

Zero hours contracts and the difference between Ireland and the UK

There has been a lot of discussion in the UK surrounding Zero Hour Contracts, after it has been reported that more than 1,000,000 in the UK are working under zero hours contract, which is 750,000 more than the Government had estimated.  Questions have been raised over whether or not these are the right types of contracts for staff? and is the Irish experience different.

In the UK an employer can ask an employee to make themselves available for a set amount of hours each week but if they cannot provide hours there is no issue from the employers point of view, however the Irish experience of zero hours contracts are somewhat different. The same basic principle remains where an employer asks an employee to make themselves available for a set amount of hours and the employer is under no obligation to provide work, however, under Section 18 of the Organisation of Working Time Act,1997, if an employer cannot provide the employee with the contracted hours they are required to pay the employee at least 25% of the contracted hours or 15 hours (whichever is less).

This is how the Irish experience differs from the UK, as there is no remuneration payable to the employee in the UK if the employer cannot provide them with the contracted hours.

When looking at whether or not these are the right types of contracts for employees, you must look at the overall context of each industry, in some cases this will work out in the employees favour to have this flexibility, yet in other cases there is no security in income or hours each week which can be difficulty for more established workers, who have responsibilities and bills to be mindful of.

Unlike the UK experience employers in Ireland would be advised to steer clear of zero hours contract unless necessary, the requirement for remuneration leave an employers hands tied in that where no work is available there is still a requirement to compensate the employee.

A useful alternative to a zero hours contract would be a Casual hours contract, where the hours can vary each week in accordance with business needs, however where no work is available it is essentially a case of temporary layoff for the employee.

Posted in Contract of employment, Employment Contract

12
Aug 13

Posted by
Gerri McGinley

New Funding for Irish Employers

The Government has developed a Microfinance Fund to assist start-up and growing enterprises across all sectors with 10 or less employees. Loans of €25,000 are available to companies  considered to be commercially viable even though they may not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by commercial banks. Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have been refused credit by a commercial lending institution before their application is considered.

The new fund will generate €90 million in new lending to 5,500 micro enterprises which will support 7,700 new jobs. Borrowers will pay a commercial interest rate. For more information see www.microfinanceireland.ie.

Bright Contracts – Employment contracts and handbooks
BrightPay – Payroll Software

Posted in SME, Start-up