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Blog  »  January 2017
Jan 17

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Lay-Off and Short Time Working

A shortage or work, or a temporary lull in business is not an uncommon feature for many employers. However how to manage such events can be tricky.

Staffing is one of the first concerns that employers will likely need to address, particularly when cost savings need to be made.

Lay-off and short-term working arrangements are therefore popular with employers looking for a solution to a temporary issue, rather than the more permanent option of redundancy.

Lay off: A lay-off situation arises where you are temporarily unable to provide work for your employees. Lay-off could result in work halting and no pay in relevant roles, alternatively it may be a pattern such as one week on, one week off, or working three out of four weeks.

Short-time: A short-time situation arises where, due to a reduction in the amount of work available, you reduce employees pay or hours to less than half their normal weekly amount.


An employee who has been laid-off or placed on short-time for four or more consecutive weeks, or for an aggregate total of 6 weeks in a 13 week period, can give written notice (through the form RP) to their employer indicating their intention to claim redundancy.

Upon receipt of such notice the employer can:

  • Accept and pay the redundancy lump sum thereby accepting that there is a termination of employment
  • Counter notice within 7 days, confirming that within 4 weeks the employee will be employed for a period of 13 consecutive weeks.

Notifying Employees of Use Lay-off or Short-time Working

As an employer you do not have an automatic right to lay-off employees or place them on short-time working. To do so without having an express term in the contract of employment, or without an established custom and practice, may well be seen as a breach of contract, particularly if agreement is not reached with effected employees. You may also be at risk of constructive dismissal claims or payment of wages claims.

Employers who feel their business is subject to fluctuating workloads are well advised to include a lay-off and short-term clause as standard in their contracts of employment.

Additionally, good communication is highly recommended. Informing staff of the situation will not be pleasant, but they should receive clear and honest communication from management. Failure to do so will more than likely result in an extremely disengaged, unmotivated workforce, particularly when they return to normal working.

There is no minimum notice required for lay-off or short-time, however employees should be given as much notice as possible, to allow them organise their own financial situation.

Once the final decision has been made, employees should be formally notified using the Form RP9.

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Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Jan 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Annual Progress Report from WRC: 2015 - 2016

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has recently published a progress report on its first year in operation (October 2015 - Septetmber 2016). The report outlines the statistics and trends of labour law over the 12 month period and gives some insight into the types of cases being dealt with and how the WRC operates in practice.

Customer Support

The WRC Information and Customer Service department received more than 62,000 calls, ranging from queries related to work permits, working hours, payment of wages, etc. 69% of the calls were made by employees working in a range of different industries.

Top most popular queries

  • Employment permits
  • Working Hours
  • Complaint Enquiries
  • Terms of Employment 
  • Payment of Wages

Caller Type Breakdown

  • Employees = 69%
  • Employers = 21%
  • Citizens Information Centres = 4%
  • Employee Representatives = 3%
  • Employer Representatives = 2%
  • Other = 1%

Conciliation Service

The WRC Conciliation Service received a total of 1,124 referrals in the 12 months, of which 163 disputes were then referred to the Labour Court. The Conciliation Service helps employers and their employees resolve disputes when they have failed to reach agreement during their own negotiations by allowing parties avail of a neutral and impartial third party to assist them in resolving their differences. Prior to the restructuring of the WRC all of these disputes would have ended up being referred to the Labour Court - thus demonstrating how effective the new WRC service is in reducing the numbers clogging up the courts unnecessarily.

Inspection and Enforcement Services

The report also showed that the WRC Inspection and Enforcement Services closed 5,221 inspections and out of those 2,050 employers were found to be in breach of employment legislation. 13 fixed-penalty notices were issued in those 12 months relating solely to failure by the employer to provide a written statement of wages and over €1.5 million of unpaid wages were recovered.

Employment Hearings

Finally, the report highlights a significant reduction in waiting times for hearings and determinations, and a substantial reduction in the backlog of cases, with the employment rights cases being reduced by nearly 50%, all very positive signs pointing towards the success of the WRC since its introduction. 


BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Jan 17

Posted by
Laura Murphy

4 Tips to Banish your Employee's January Blues

The third Monday in January has officially been reported as the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday. Research also shows that the month of January has the highest rate of sick leave.

After the hype and excitement of December, January brings lighter bank balances, tighter waistbands, and overall melancholy that the fun and festivities are over for another her. So it’s not surprising that your employees will catch the “January Blues”, feeling tired, unmotivated, lacking energy and focus. However, the New Year is also a time for fresh starts, a time to plan and to set targets for the months ahead.

Here are our top tips on how to stamp out the January Blues in your workplace:

Generate enthusiasm

To help generate enthusiasm, you need something for staff to look forward to that will be energetic and fun. Why not introduce a team building event or social event? Something that will refocus the team, it’s upbeat and entertaining. Even a team lunch on a Friday afternoon will lighten the mood and enthuse staff to apply themselves.

Set targets

 Goal setting in January is a good idea. It allows you to set out plans for the year ahead and let your employees know what the key objectives for the business are – and how they will play a crucial role in achieving that. Along with setting Company goals, set individual goals, and team goals.


A key factor in driving motivation amongst employees, is the feeling of being recognised for their work and achievements. Acknowledging employees for a job they have done well, will make them feel valued and encourages them to continue doing what they do effectively.

The impact of simply saying thank you, can go a long way. These two words, can have an overwhelming effect on employee engagement and productivity.

Workplace wellbeing

One of the most popular New Year resolutions people pledge, it to lose weight. The chances are several of your team will be looking to achieve this, as they are feeling sluggish from all the Christmas over-indulgence.

As we know, it’s important as an employer to invest in workplace wellbeing and fruit is a fantastic superfood that can help concentration and productivity levels. So why not show your support to staff and their resolution, by providing complimentary fruit platters for employees to enjoy.

The New Year is an opportunity to start fresh and achieve success. You need a fully focused workforce to accomplish this. Follow these top tips to help refocus employees and make 2017 a prosperous year.

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