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Blog  »  March 2018
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
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

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.

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.


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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

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.


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.