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Aug 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

WRC Inspections: What you need to know

WRC inspectors carry out employment rights compliance inspections and associated enquires. In general, an employer will get advance notice of an inspection. In some instances, an inspector has the right to show up unannounced.

Inspectors have the following powers:

  • To inspect and take copies of any documents or records
  • To remove any books, documents, or records and retain them for such period as the inspector considers necessary for the purposes or their functions under the Workplace Relations Act 2015
  • To require any person at the place of work or premises to produce such books, records or documents as the inspector may require for the purposes of their functions under this Act
  • To examine any person who they believe to be or have been an employer or employee, and to require such person to answer questions as the inspector may ask relating to the employment.

Preparing for an inspection

Employers should always be prepared for a WRC inspection as these may happen at any stage.

Employers Checklist:

  • Employers’ registration number with Revenue Commissioners
  • A list of all employees: full names, addresses, and PPS numbers
  • Dates of commencement and dates of termination of employment
  • Written terms of employment for each of the employees
  • Employee’s job classification
  • A record of annual leave and Public Holidays took by each employee
  • Hours of work for each employee (start and finish time)
  • Payroll details: gross to net, rate per hour, overtime, deductions, commission, bonuses, service charges, etc.
  • Evidence that Employees were provided with pay slips
  • A register of any employees under 18 years of age
  • Details of any board and lodgings provided
  • Employment permits or evidence that permit is not required as appropriate for non-EEA nationals

The Inspection


  • Response to alleged non-compliance
  • WRC compliance campaigns- sector/legislation specific
  • Routine inspections

Conduction of the inspection

The inspection will carry out an interview with the Employer or their representative. At this stage, all relevant records will be requested, calculated, and examined.

After examining the records, the inspector will interview a sample of employees to gather additional information. These findings will be shared with the employer.

If it appears that all is compliant, the inspector will issue a letter concluding the inspection.

Examining the records

Accurate records can protect employers from false allegations

The inspector will examine a sample of records over a period of one year prior to the examination. They will then determine if they should examine further records within the previous years from what they see in the first records.

Examples of inspection Offences

  • Failure to pay the National Minimum Wage rate
  • Failure to keep employment records for a period of 3 years
  • Failure to give a statement of wages (e.g. payslip)
  • Employing a person who is not an EEA or Swiss national without a valid employment permit or other valid permission to work.

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Posted in Employee Contracts, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

Aug 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Effective Absence Management

One of your employees calling in sick or saying they can’t make it into work but not giving a reason as to why can be frustrating and disruptive.

The best thing to do to manage this is to have an absence policy in place. The policy should outline how sickness-related-absences will be dealt with and should specify what period of time forms:

• Short-term absence
• Long-term absence
• Unauthorized absence

Your absence policy should be shared with your employees. Doing this will ensure that employees know how each instance of absence will be handled and what procedure will be followed.

Furthermore, having an absence policy in place will ensure consistency.

How to reduce sickness absence in the workplace

Return to work interview
One of the easiest ways to reduce sickness absence is to conduct a return to work interview. This conversation will bring to light any issues an employee has, whether it’s personal work or work-related. It could mean that you alter their working hours, allow them to work from home, or take time off for medical appointments.

Record Keeping

Record keeping is another useful practice. Tracking employee absences can be very beneficial to see what patterns may appear with the absence of an employee. For example, does one of your employees always miss the Friday of a Bank Holiday? Or say they’re unwell the Monday they’re due in after a week off?

Monitoring absences will make these patterns easier to spot and gives you proof if you need to speak to the employee.


Whether it’s a short or long-term absence, it’s important that you reach out to the absent individual. You can do so by phone, email, and in some cases, a home visit. Reaching out, it will give you an insight into their illness and how long they think they will be absent. It will also help you prepare for their return.

Dismissal due to sickness absence

In extreme cases, such as long-term sickness, dismissal for absence may be considered.
If you decided to go down the dismissal route, you’ll need to show that the procedure used was fair and reasonable. Failure to follow fair procedures may leave your company open to a claim for unfair dismissal.

Bright Contracts Handbook contains an absence policy in the “Terms & Conditions” section of the handbook.

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The Importance of HR Policies & Procedures

Posted in Company Handbook, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Health & Safety, Sick Leave/Absence Management

Aug 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Discrimination Case Law: Doherty v St John of God Community Services

St John of God was ordered to pay €45k for refusing to allow a pregnant employee to work remotely during the pandemic.

In this blog post, we will discuss the facts, and what employers should do to avoid any claims.


The employee, in this case, claimed that her inability to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak and her role change constituted discrimination based on her family situation. She explained that she believed she was given no choice but to take sick leave. She was not given the same options as other parents or other pregnant women such as reduced hours, using zoom calls to contact service users as an alternative, and especially working from home.

She said in a conversation with her supervisor she was told that if she couldn’t work from home her only option was to take sick leave even though other staff in her department were allowed to work from home. Even after sending in her sick cert, she was asked to participate in Zoom calls, attend to phone calls and text messages and contact other staff. After this, she took ill, with stress and upset a factor, and had to be hospitalised.

In July 2020 a colleague contacted her about coming back to work, initially at a site that facilitated social distancing, but she was contacted being told she was being transferred to a more public-facing role which was not ideal for someone who is 30 weeks pregnant.

Note for Employers

Employers should establish clear policies and procedures to manage remote work. Policies should establish guidelines and expectations in order to ensure fair and consistent practices, as well as legal compliance when decisions are made based on the role’s suitability for remote work.

Bright Contracts has a Working from Home policy in the “Terms and Conditions” section of the Handbook.


Related Articles:

How to Prevent Discrimination in the Workplace


Posted in Discrimination, Employment Law, Employment Tribunals