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Blog  »  April 2023
Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill

The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 (“the Bill”) aims to increase the participation of women in the workplace and the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements by all. The Directive aims to encourage a more equal sharing of family related leave between men and women.


Right to request flexible working

The General Scheme proposes the introduction of a right for employees with children up to the age of 12 (or 16 if the child has a disability or long-term illness), and employees with caring responsibilities, to request flexible working arrangements for a set period of time for caring purposes. The General Scheme goes further than the EU Work-life Balance Directive (the Directive) and will apply to children up to 12 years old (or 16 as outlined above). The EU Directive provides this right for parents with children up to 8 years old.

Under the current draft, the employee requesting flexible working arrangements needs to have six months’ service with the employer before they can make a request and must make the request at least six weeks before the arrangement is intended to start. Employers must consider the request and will have four weeks to respond. They can either grant, postpone or refuse the flexible working arrangement and will be required to provide reasons for any refusal or postponement. In certain cases, the time period to respond can be extended by a further eight weeks.

Requests can be postponed for six months where an employer is satisfied that the commencement of the arrangement would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the business because of:

  • seasonal variations in the volume of work
  • the unavailability of someone to carry out the employee’s duties
  • the nature of their duties
  • the number of other employees availing of flexible working arrangements
  • any other relevant matter

Flexible working arrangements will need to be documented in an agreement.

At the end of the flexible working arrangement, the employee is entitled to return to their original working arrangements, hours or patterns (employees are also entitled to request an early return to their original working arrangements).


Leave for medical care purposes

The General Scheme proposes the introduction of five days’ unpaid leave, per year, per employee, where, for serious medical reasons, the employee is required to provide personal care or support to family members or loved ones such as a child, spouse, cohabitant, parent and sibling. This leave cannot be taken in periods of less than one day and the employer may request evidence of the employee’s relationship with the person needing medical care, the nature of the medical care required and medical certification of the serious medical issue. This right is in addition to existing entitlements under the Carer’s Leave Act 2001 and force majeure leave.


Extension of the period during which time can be taken out from work to breastfeed

The General Scheme proposes an extension of the period from 26 weeks to 104 weeks following the birth of a child during which employees have an entitlement to paid time off from work or a reduction of working hours for breastfeeding purposes.


The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was signed into law on the 4th April 2023. More information on the Bill can be found here

Posted in Employment Law, Employment Update, Family Leave

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Lay offs: What you need to know

As unpredictability in the global economy continues, company layoffs remain in the news. While layoffs may be necessary and appropriate, in many cases they cause more damage than benefit. Some leaders taken actions to reduce risks to company performance, reputation and long-term viability. What can we learn from these actions?

1. Be clear in the reason for layoffs

When it comes to lay-offs, some are strategic and forward-looking with higher valuations and others are focused solely on cost cutting. Examples of strategic reasons for lay-off include exiting less profitable sectors, products or markets due to changing customer habits. Businesses who are transparent regarding the reasons for layoffs see an increase in investor, customer and employee trust and engagement.

2. Use layoffs as a last resort

Most organisations that conduct layoffs do not see improved profitability, especially those that are highly reliant on innovation and growth. Leaders often underestimate the negative impact of layoffs on productivity, employee engagement, retention and brand reputation.

Effective leaders know that they should pursue all possible alternatives before embarking on layoffs, including temporary furloughs, redesigning jobs and work models, moving some workers to contractor status and offering more flexible benefits to create cost and operational flexibility.

3. Act fairly

Layoffs historically have had a negative impact on women and underrepresented employees. Recent news stories show the effect of layoffs among employees on maternity and health leave, as well as those in vulnerable positions with visas.

Reasons cited as acceptable for determining who is laid off include factors such as employee performance, tenure, experience and skill set. Effective leaders know that evaluating performance, skills and other factors is difficult and time-consuming, and that maintaining ongoing performance evaluation and review processes can position companies well for both ongoing and unanticipated events.

4. Know the people being laid off

Great leaders spend the time and thought required to understand not only who they are laying off but also why and the potential impact. They conduct workforce planning exercises using data science to understand employee performance, skills, networks and collaboration patterns to safeguard against losing key talent and creating unintended consequences.

5. Take responsibility and show appreciation

Leaders must ensure they take responsibility for layoffs and show appreciation for those impacted. They demonstrate their empathy and compassion through all communications. They understand their audience, allow opportunity for employees to process the information and share their feelings, and provide support and resources.


While layoffs are difficult for all involved, effective leaders handle them with care to avoid unravelling company purpose, culture and performance.


Posted in Employment Contract, Employment Law

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

New Legislation Enacted and Proposed Bills or Initiatives

Quarter 4 of 2022 brought many proposed bills, initiative and legislations into place. These are outlined below.

The Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022

New Legislation Enacted

On December 1, 2022, the Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022 (the Act) came into effect. The Act introduced new requirements for employers regarding the distribution of electronic tips and gratuities, including the requirement to provide relevant employees with a policy on electronic tips and gratuities within five days of commencing employment. The Act applies to a number of sectors including tourism, hospitality, beauty and hair services, gaming, bookmakers, and transport services such as those provided by taxi or minibus.

Government Publishes Revised Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022

Proposed Bill or Initiative

In November 2022, the Government announced the integration of the Right to Request Remote Working into the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022. The Bill is expected to be passed into law in the coming months.

As part of key changes proposed in the Bill, employees who have six months’ continuous service with their employer will have a legal right to request to work remotely. Employers will be required to either approve or deny the request within four weeks of receipt or eight weeks in certain circumstances. Employers are required to consider both parties’ needs and the guidance that will be set out in a Code of Practice.

Where an application is refused, an employer must inform the employee of the grounds for refusal in writing. Further, those with certain caring responsibilities will have a legal right to request flexible working arrangements. Additionally, the bill provides for paid domestic violence leave of up to five days’ paid leave in any period of 12 consecutive months.

Government Publishes Employment Permits Bill 2022

Proposed Bill or Initiative

In October 2022, the Government published the Employment Permits Bill 2022, which among other provisions proposes:

(i) The introduction of a new seasonal employment permit to cater for short term and recurrent employment situations in appropriate sectors;

(ii) Modernization of the labour market needs test requirement;

(iii) Additional conditions for the grant of an employment permit - such as training or accommodation support for migrant workers in some circumstances or making innovation or upskilling a condition of grant - where this may decrease future reliance on economic migration.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting – December Deadline

Upcoming Deadline for Legal Compliance

Employers with 250 or more employees on the June 2022 snapshot date were required to publish their gender pay gap reports over the course of December 2022, based on the June "snapshot" date they selected. In compiling their first report in-scope employers were required to publish information about the following:

• The mean and median gap in hourly pay between male and female employees

• The mean and median gap in hourly pay of part-time male and female employees

• The mean and median gap in hourly pay between male and female employees on temporary contracts

• The mean and median gap in bonus pay between male and female employees

• The percentage of male and female employees who received bonus pay;

• The percentage of male and female employees who received benefits in kind

• The percentage of male and female employees in each quartile pay band

Critically, such employers were also required to publish reasons for any differences and measures being taken (or proposed to be taken) to eliminate or reduce those differences.

While the reporting obligation initially only applied to organizations with 250 or more employees, this will reduce to 150 or more employees after two years, and 50 or more employee after three years.

Relevant Articles

Tips and Gratuities Blog

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Posted in Pay/Wage

Apr 23

Posted by
Charlotte McArdle

Performance Improvement Plans: 3 top tips

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs) are an increasingly common tool utilised by employers to manage cases of poor work performance. A PIP is not a legal requirement and there is no legal definition of same. A PIP can be understood to be a documented plan which outlines the improvements in performance required from an individual employee and the timeline for achieving these improvements.

Below are three top tips for employers when placing employees on a PIP.

1. Clarity on objectives

The objective of a PIP process is to make the employee aware of the concerns you have regarding their performance and give them a set timeframe in which to improve. It is important that employees are fully aware of the process involved and clear on what they are expected to achieve according to the PIP. When implementing any type of PIP, the goals and targets set should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound).

2. Time to improve

A PIP of reasonable duration should ensure that the employer meets this requirement. This time may also allow the parties the opportunity to explore alternatives to formal disciplinary action such as transfer or demotion where it is apparent that the employee’s skillset is not appropriate to the role.

In deciding on the appropriate timeframe between performance reviews the business should consider the complexity of the role and if the employee will have had ample opportunity to meet the goals as per the PIP. It would also be advised that this timeframe should be agreed with the employee from the outset and that they consider it fair and reasonable based on their role.

3. Support and training

It is important to remember that PIPs only work where the appropriate surrounding structures are in place. These include a proper induction and *ongoing* training, clear role descriptions and clear documented targets/goals, managers who are willing to tackle underperformance and a means of objectively measuring performance. All supports provided should be documented by the employer.


Following the above steps will greatly assist an employer in showing that the performance management process conducted by the employer was procedurally fair and that any subsequent terminations on the basis of competency were justified in the circumstances. It is important to note PIPs are not a replacement for formal disciplinary action. Not all employees will show the necessary improvements following the PIP process, if this is the case, employers will need to initiate the Company disciplinary procedure. Employers must manage this process in line with the Company’s disciplinary policy, whilst adhering with S.I. No. 146/2000 - Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures.