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1
Sep 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Introducing Contracts & Handbooks to Existing Staff

Introducing a contract of employment or a handbook for the first time to current employees, can be a difficult, tricky matter. Employees may view the new documentation as an intrusion, representing a new set of rules and regulations that threaten to make their lives uncomfortable. However, this does not have to be the case, you can introduce new documentation without alienating your work force. The answer lies in good communication and clear and concise documentation.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to introducing your new Bright Contract’s employee documentation to existing employees.

1. Hold an Initial Group Meeting

The purpose of this meeting will be to:

  • Notify employees of the introduction of the new contracts of employment and staff handbook.
  • Explain why they are being introduced.
  • Give a brief overview of what is contained in both documents:
    • Contract of Employment: confirms the employee’s basic terms and conditions and is fully compliant with the Terms of Employment Act
    • Staff Handbook: gives a brief overview of the type of policy that is contained in the Handbook, for example you may wish to highlight a Dress Code policy

If you are a small company, hold a company-wide meeting, inviting everyone. If your employee numbers mean this is not feasible, hold department or team meetings, ideally meeting with all affected staff on the same day to ensure a consistent message is being delivered to all staff thus preventing any misunderstanding, or false narratives starting. For any employees who are not present for the meeting ensure to debrief them as soon as possible.

At the Meeting

Ensure Top Management are Involved
It is extremely important that senior management are actively involved in introducing the new documentation to show this is a company-wide initiative, supported at the highest level.

Explain Why you are Introducing the Documentation
Give clear reasons why the business is implementing the documentation, for example:

  • We want to promote a culture of consistency and fairness in our company, where everyone knows the protocols and knows what is expected of them and what they can expect from the Company. 
  • We want to ensure we are fully compliant with employment law legislation

Emphasis the Value to the Employee
Explain to employees that they have legal rights and that the policies set out in the handbook demonstrate that the company is complying with the law and honouring their rights.

Promote the handbook as a point of reference for employees for confirmation on how a particular issue will be dealt with e.g. probation, disciplinary procedure etc.

2. Distribute the Documentation

Contracts of Employment

The Contract of Employment is a confidential document between the employer and the employee therefore all communications regarding the contract of employment are to be kept confidential. Therefore we suggest the following:

  • Issue 2 copies of the contract of employment to the employee in a sealed envelope
  • Give the employee a timeframe to read, review and sign the contract

The Staff Handbook

Following the meeting the Staff Handbook should be made available to all employees. Possible ways to do this can include:

  • Print and give each employee a hardcopy of the handbook
  • Print a number of handbooks and place them in communal locations in the place of work, e.g. the staff room
  • Email the handbook to each employee
  • Save and store the handbook in a communal location on your local drive, where it is easily accessible by all

Give staff a timeframe, e.g. 2 weeks, to read the handbook and formulate any questions they might have.

Both the staff handbook and contract of employment in Bright Contracts are available to be printed and exported as a PDF for distribution.

3: Be Prepared to Take Questions

Employees are likely to have questions, be prepared and open to answer any questions or clarify any points that employees might have. Keep open honest communications, listen to the employee’s comments, they may raise some valid issues that need to be addressed. Or employees may simply need clarification on a particular term. (The information snippets on your Bright Contracts program may help you address some employee concerns.)

Once you have had the initial staff/team meeting, it is not necessary to have further team meetings. Conversations at this point tend to be personalised, it is therefore recommended that queries are discussed individual and privately with each employee.

4: Collect Signed Documentation

Employees should sign both copies of the contract of employment, returning one to you and keeping a copy for themselves. Once the signed contract is returned, it should be placed on the personal file for future reference.

If the terms and conditions of employment (e.g. pay, hours etc.) have remained unchanged it is not essential to seek signed agreement from existing employees, however it would always be preferable. If an employee refuses to sign a contract after open discussions and no changes to the basic terms have been put forward, make a record on their file that they were given the contract and were given opportunity to discuss and fully understand the contracts, include dates and evidence of the communications.

If the terms and conditions of employment are being changed then it is important for employers to seek agreement from the employee before implementing any change. In this situation the employer should receive a signed copy of the revised contract.

There is no requirement to reach agreement with the employee on the Staff Handbook, however it can be useful to ask employees to sign to confirm that they have received and reviewed the handbook.

Related Articles:

Hybrid Working: Know The Basics

The Link Between Hybrid Working & Employee Engagement

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

15
Jul 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Hybrid Working: Know The Basics

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has completely shifted the way we work and live. Companies have had to quickly adopt new initiatives and technologies to ensure employee safety whilst maintaining productivity. Working from home has now become the normality for many of us and adapting to these new ways of working is essential for business continuity which is why we have approached this blog post as a FAQ of hybrid working.

  • What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working, also referred to as blended working, is where employees divide their time between working from home and attending the workplace. For example, the arrangement possibly will involve an employee working from home two or three days a week and attending the workplace on the remaining days.
Alternatively, hybrid-working could involve building increased flexibility into the employee's working location so that each day they choose where they work, sometimes going in to a workplace and sometimes working remotely depending on their circumstances and the needs of the business.

  • Is there a standard hybrid working model?

There is no standard one-size fits all hybrid working model. What is going to work best for your organisation will depend on the nature of your business and your needs as an employer. There are a few potential variations to hybrid working to consider. For example, you need to consider whether you are going to require employees to attend a specific workplace location on a set number of days per week, or whether your business allows it’s employees to be more flexible and adopt a "work wherever is best for you to do your job" model.

There is also the matter of whether you are going to require everyone to move to hybrid working or whether it will simply be an option for employees who want to work this way with workspaces available for those who need them. In addition, you may decide that hybrid working is suitable only for particular roles within your organisation.

  • What positions are eligible for a Hybrid Work Arrangement?

Deciding on which positions are eligible for remote working are based on operational and business needs and must be made without bias or favoritism to ensure a fair process. Department leaders should first consider the departments objectives, working hours and consider each staff member’s duties to determine if that position can be done effectively with a Hybrid Work Arrangement. Not all positions and staff will be eligible for hybrid working.

  • Who has the authority to approve Hybrid Work Arrangements?

Hybrid Work Arrangements are agreed at the discretion of the organisation and the employee’s direct supervisor/manager. Supervisors/managers have the authority to approve Hybrid Work Arrangements after consulting with their Department Head.

  • Under what criteria can a Hybrid Work Arrangement request be denied?

The denial of a hybrid working request should be based on legitimate business rationale such as operational need/changes, staffing need/changes, or documented performance issues.

  • What if someone disagrees about their position’s eligibility for or denial of remote work?

If a request is denied, or an employee does not agree with the terms of their Hybrid Work Arrangement, managers should attempt to resolve the matter informally with the employee. If needed, managers should consult with their supervisor or division leader in addition to Human Resources. If an informal resolution cannot be reached, managers should inform the employee in writing that the employee may be able to file a complaint in accordance with the employee’s applicable complaint process detailed in the company handbook.

Coming Soon: Bright Contracts will be updating the software shortly to include a Hybrid Working policy as well as other useful documentation, announcements will be made once these become available.

To ensure you have access to the complete hybrid working content ensure you have purchased a Bright Contracts licence.

Posted in Coronavirus, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

1
Jul 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Your GDPR Questions Have Been Answered!

GDPR/ the General Data Protection Regulation has been around since May 2018 but the stipulations surrounding GDPR can still be confusing at times which is why we decided to cover this topic as FAQ's but firstly to explain what GDPR is, it is the toughest privacy and security law in the world. Even though it was drafted and passed by the European Union (EU), it imposes obligations onto organizations anywhere, so long as they target or collect data related to people in the EU. Under GDPR you have a fundamental right of access to your personal data from data controllers.

What is personal data?

Personal data is information that relates to you, or can identify you, either by itself or together with other available information. Personal data can include your name, address, contact details, an identification number, IP address, CCTV footage, access cards, audio-visual or audio recordings of you, and location data.

What personal data can employers lawfully process?
GDPR states that to be able to ‘Lawfully Process’ personal data you must be able to fall into at least 1 of the 6 processing classifications, the first one being Consent. Consent must be:

  • Specific, informed, unambiguous, and freely given – there must be evidence that clear affirmative action has been given.
  • Must be for a specified purpose
  • Where consent is obtained as part of a larger document covering other things, consent text must be clearly distinguished from everything else
  • Evidence needs to be retained as to how the consent was obtained. For example; forms, brochures signage, website screenshots.
  • Language must be accessible and easily understood.
  • Have a clear and seamless opt-Out process in place.
  • If you have mailing lists that you’ve used pre GDPR you will not be able to continue using them if you haven’t got specific approval or consent from the individuals.

Do we need to ask for consent from our employees to process their data?

No, as the reliance for processing and retaining their data will be down to lawful processing because of the employer’s legal obligation to deduct taxes etc. and also down to the contractual agreement in place to pay them and pay forward the taxes owed on their behalf. And also to the nature of the relationship between the employer and the employee, the status quo is in the employer’s favour so consent would not be unambiguous or freely given.

Is the emailing of pay slips permissible under GDPR?
There is nothing in the GDPR that states it is no longer permissible to email payslips, this practice is still very much acceptable. The thing to keep in mind in relation to emailing payslips is to ensure that all appropriate security measures are in place. The payslips that are emailed from BrightPay are encrypted and deleted from our servers once sent, however it may also be prudent of a processor of the payroll to password protect the payslips also. It will be the responsibility of the Data controllers (employers) to be vigilant that correct email addresses are inputted.

Do I need to provide my employees with training about GDPR?

It is advised that employers provide training to all individuals about their data protection responsibilities as part of the induction process. Additional training should be provided at regular intervals thereafter or whenever there is a substantial change in the law or The Company’s policy and procedures.

If data protection is breached, what are the consequences?

It is important that you comply with the GDPR legislation and put adequate policies and procedures in place. Your organisation can be inspected and could face significant penalties if your practices are in breach of GDPR. The GDPR allows the EU's Data Protection Authorities to issue fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover (whichever is higher).

Bright Contracts contains a 'Data Protection' section of the Company Handbook which can be viewed under the 'Introduction' tab. Download a trial of our software to see a sample of this content.

 Related Articles:

 - How BrightPay Connect is helping with GDPR

Online Payslips: Their benefits and why you should use them

GDPR and Thesaurus Software

Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, GDPR, General Data Protection Regulation

16
Jun 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Hello Update! - Additions to the Return to Work Safely Protocol

As vaccines roll out and employees begin to return to the office, updates to policies and procedures are changing as a result, so we are back again with a update to The Return to Work Safely Protocol which came into effect in May 2021 to include new learnings on Covid in the workplace. It incorporates the current advice on the Public Health measures needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community and workplaces. The updated Work Safely Protocol provides further guidance for employers in relation to ventilation as part of the range of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as information on how to approach the use of antigen testing in the workplace. 

The updated Protocol is very detailed in relation to the introduction of antigen diagnostic tests and rapid antigen diagnostic tests. 

Firstly let's discuss what is antigen testing?

The COVID-19 antigen test uses a swab to take a sample from your nose. The sample does not need to go to a lab. The test results are quicker than the COVID-19 PCR test, but it has some limitations.

With the update to the protocol employers must:

  • Consult with workers and representatives, as well as the lead worker representative(s) and the safety representatives, before any testing regime is introduced in the workplace and a process for workers who do not wish to take part in such testing should be agreed. 
  • The updated Protocol also sets out that a written occupational health and safety risk assessment to take account of this new work activity and specific risks associated with the use of rapid antigen diagnostic testing in the workplace should be completed.

The spread of the virus is most likely when infected people are in close contact so the risk of getting COVID-19 is higher in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces where infected people spend long periods of time together in close proximity therefore it is important to maximise ventilation in areas where people are in close contact. 

Ventilation, refers to the movement of outdoor air into a building, and the circulation of that air within the building or room while removing stale air to improve the air quality. This can be achieved through natural means (e.g. opening a window) or by mechanical means e.g. HVAC systems. 

Reoccupying workplaces should not, in most cases, require new ventilation systems but improvements to ventilation will help increase the quantity of clean air and reduce the risk of exposure to airborne concentrations of the virus. While ventilation reduces the amount of virus in the air and the aerosol risk, it will have minimal impact on contact transmission (touching surfaces) or droplet transmission where people are within 2 metres of each other. Droplets containing the virus will settle onto the surrounding surfaces within seconds, smaller particles can stay suspended for longer which is why ventilation is not a standalone measure and continued adherence to other public health advice is absolutely essential.

Employers can also seek to reduce the risk of transmission by limiting the numbers of workers in a given area and paying particular attention to work activities that increase deeper breathing. Determining ventilation of enclosed workplace settings should be considered as part of the workplace risk assessment which should consider the following:

- How you currently provide ventilation (fresh air) in your workplace?

- How many workers occupy or use the area(s)?

- How much time do workers spend in the area(s)?

- Are there any features in the workplace which might affect ventilation?

- Does the workplace have multiple or complex ventilation systems in place?

It is advised to speak to the building engineer or system manufacturer before implementing any changes relating to mechanical ventilation.

Further information on ventilation is available at: 

- HPSC – Guidance on non-healthcare settings

- World Health Organisation?

Related Articles:

The Home Stretch: The Final Key Steps in a Safe Employee Return

- As Easy As 1,2,3: Key Elements of Safe Return to The Workplace

- Our Employees Are Back! – How Do I Return My Employees Safely?

Posted in Coronavirus, Customer Update, Employee Handbook, Health & Safety

11
Jun 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Supporting Female Employees: Implementing a Menopause Policy

2021 has been a year of big change for everyone and has given rise to many different topics of conversation, a vitally important topic is that of menopause among the female workforces. A media outlet which we believe captures the importance of the conversation around menopause perfectly is The Irish Times who published an article in May 2021 about menopause and the article made reference to how ‘The menopause is where mental health was 10 years ago’. A statement which could not be more true. The origin of this article stemmed from women’s testimonies on Joe Duffy’s Liveline programme and has continued across all media since including being taken up in the Seanad by Senator Pauline O’Reilly. These discussions have brought to the surface the realisation that menopause is considered a taboo subject, like mental health was and like mental health we are not educated enough in what menopause is, the symptoms of it and how we can help those going through menopause which is why it is so important for employers to educate their workforce and to recognise the importance of supporting women in the workplace who are transitioning through menopause which is why we believe it is vitally important for organisations to implement a menopause policy as we believe it needs to be acknowledged and recognised as an important occupational issue requiring supports to be made available.

To ensure that companies show a positive attitude towards the menopause, we want to encourage employers to create an atmosphere where women feel there are colleagues with whom they can comfortably discuss menopausal symptoms and that they can ask for support and adjustments in order to work safely and without fear of negative repercussions. For this reason, the menopause is an issue for men as well as women. So let’s touch on the basics of menopause by answering the simple question, ‘What is menopause?’ Menopause is a natural stage of life when a woman’s estrogen levels decline and she stops having periods. As menopausal symptoms are typically experienced for several years, it is best described as a ‘transition’ rather than a one-off event. The menopause typically happens between age 45 and 55. The ‘perimenopause’ is the phase leading up to the menopause, when a woman’s hormone balance starts to change. For some women this can start as early as their twenties or as late as their late forties.

There are various symptoms that can be experienced through menopause and can be both physical and/or psychological. They can include: hot flushes, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, memory lapses, anxiety, depression and heart palpitations and each of these symptoms can affect an employee’s comfort and performance at work which is why we developed our menopause policy to ensure you are assisting your female employees in their daily duties. In order to assist those experiencing these symptoms in their daily duties, it is important that your company menopause policy explores making reasonable accommodations to the individuals role or working environment with the aim of reducing the effect that the menopause is having on the individual which is explored in our new menopause policy available on Bright Contracts today! We are committed to ensuring appropriate support and assistance is provided to female employees and that exclusionary or discriminatory practices will not be tolerated. Our menopause policy is fully compliant with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 as well as the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015.

Check out your Bright Contracts today to view the update, or if you would like to become a Bright Contracts user you can download the software and purchase a licence today. 
To access the update, log out of your Bright Contracts company file and log back in, you will then see a yellow bar across the top of the page asking you if you would like to upgrade the content.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Customer Update, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Health & Safety, Software Upgrade, Staff Handbook

12
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Time Saving With Bright Contracts

Contracts. . . they are the pain point of every HR professional when recruiting new employees, processing promotions, extending contracts etc. To non HR professionals it may seem like typing up contracts is quick and easy work but this could not be further from the truth. The following are just some of the pain points I’ve had when typing up contracts, read and tick off any that may apply to you too when creating contracts of employment:

  • Formatting Issues
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Mis-matched Fonts
  • Saving Error: Corrupted file error meaning I have lost my entire document
  • Time consuming reading complete contract to check for errors
  • Printing Errors: Prints off centre or like a jigsaw puzzle making it frustrating to read

Well, how many points did you tick off that were applicable to you? If you found yourself even ticking off two of the above then you need Bright Contracts in your life as this software eliminates every single one of them pain points and produces a consistent, formatted, clean and compliant contract and handbook for each of your employees.

Read the below quick fire Q&A to gain an insight into what bright Contracts is, how it works and how it can help you with your contract and handbook creation:


What is Bright Contracts?
Bright Contracts is a software package that has everything you need to create and manage a professional staff handbook and contracts of employment. What was once traditionally an expensive, complicated and time-consuming process is now quick, easy and affordable with Bright Contracts.

Why should I use it?
Without employee contracts in place, an employer is risking large settlements in the case of staff disputes, and fines in the case of regulatory inspections. Having contracts also clearly defines the contractual relationship between you and your employees. Bright Contracts is the easiest way to get sorted.

What legislation is the software based on?
Bright Contracts has been written taking into account employment legislation across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main piece of legislation governing the content of Bright Contracts is The Employments Rights Act 1996 and The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996. The legislation specifies that employees must receive written terms and conditions of employment and what these terms and conditions are. In addition Bright Contracts has taken cognizance of current best practices as well as all relevant legislation in the creation of the content of the contract and handbook. Legislation also requires that employers are provided with details of procedures relating to dismissal, disciplinary and grievances, all of which are covered in our documentation.

How do we know this system complies with requirements and what if the law changes?
The system content has been compiled and tested by HR/Employment law experts. The system will be updated with any changes in legislation, changes brought about by case law or changes in best practice. These updates will be flagged to all current users and will be free to download.

How many people can access Bright Contracts?
When a licence is purchased it comes with two activations which means it can be activated on two separate computers. Once these activations have been used they cannot be deactivated and reactivated on another device.

Do I print off the handbooks and contracts?
The simple answer is yes however if you are trying to reduce your paper foot print then you can also have the handbook and contracts of employment as a pdf document which can then be e-mailed or, if you use our Bright Pay Connect product you can upload the documents to the employee’s connect profile.

You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Related Articles:

- Bright Contracts YouTube

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Law, Staff Handbook

4
May 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Vaccine & The New World of Work Webinar

With vaccination rollout currently underway across Ireland employers are beginning to look at returning a number of their employees to the workplace over the coming months which means plans need to be in place and actions need to be carried out to ensure it is as smooth and safe a return as possible.

We recently hosted a webinar recently which detailed for our customers how best to tackle returning their employees to the workplace including implementing a vaccine policy. To view the webinar recording click below:

Bright Contracts has recently updated its software to include a COVID-19 vaccine policy applicable to any business/ industry. This policy is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Plan and Temporary Working From Home Policy currently available on Bright Contracts.

You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Contract of employment, Coronavirus, Customer Update, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Update, GDPR, Health & Safety, Software Upgrade

20
Apr 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

How To Manage Annual Leave Backlog

With the lifting of some restrictions on the 12th of April, the country hopes to see further easing of restrictions in the coming months. Unfortunately this most likely will not mean travel abroad will be possible however staycationing in our Emerald Isle may be the way forward for the rest of this year. Since covid hit many employees have been unable to take annual leave and therefore it has been accumulating, meaning there is a backlog of annual leave to be used which employers are unsure how to manage.

Annual Leave Entitlements
Regardless of whether employees are full-time, part-time, casual or temporary, they are all entitled to annual leave under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. Under this Act, the employer can decide the timing of an employee’s annual leave, providing the required notice and also taking into consideration the requirements of the business and the employee’s health and wellbeing.

In the coming months it is reasonable to assume that there will be an influx of annual leave requests therefore employers should revise their annual leave policies to ensure they remain valid and compliant with company policy and procedure. In some situations employers may also have annual leave carried over from the previous year to manage. In this instance, it is best practice for employers to be as flexible as possible to accommodate requests, particularly during these very tough times.

Annual Leave & Lay-off/ Short Time Working
Employees who were placed on lay-off during Covid-19 continue to accrue public holidays during the first thirteen weeks of the lay-off however they do not accrue annual leave during this period.

In relation to short time working, employees must meet the requirement of having worked a minimum of 40 hours in the five weeks prior to the public holiday in order to qualify for entitlement and to accrue annual leave pro-rata.

Annual Leave & The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme
If the employer is availing of The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme but their employees are working their normal hours then their employees continue to accrue public holidays as normal and therefore are entitled to their statutory annual leave entitlement based on the hours worked.

Annual Leave & Covid Symptoms
If an employee displays any symptoms of covid-19 they should first contact their GP then contact their employer to explain the situation and not return to the workplace for 14 days after first experiencing symptoms. Employees are entitled to sick pay if detailed in the terms & conditions of their employment however if the employer does not pay sick pay then employees should apply for the Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit.

Employer Requests: Taking Annual Leave During Covid-19
An employer can request an employee to take annual leave however this should be done in consultation with the employee and in consideration of the business needs. If the company is experiencing challenges it is recommended not to force employees to take all of their annual leave entitlement as the company must take into consideration the employee’s health & wellbeing.

Refusing Annual Leave Requests: Travelling Abroad
If an employee is travelling outside of the country employers cannot refuse an annual leave request based on this. The employer can encourage compliance with government guidelines and public health advice in relation to travelling outside of the country.

However, the employer may have a basis for refusing an annual leave request in relation to restrictions when the employee returns to Ireland in terms of quarantining or 14-day movement restrictions and the impact either of these will have on the business depending on the sector and if the employee is remote working.

Bright Contracts has recently updated its software to include a COVID-19 vaccine policy applicable to any business/ industry. This policy is in addition to the COVID-19 Response Plan and Temporary Working From Home Policy currently available on Bright Contracts.
You can avail of a free trial of the software or purchase a Bright Contracts licence to adapt these policies to your business today. If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Webinar: The Vaccine & The New World of Work  Register Today!

 Related Articles: 

Vaccinations and The Workplace

Role Changing During COVID-19: Can employers ask this of their employees?

Out of Hours Communication: The Right to Disconnect

Returning Staff to Work

Posted in Annual Leave, Coronavirus, Employee Handbook

18
Mar 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

The Parent's Leave & Benefit Act 2019: Extension of Leave

The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 came into effect on the 1st of November 2019 and provides for 2 weeks Parent’s Leave with protection of employment for a relevant parent in respect of a child born or adopted on or after the 1st of November 2019. The purpose of the Act is to enable the relevant parent to provide, or assist in the provision of, care to the child.


In acknowledgement of the difficulties experienced by parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cabinet has announced that parents of children born or adopted from the 1st of November 2019 can avail of an additional three weeks of Parent's leave from April 2021 and will be paid at the rate of €245 a week. The benefit is now for five week’s paid leave for each parent up to their child's 2nd birthday which can be taken as either five consecutive weeks or in smaller separate block of a minimum of 1 week duration each.

 

Currently the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 sets out the entitlements and criteria applicable to Parent’s Leave available to the relevant parent. Eligibility for Parent’s Leave depends on the employee meeting specific criteria including the following,

  • The employee’s status as a relevant parent,
  • The employee taking the leave within 52 weeks of the birth of the child or in the case of adoption, from the placement date, and,
  • The employee providing certain notice requirements.

Entitlement to leave is for a relevant parent which is:

  • A parent of the child
  • A spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the parent of the child
  • A parent of a donor-conceived child as provided for under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015
  • The adopting parent or parents of a child
  • The spouse or civil partner of the adopting parent of the child (if the parents have not adopted the child together).

Parent’s Benefit can be applied for at any time to be taken within the first 2 years the child’s life and does not need to be taken directly after maternity leave, paid or unpaid. This leave can be taken within 24 months, up to a child's second birthday or within two years following adoption. This measure will be available from April 2021 as it requires primary legislation to commence the extension of the parent’s leave and the development of the IT system to process the benefit.

Paid parent leave can be taken in addition to existing Maternity Leave, Adoptive Leave, Paternity Leave and Parental Leave rights, as applicable to each "relevant" parent.

To exercise the right to Parent’s Leave, the employee must give their employer at least 6 week’s written notice of their intention to take the leave. To apply for Parent's Leave visit here.

View entitlements under Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit.

If you are looking to adopt or change your HR Software please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Book a free 15-minute online demo to see how Bright Contracts can change your world of HR.

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Customer Update, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Parental Leave, Staff Handbook

16
Oct 19

Posted by
Nicola Sheridan

Parent’s Leave & Benefit Bill…. Some paid leave is now on the way for all new parents!

The Government is working on a range of changes to help parents spend more quality time with their children. Last week, they published the new Parent's Leave and Benefit Bill 2019. This Bill is expected to be enacted on or before 1st November 2019.

So what is this….?
The new Parent’s Leave & Benefit Bill introduces the concept of paid parent's leave for employees for the first time in Ireland. Originally called the ‘Parental Leave & Benefit Bill’, this has had a name change to the Parent’s Leave & Benefit bill to clearly differentiate parent's leave from parental leave (which is a separate entitlement!).

What’s included in the new Bill?

  • Parents will be able to take two weeks paid parents leave for any child born / adopted on or after 1st November 2019. The leave must be used before the child’s first birthday. In the case of multiple births, a parent will only be able to claim parents leave once.
  • It is available to both parents and it can be taken as a continuous period of two weeks or in two separate one week blocks.
  • An employee needs to give their employer six weeks' notice of when they want to take the leave, stating the expected start date and the duration.
  • Employers are allowed postpone the parent's leave in situations where taking the leave would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the employer's business. Employers however cannot postpone the leave for more than 12 weeks.
  • Parents receive a statutory payment of €245 per week (they need the necessary PRSI contributions to qualify!).

The Bill does not require employers to pay employees while on parent's leave. It will be up to each employer to decide if they want to top-up an employee's parent's benefit and, if so, by how much. The advice would be to be consistent with approaches taken on the other family leave types.

Company policies should be reviewed and updated to reflect the changes being introduced. This will help you prepare for any increase in staff requests. Make sure you keep your paperwork & record keeping in order.

So…. keep a listen for future announcements on this new leave and we will update our Bright Contracts package with this policy once it has all been finalised.

 

Posted in Bright Contracts News, Employee Handbook, Parental Leave

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