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9
Sep 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Termination of Employment

An employer must have a reason to dismiss an employee. Under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2015, the dismissal of an employee is deemed not to be unfair if it is for reasons of capability, conduct, capacity, redundancy, contravening the law, or some other substantial reason.

Giving Notice

At a minimum, employers must give employees the following statutory periods of notice.

Duration of employment Minimum notice

  • 13 weeks to 2 years -1 week
  • 2 to 5 years -2 weeks
  • 5 to 10 years -4 weeks
  • 10 to 15 years-6 weeks
  • 15 years or more -8 weeks

If the employee’s contract of employment provides for notice in excess of the statutory period, the contractual notice must be given.

An employer may dismiss an employee without notice for gross misconduct e.g assault, stealing or serious breach of employment policies. Employment contracts or handbooks may contain further examples of gross misconduct.

Termination Procedures

The Workplace Relations Commission has introduced a Code of Practice on Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures which employers should follow when dismissing an employee. Disciplinary action may include:

  • An oral warning
  • A written warning
  • A final written warning
  • Suspension without pay
  • Transfer to another task, or section of the enterprise
  • Demotion
  • Some other appropriate disciplinary action short of dismissal
  • Dismissal

You can read more about Unfair Dismissal in our previous blog post, Unfair Dismissal Claims & How to Avoid Them

Bright Contracts Software has a “Resignation and Termination” policy in the “Terms and Conditions” section of the handbook. Furthermore, in the Company Policies and Procedures section, there is a Grievance/Dispute Procedures which you can edit to your company needs.

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

19
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.

Communication

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.

Related Articles

Mental Well-being in the workplace

The Importance of HR Policies & Procedures

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

8
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.

Facts

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

29
Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

New Worker’s rights passed by the Oireachtas

Over the last few weeks, The Oireachtas has approved two new workers’ rights: sick pay and tip protection. Both of these will have a significant impact on millions of workers nationwide.

Sick Pay for eligible employees

As discussed in a previous blog post: Preparing for New Sick Pay Rules. The Sick Leave Bill 2022 has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas. This gives eligible employees in Ireland the right to paid sick leave. Employers will pay sick pay at a rate of 70% of an employee's wage, up to a daily maximum of €110.

To receive statutory sick pay, an employee must obtain a medical certificate and have worked for their employer for a minimum of 13 weeks. Employees who require further time off after their employer’s entitlement to sick pay expires may be eligible for illness benefits from the Department of Social Protection, subject to PRSI contributions. The Bill has now been signed into law by the president. 

The Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Bill

In addition to passing the Sick Leave Bill 2022, the Oireachtas passed new legislation to ensure those working in the hospitality industry receive their fair share of tips and gratuities. This will clarify the definitions of required charges, service charges, tips, and gratuities. In addition, it will exclude tips and gratuities from a worker’s contractual wages, and oblige employers to distribute tips received electronically, fairly, equitably, and in a transparent manner. It will also ensure that any charge referred to as a ‘service charge’ is distributed to employees in the same way as tips received.

Employers should begin reviewing their sick leave policies to ensure that they comply with the upcoming statutory sick leave scheme. Employers in relevant industries should also review their policies and procedures for managing tips, gratuities, and service charges to ensure they are in line with the changes in the law.

Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Sick Leave/Absence Management

25
Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

How to Prepare an Anti-Bullying Policy

Prevention is the best way to avoid the risk of bullying at work. The purpose of an effective policy is not simply to prevent improper conduct and behaviour but also to encourage best practices and a safe and harmless workplace where such behaviour is unlikely to occur.

Employers should adopt, monitor, and implement an effective and accessible policy on bullying in the workplace.

Preparing the Policy

The policy and complaints procedure should be adopted, where appropriate. Simple direct language should be used in the policy. Information given to employees should be in a form, manner and in an appropriate language that is likely to be understood by the employees concerned.

The policy should be written, dated, and signed by a responsible person in senior management and updated when appropriate.

Scope of the Policy

The policy should:

  • Describe what is meant by bullying at work
  • Include a non-exhaustive list of examples of bullying behaviour relevant to the employment
  • Given the name or job title of the person who may be approached by a person wishing to complain of bullying at work
  • State that the protection extends to bullying at work by management, fellow employees, subordinates, clients, customers, and other business contacts as well as work-related social events
  • State that all complaints of bullying will be taken seriously and will be followed through to resolution and that employees who make a complaint will not be victimised.

Allocation of Responsibilities in Prevention of Bullying at Work

The policy should state that management, others in the position of authority, and workplace representatives have a particular responsibility to ensure that bullying at work does not occur and that complaints are addressed promptly.

The policy should state that, management will:

  • Provide a good example by treating all people in the workplace with respect
  • Promote awareness of the policy and complaints procedures
  • Be vigilant for signs of bullying at work through observation and through seeking employee feedback and take action before a problem escalates
  • Deal sensitively with employees involved in a bullying complaint
  • Explain the procedures to be followed if a complaint of bullying at work is made
  • Ensure that an employee making a complaint is not victimised for doing so
  • Monitor and follow up on the situation after a complaint is made so that the bullying at work does not reoccur.

Bright Contracts has a preformatted Anti-Bullying Policy under the ‘Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure' section of the Handbook in the software, which is fully compliant with current employment laws.

Related Articles: 

Bullying in the Workplace: What you need to know

Bullying in the Workplace: What constitutes as bullying?

What You Need to Know About Staff Handbooks

 

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

22
Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Bullying in the Workplace: What you need to know

We have already discussed in a previous blog post Bullying in the Workplace: What constitutes bullying? What bullying is and what constitutes bullying. In this post we are going to discuss the effects bullying have at work, the role of the employer and the employee to prevent bullying at work and actions and measures you can take to tackle bullying.

The effects of Bullying at Work

Workplace bullying and related complaints can have a range of effects on both employees and employers. For the employer, the effects can include reputation damage, absences of employees in the workplace, reduced productivity, increased costs, poor morale, and loss of respect for managers and supervisors.

For the employee or the target of bullying behaviour, the effects can include stress, low morale, reduced performance, and lower productivity. Some people decide to leave their employment, exposing themselves to financial strains.

Prevention of Bullying at Work- Role of Employer

Every person in the workplace has a role in promoting a positive workplace free from bullying behaviour.

An employer should:

  • Uphold the duty to manage and conduct work activities in such a way as to prevent any improper conduct or behaviour that is likely to risk an employee’s safety, health or welfare at work. Employers must act reasonably to prevent workplace bullying patterns developing, where there is a complaint, the employer must react reasonably, assess the complaint, and record actions on each case.
  • Develop a workplace anti-bullying policy, in consultation with employees, to ensure a system is in place for dealing with complaints and that disciplinary action may follow where bullying has occurred.

Prevention of Bullying at Work- Role of Employee

How an employee behaves in a way that is acceptable. Employees both individually and within teams and groups, have a role in promoting positive behaviour to others, relating in a clear, civil and respectful way to everyone in the workplace.

Under section 13 of the 2005 Act employees’ duties include to:

  • Comply with the relevant statutory provisions, as appropriate, and take reasonable care to protect their safety, health and welfare of any other person who may be affected by the employee’s acts
  • Co-operate with their employer or any other person so far as is necessary to enable their employer or any other person to comply with the relevant statutory provisions.
  • Not engage in other behaviour that is likely to endanger a person’s own safety, or their health and welfare at work or any other person at work during the course of the employment.

Measures to Prevent Bullying in the Workplace

  • Promotion and reinforcement of a positive workplace culture
  • Effective Anti-Bullying policies, to be used and promoted in the workplace
  • Widespread policy awareness
  • Appropriate training as required for those managing complaints and for line management
  • Contact person/appropriate support available

There may be value in appointing a Contact Person who acts as the first step for anyone enquiring about a possible bullying case. Where the organization can support this, it can help to resolve matters earlier and more effectively.

The Contact Person should be supportive and listen and offer guidance in line with company policy and procedures all on a confidential basis. This person should be carefully selected and trained. The main purpose of this role is to be supportive, they will have no role in the investigation of any complaints and should not be tasked with any further involvement in the details or right and wrongs of a complaint.

Related Articles:

Bullying in the Workplace: What constitutes as bullying?

What You Need to Know About Staff Handbooks

 

 

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

15
Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

The Importance of HR Policies & Procedures

HR Policies are formal rules and guidance for managers and employees setting out how to manage a range of employment issues in the workplace.

A policy is a guiding principle used to set direction in an organization. It should be used as a guide to decision making under a given set of circumstances within the framework of objectives set out by senior management

A procedure is a particular way of accomplishing something. It should be designed as a set of series of steps to be followed as a consistent and repetitive approach or cycle to accomplish an end result

Purposes of HR Policies and Procedures

HR policies and procedures give guidance on a range of employment issues for employees, managers and others with responsibility for people.

They:

  • Set clear standards and expectations and creates awareness
  • Transparently communicates the conditions of employment
  • Ensures employees are treated equally and fairly
  • Creates a safe and healthy work environment
  • Creates a channel for addressing employee grievances and disputes
  • Mitigate risks

How to communicate HR Policies

  • Must be issued to all employees
  • Must be in writing (company handbook)
  • Employees must be informed of policies on commencement of employment
  • Employees must sign off on policies
  • Policies must be accessible and reviewed frequently
  • Managers must be coached and sufficiently trained.

Rather than incorporating policies into the contract, you may consider;

  • Referring to the policies and procedures and where they can be found
  • Confirm that they don’t form part of the employee’s contract of employment

Essential Policies

  • Some essential policies that should be included are:
  • Disciplinary
  • Grievance
  • Dignity in the workplace (Bullying, Harassment, etc)
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Retirement Policy
  • Right to Disconnect
  • Whistleblowing Policy
  • Probation Policy
  • Absence Policy
  • Data Protection
  • Confidentiality
  • Hybrid Working
  • Flexible Work

In order to build a good company, it is essential for employees to be able to work together peacefully. Having a proper set of policies and procedures in place can make this happen.

Bright Contracts handbook provides all the policies and procedures any SME would need. It allows you to edit the text to suit your company’s needs.

Related Articles: 

What You Need to Know About Staff Handbooks

Time Saving With Bright Contracts

 

 

Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Law

28
Jun 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Legislation Updates June 2022

This month has been quite busy with legislation updates from the Government, read this blog post to find out the most recent updates from this month.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

On the 3rd of June the Gender Pay Gap regulations were published. Employers with 250+ employees on the snapshot date (chosen by the employer) will have to report on the 12-month period preceding and including the chosen snapshot date on the mirror date in December 2022. In 2024 this will extend to employers of 150+ and in 2025 it will extend to 50+ employees.

To approach the calculation of their gender pay gap metrics, organisations must do the following:

  • Choose the snapshot date in June 2022
  • The reporting deadline is 6 months after the snapshot date, in December 2022.
  • The reporting period is the 12-month period immediately preceding and including the snapshot date

For example: if the organization chooses Tuesday 25th of June as their snapshot date. Its reporting deadline is 25th December, and the reporting period is 24th June 2021 to 25th June 2022.

 

Statutory Sick Leave Bill 2022

The Statutory Sick Leave Bill has passed the 2nd stage in the Seanad. It is suppose to be in enacted by September 2022.

Read more here: Preparing for New Sick Pay Rules

 

Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill

The Government has approved the drafting of the Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to increase the participation of women in the labor market and the take-up of family-related leave and flexible working arrangements.

Read more here: The EU Work-Life Balance Directive Ireland

 

Parent's Leave and Benefits Act 

Lastly, The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019, which was introduced on the 1st of November 2019, currently provides for 5 weeks of Parent’s Leave for each parent to allow them time off around the birth or adoption of their child or the child of their spouse or partner. Parent’s leave and benefits will increase from 5 to 7 weeks in July.

Posted in Employment Law, Employment Update

24
Jun 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Hiring Young People in Ireland

Young employees are people aged 14 to 18, who work for an employer. As young workers are generally in full-time education, they are protected by a different employment law than adult workers. This is to make sure their work does not put their health or education at risk.

Restrictions on Employing 14 & 15 Year-Olds

By law, children ages 14 and 15 cannot be employed in regular full-time jobs.

However, they can:

  • Do light work during the school holidays
  • Take part in an approved work experience or educational program
  • Work in film, culture, advertising, or sport

Working Hours for 14 & 15 Year-Olds

Outside school term time

Can work a maximum of 35 hours a week or up to 40 hours if they are on approved work experience.

During school term time

Children aged 14 are not allowed work during school time. Children aged 15 can do 8 hours of light work a week.

Restrictions on Employing 16 & 17 Year-Olds

Young people aged 16 and 17 can work a maximum of 8 hours a day, up to 40 hours a week.

Young people are only allowed to work between 6 am and 10 pm.

Paying Young Employees

All employees have a right to get a payslip. A payslip is a written statement from the employer that explains your total pay before tax, and all details of any deductions from pay.

Minimum Wage

Since 1 January 2022, the national minimum wage is €10.50 per hour. However, not everyone is automatically entitled to get this.

Aged 20 and over- €10.50 an hour

Under18 - €7.35

Aged 18 - €8.40

Aged 19 - €9.45

Your employer can pay you more than the minimum wage if they want, but they are not required to by law.

Employers’ Responsibilities

Employers must keep records for every employee under 18, including:

  • The employee’s full name
  • The employee’s date of birth
  • The employee’s starting and finishing times for work
  • The wage rate and total wages paid to the employee

The employer must keep these records for at least 3 years.

Employers must also give employees aged under 18 a copy of the official summary of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act, and other details of their terms of employment within one month of taking up a job.

Employers with employees under 18 must also display the official summary of the Act in their workplace, where it can easily be read by staff.

Breaches of the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act

Employers who are found guilty of an offense under the Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act can be fined up to €1,904.61 and an extra €317.43 a day for a continuing offence.

 

Related Articles:

Hiring Employees in Ireland

Employee Inductions: The Complete Guide

 

Posted in Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Law, Workplace Relations Commission, WRC

8
Jun 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

How to Prevent Discrimination in the Workplace

Workplace discrimination is based on certain prejudices and occurs when an employee is treated unfavourably because of gender, sexuality, race, religion, pregnancy, or disability. Discrimination generally falls into two principal categories, known as direct and indirect discrimination.

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when one individual receives less favourable treatment than another based on one or more of the nine grounds set out in the employment equality legislation. If a woman is paid less than a man to do the same job for no reason other than being a woman, this would represent direct discrimination.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when neutral requirements unjustly disadvantage a certain category of persons. An example of this may be requiring candidates for a manual labour position to have fluent English. This would put Irish nationals in a better position to secure the position over foreign nationals.

Discrimination by Association

Discrimination by association occurs when a person is treated less favourably based on their association with a person protected by one of the nine grounds. If someone is experiencing harassment at work because they are in a relationship outside work with a foreign national this would represent discrimination by association.

Discrimination by Imputation

If an employee is incorrectly identified as belonging to one of the categories of a person described under the nine grounds and receives less favourable treatment than colleagues this will amount to discrimination by imputation. If it is incorrectly assumed that an employee has a certain religious belief and that employee is treated less favourably on this basis this will be discrimination by imputation.

It's important to know that discrimination is carried out by individuals. Your organisation is liable for any actions carried out by an employee in the course of their employment. It is important to take action to reduce the possibility that any discriminatory action occurs.

As part of the action plan to reduce the risk of discrimination occurring within your organisation, you should ensure that all employees:

  • Understand that the organisation is committed to preventing all forms of discrimination
  • Are aware of and understand their roles and responsibilities with respect to promoting equality and diversity
  • Know how to seek advice and make a complaint in respect of discrimination
  • Are confident that the employer will treat any complaint seriously and that it will be dealt with promptly and fairly
  • Understand that any incident of discrimination will be viewed as a serious disciplinary matter
  • Understand the types of behaviour that will be regarded as discrimination.

Providing Training

You should ensure that all managers and supervisors undertake training in ensuring that the workplace remains discrimination-free. Equality training should not be confined to management-level employees. Training, information and skills development in relation to equality should be provided to staff at all levels throughout the organisation. All such training should be structured so that it is accessible to all employees.

  • You can communicate on equality issues through:
  • Induction training
  • Tailored in-house awareness training programmes
  • Employee briefings
  • Staff representatives
  • Information on staff notice boards
  • In-house magazine articles
  • The staff handbook and policy manual
  • Line manager and employee guides

 

It is important that there is action taken to ensure that discrimination is not in the workplace.

Related Articles: 

Don't Get Caught Out: Maximum Award For The Employee Against Mandatory Retirement

The WHO?WHAT?WHERE? and WHY? Of The WRC

Hiring Employees in Ireland

 

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Contract of employment, Discrimination, Employee Handbook, Employment Law

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