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11
Jul 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Managing Annual Leave & Public Holidays

These topics create some confusion amongst employers, this blog post will hopefully line out any confusion that employers may have.

What is a public holiday?

A public holiday is nationally recognised day when most businesses and other institutions are closed. They usually occur on a special day or event. For example, St Patrick's Day and Christmas Day.
In 2022 we were introduced to a new once off public holiday that will take place on Friday, 18th of March. From 2023 there will be a new annual public holiday in February to celebrate St Brigid’s Day, it will happen on the first Monday in February.

When are the public holidays?

• New Year’s Day
• First Monday in February, or 1st of February if the date falls on a Friday (2023 onwards)
• Saint Patrick’s Day
• Once off public holiday (18th March 2022 only)
• Easter Monday
• First Monday in May
• First Monday in June
• First Monday in August
• Last Monday in October
• Christmas Day
• St Stephens Day

What are employees entitled to?

Most employees are entitled to a day paid leave on public holidays. There is an exception for certain part-time employees.

If you qualify for public holiday benefit, you are entitled to:
• A paid day off on the public holiday
• An additional day of annual leave
• An additional day’s pay
• A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

Part time employees are entitled to a day’s pay for the public holiday if they meet the following requirements:
• You have worked for your employer at least 40 hours in the 5 weeks before the public holiday
• The public holiday falls on the day you normally work

If you are required to work on the day the public holiday falls you are entitled to an additional day’s pay. If you do not work on the day, you should get one fifth of your weekly pay.

Annual Leave

We all know that employers are obliged to provide paid annual leave under the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. This act applies to all employees working under a contract of employment.

The amount of holidays an employee receives is calculated by the amount of work the employee does in the leave year.

If an employee works 1365 hours in a leave year they will be entitled to 4 normal working weeks of annual leave.

To calculate annual leave for employees who have worked less than 1365 hours in the annual leave year, they receive one-third of a week for each month that 117 hours are worked or 8% of the hours worked up to a maximum of 4 working weeks.

Accrual of Annual Leave

Employees will begin to accrue annual leave from the first date of employment.

Accrued from hours:

  • Physically and notionally worked
  • All time on certified sick leave
  • Time worked on public holidays
  • Annual leave itself

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Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Handbook, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook, Wages

10
Feb 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

What you Need to Know About the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021

The Gender Pay Gap Information Act was signed into law on the 13th of July 2021. It will amend the Employment Equality Act 1998. This legislation introduced gender pay gap reporting to Ireland. The technical elements to this Bill have not been published yet but, The Act promotes the making of regulations through which reporting requirements will be specified. It is unclear what the specific reporting responsibilities for employers will be.

What is it?

The Gender Pay Gap is the difference in the average gross hourly pay of women compared with men in an organisation. It should not be confused with the concept of equal pay for equal work. The existence of the gender pay gap does not indicate discrimination by employers or that women are not receiving equal pay for equal work. Employers are required to pay employees on the same terms when they do “like work” which is defined as work that is the same, similar, or work of equal value.

What does the employer have to do?

The Act will require organisations to report on the gender pay differences between male and female employees. For the initial first two years of The Act, it will only apply to employers with 250 or more employees.

What information needs to be reported?

  • Mean and median hourly remuneration for full time and part time employees
  • Mean and median bonus remuneration
  • Percentage of all employees who have received a bonus or benefits in kind.

The act also indicates further regulations that may be proposed to provide further clarity on:

  • The class of employer, employee and pay to which the regulations apply
  • How the remuneration of employees is to be calculated
  • The form, manner and frequency in which information is to be published

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Posted in Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Pay/Wage, Wages

31
Jan 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

What you Need to Know About Irelands New Public Holiday

What is it and when will it happen?


The Government announced last week that there will be a once off extra public holiday on Friday the 18th of March 2022. It was introduced to recognise the efforts made by the general public, volunteers and all workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. This will result in a four-day weekend in the middle of March as St Patricks Day is also a public holiday.


Next Year, 2023, there will be a permanent public holiday introduced to establish the celebration of St Brigid’s Day. This will occur on the first Monday in February. If St Brigid’s Day falls on the first day of February, that happens to be a Friday, that Friday the 1st of February will be a Public Holiday.

This new public holiday will bring the number of public holidays in Ireland to 10, which is one of the lowest in Europe, compared to Austria and Sweden which have 13.


What does this mean for employers?

This announcement can bring cost implications for employers. Employees are entitled to a paid day off. If the employee is working that day, they are entitled to double pay or an additional day of paid leave.

 

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Posted in Coronavirus, Employment Law, Pay/Wage, Wages

18
Jan 22

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Get Informed About Wage Deductions

There can often be debates between the employer and the employee as to what can be legally deducted from an employee’s wages. Well the confusion is over because in this blog post we have detailed for you what are the legal deductions employers can make, including the special restrictions on employers in relation to any act or omission of the employee. Firstly, under the Payment of Wages Act 1991, the employee has a right to:

1. A negotiable mode of wage payment
2. A written statement of wages and deductions, i.e. a payslip
3. Protection from unlawful deductions from wages

The Act applies to employees engaged under a contract of employment or apprenticeship, employed through an employment agency or through a subcontractor or working for the State.
There are only 3 circumstances in which an employer may legally make deductions from an employee’s wages or receive any payments from an employee. These are:

1. If the deduction or payment is required or authorised by law, for example, income tax, PRSI, USC, local property tax (LPT), additional superannuation contribution (ASC), an attachment of earnings order (AEO) or a notice of attachment.

2. If the deduction or payment is provided for in the contract of employment, for example, employee pension contributions, deductions for uniforms etc.

3. If the deduction is agreed to in writing, in advance, by the employee, for example, medical insurance subscriptions, trade union dues.

There are however special restrictions placed on employers in relation to deductions or the receipt of payments from wages, which arise from any act or omission of the employee (e.g. till shortages, bad workmanship, breakages), or are in respect of the supply to the employee by the employer of goods or services which are necessary to the employment (e.g. the provision or cleaning of uniforms). Any deduction or payment from wages of the kinds described must satisfy the following conditions:

i. the deduction or payment must be provided for in the contract of employment
ii. the amount of the deduction, or payment, must be fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances including the amount of the wages of the employee .e. if it is substantial it should not be taken out of one single wage payment.
iii. Prior to the act or omission occurring, the employee must have previously been given written details of the terms of the contract of employment, governing deductions or payments, by the employer.

Written notice must be given to the employee in the case of each deduction or payment to the employer at least one week prior to the deduction being made and the employer must provide a receipt. The deduction cannot take place more than six months after the employee’s act or omission becomes known to the employer or after the provision of good and services to the employee. However, where a series of deductions are to be made, the first deduction must be made within six months. Most importantly, the deduction or payment cannot be more than the cost to the employer, in other words, the employer should not profit from the deductions.

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2
Jan 18

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

January 2018 - Increase to Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage for an experienced adult worker is increasing to €9.55 per hour from January 1st 2018. This is the third year in a row that the NMW has been increased but this is by far the largest with an increase of .30c

The National Minimum Wage Act, 2000 provides for a minimum hourly rate of pay for all workers.

All workers, including full time, part time, casual and temporary will be deemed to be covered by the act with only 2 exceptions; close relatives of the employer and certain industry specific apprentices.

Workers can be broken down into 5 different categories; experienced adult workers in employment more than 2 years and over the age of 18, a worker under the age of 18, workers in their first and second year of employment who are over the age of 18 and trainees’ who are undergoing a course that satisfies certain conditions set out in the Act.

The new minimum hourly rates are:

  1. Experienced adult worker – €9.55
  2. Under age 18 – €6.69
  3. In the first year after the date of first employment over age 18 - €7.64 per hour
  4. In the second year after the date of first employment over age 18 - €8.60
  5. In a course of training or study over age 18, undertaken in normal working hours-1st one third period: €7.17 per hour; 2nd one third period: €7.64; 3rd one third period: €8.60 per hour.

Breaches of the act are deemed to be criminal offences and are punishable with hefty fines and even imprisonment.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Posted in Pay/Wage

13
Dec 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Christmas Public Holiday Entitlements

There are three public holidays coming up over the festive season – Christmas Day, St. Stephens Day and New Year’s Day. Although many offices across the country will close during this period it can be one of the busiest times of the year for industries including retail, hospitality, and hair and beauty. So what public holiday entitlement are employees entitled to over this time?

Full-time employees

Full-time employees have immediate public holiday entitlement to one of the following:
• A paid day off that day
• A paid day off within a month of that day
• An additional day of annual leave
• An additional days pay

Part-time employees

If a public holiday falls on a day that a part-time employee usually works, they are entitled to one of the public holiday benefits as listed above, if they have worked at least 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks prior to the public holiday.

Where the public holiday falls on a day on which the employee does not normally work, the employee is entitled to one fifth of his/her normal weekly wage.

Sick leave, absence and public holiday entitlement

If a full time employee is on sick leave during a public holiday, they are entitled to one of the public holiday benefits as listed above. If a part time employee is on sick leave during a public holiday, they are also entitled to one of the public holiday benefits listed above, if they have worked at least 40 hours in total in the 5 weeks prior to the public holiday.

Employees absent due to maternity leave, adoptive leave, parental leave, annual leave and jury duty accrue public holiday entitlement as if they were at work. Employees on carer’s leave continue to accrue public holiday entitlement for the first 13 weeks absence on carer’s leave.

The following type of absences occurring immediately before the public holiday will not be entitled to public holiday benefit.

• Absence in excess of 52 weeks due to occupational injury
• Absence in excess of 26 weeks due to illness or injury
• Absence in excess of 13 weeks for another reason and authorised by the employer including lay off
• Absence by reason of strike

Termination of employment

Employees who leave employment during the week ending before a public holiday and have worked the 4 weeks prior to that week are entitled to receive the benefits outlined above for that public holiday.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Contract of employment, Pay/Wage, Wages

1
Dec 17

Posted by
Denise Cowley

Why not get more for you and your employees when making Bonus payments?

As the long dark evenings set in and Halloween is over, the build up to the most wonderful time of the year will begin again! At this time of the year a significant amount of employers pay-out a Christmas/annual bonus and no matter how little or large the bonus is, a large portion ends up being paid over to the Revenue if it is put through the payroll as a taxable addition.

For example, if an employee’s salary is €35,000 per annum and they receive a bonus of €1,000 at Christmas, this employee would only receive around half of this amount after tax, employee PRSI and USC. The company would also be liable to pay 10.75% employer PRSI on the bonus, so in addition to giving the bonus of €1,000 there is also the extra €107.50 meaning the bonus is in fact costing the company €1,107.50.

The Solution

Revenue allow one small non-cash benefit per employee per annum up to the value of €500, PAYE, PRSI OR USC do not need to be applied to the benefit. A gift card or voucher seems to be the most popular way of allowing this payment to be made to the employee. The most popular gift card would seem to be One4All gift cards. Thesaurus Payroll Manager offers unique integration with One4All allowing employers to purchase gift cards quickly and easily for their employees. The integration offers a range of benefits, including:

  • The ability to pay via EFT, a facility not available to regular gift card customers
  • No additional charges, unlike when purchasing direct from the Post Office
  • Tracking of gift cards purchased so that you as an employer are alerted if you attempt to purchase more than one gift card for an employee in any one tax year 
  • Prevention from ordering a card in excess of the exemption limit, i.e. €500. 

Please note: where a benefit exceeds €500 in value, the entire amount will be subject to PAYE, PRSI and USC.

Purchasing gift cards through Thesaurus Payroll Manager is both simple and straightforward. To order, simply click on the Gift Card option, fill in your company details, select the amount for each employee's gift card and click to proceed to the gift card website. The software will bring you to the gift card website where you will arrange payment and delivery details.

It is also possible to order Me2You gift cards through Thesaurus Payroll Manager, if required tick to order from Me2You.

For further details click here.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free trial of Bright Contracts click here

Posted in Pay/Wage, Payroll, PRSI, Wages

19
Sep 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

4 Reasons why contracts of employment are needed

We’ve heard all the excuses before; “I’m too busy and don’t have the time”, “It’s too expensive to implement contracts”, or “I only have four employees, I don’t need to provide employment contracts”. If you are an employer you are obliged to provide your employees with a written statement of terms of employment.

We have compiled the 4 most important reasons why contracts of employment are needed.

It is a legal requirement

Under the Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994-2014, as an employer you must provide a written contract of employment to a new staff member no later than 2 months after their commencement. Employers must also provide employees with written disciplinary procedures, and procedures that the employer will follow when dismissing an employee, within 28 days of the employee starting. These procedures may be included in the employment contract or in the company handbook.

Protect your business against costly disputes

Having contracts of employment in place offers your business protection in the case of a dispute. A dispute can escalate to the WRC, where not having clearly documented terms of employment can really leave you wide open as an employer. If you are found not to have contracts of employment in place for your staff you will face a fine of 4 weeks’ pay per employee. In the case of a dispute, employers could face fines equating to two years remuneration - the maximum compensation award.

Protect your company against WRC inspections

Approximately 5,000 workplace inspections are carried out by the WRC every year, with 60% of them being unannounced. During a WRC inspection, the first thing they will ask to see is a copy of your contracts of employment. In 2016, 62% of employers failed to keep adequate employment records. Inspectors may issue on the spot fines for amounts up to €2,000 where they have reasonable cause to believe that a person has committed a relevant offence.

Instills confidence in you and your employees

In terms of the employer/employee relationship, the contract of employment is the most important thing you’ll ever deal with. It is the foundation stone of the employer/employee relationship. Having contracts of employment in place will clarify certain conditions for you and your employee so that both parties are aware of what is expected of them. Having contracts in place will also instill confidence in you, knowing that you are doing everything you can do to protect yourself and your business in any situation that may arise.

It is never too late to put contracts of employment in place. Read our blog “How can I introduce contracts to existing employees?” and follow our 4 simple steps here.

To book a free online demo of Bright Contracts click here
To download your free Bright Contracts trial click here

Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, NERA, Pay/Wage, Sick Leave/Absence Management, SME, Staff Handbook, Wages

11
Sep 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Employee awarded maximum unfair dismissal compensation

The Labor Court has recently ruled that a driver was unfairly dismissed after he was involved in three road accidents. The driver was awarded €72,042, equating to two years remuneration - the maximum compensation which could be awarded.

Background

Mr. Coughlan was employed as a van driver for DHL for 11 years. In 2012 he was involved in a road accident to which he received a written warning. In 2013 he was involved in a second road accident where he received a final warning. The warnings were ‘live’ for 12 months, after which they expired. The claimant was involved in a third road accident in 2015 to which damages to the van amounted to €2,500. By that time both previous warnings had expired and he was brought into a disciplinary hearing for “failure to protect and safeguard company property”.

During the hearing Mr. Coughlan took responsibility for his misjudgment which led to the accident. Throughout the hearing numerous references were made to the expired incidents. Mr. Coughlan was dismissed with immediate effect for gross misconduct on the basis that he had failed to protect and safeguard company property.

Finding

The WRC found the dismissal unreasonable and ordered reinstatement. At the appeal to the Labor Court, DHL argued that they had no other choice but to dismiss Mr. Coughlan as their faith in his driving abilities was lost. Although his previous warnings had expired, the company felt that they had to take his entire working history into consideration. The Court determined that the 2015 incident, in isolation to the previous warnings was not sufficient to dismiss. It also took into consideration the company’s failure to consider alternative positions within the organisation for Mr. Coughlan.

Learning Points

This case highlights something we see time again, the importance of practicing fair procedures when considering dismissal. It highlights the importance of employers showing that they had considered alternative roles where possible before dismissal – something that is often noted in unfair dismissal cases. Lastly, the enormous amount awarded to Mr. Coughlan reminds employers of the costly consequence unfair dismissal can have on their business.

Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Dismissals, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employment Contract, Employment Tribunals, Health & Safety, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook

30
Aug 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

The importance of having an Absence/Sick Leave Policy

As an employer, it can be quite a daunting prospect having to deal with sick leave and long-term sick leave can throw up other issues making it seem more complicated and even more daunting for the employer to deal with effectively. So how can an employer ensure compliance during these periods of absence?

First and foremost an Absence/Sick Leave Policy needs to be put in place. It must contain clear and concise guidelines for the employee and employer to follow in cases of absence

Your Absence Policy should include:

1. Details of any company Sick Pay Policy:

  • If an employer will/will not pay employee while on certified/uncertified sick leave.
  • If payments are to be made, length of term for payments.

2. Notification and certification requirements if employees are absent due to illness:

  • How much notice an employee needs to give an employer if they will be absent from work.
  • After how many days of absence a medical certificate is required.
  • For long-term absences, how often a medical certificate is required to be presented to the employer.

3. A statement that in the case of long-term absence due to illness, the employee may be required to attend a company GP or other nominated medical persons/facilities at the request of the employer.

It would also be advisable to include details on what is classed as being short-term, long-term and unauthorised absences - Unauthorised leave is absence by the employee without consent or approval from management or without proof of illness by means of a doctors certificate and should be dealt with as a matter of misconduct via the company disciplinary procedures.

As with most company policies and procedures, once in place, the employees will be aware of what is expected of them during times of absence or sick leave; this, in turn, should eliminate any further issues from arising.

Bright Contracts has a comprehensive Absence and Sick Leave Policy built into the Company Handbook which can be customised to suit your own company specifications and requirements.

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Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Pay/Wage, Sick Leave/Absence Management, Staff Handbook

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