The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018 (the "Act") commenced on 4 March 2019 and makes a number of significant changes to employment rights legislation that affect all Irish-based employers.
The Act specifies that an employer must notify each new employee, in writing, within five dates of commencement of employment of the following core terms of employment:
The full names of the employer and the employee; The address of the employer; The expected duration of the contract, in the case of a temporary contract, or the end date if the contract is a fixed-term contract; The rate or method of calculation of the employee's pay; The number of hours the employer reasonably expects the employee to work per normal working day and per normal working week.
Full written terms of employment required to be given to employees under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 continue to be required and must be given within the two months from the commencement of employment. Existing employees may also make a written request to an employer for a "Day 5" statement. Upon receipt of a written request, an employer must issue a "Day 5" statement within two months of the date of request.
Fines of up to €5,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to 12 months can be imposed for failure to provide the written statement and employees with at least one month's service may be awarded compensation of up to four weeks' remuneration.
Except in very limited circumstances, "zero hours" contracts are prohibited, so employers will no longer be able to contract employees to be available for work as and when required without providing them with an entitlement to a specific band of weekly hours. This prohibition does not apply to work of a genuinely casual nature. The Act also provides for minimum payments to employees on low hours contracts who work less than the hours provided for in the contract.
Anti-penalisation measures have been introduced to protect employees who are penalised for exercising these new rights with potential awards of up to two years' remuneration in certain circumstances. Penalisation is broadly defined to include suspension, law-off, dismissal, demotion, danger to terms and conditions, discipline, coercion and intimidation.
The Act also amends the Workplaces Relations Act, 2015 so Workplace Relations Commission ("WRC") Adjudicators can give notice in writing for any person to attend and give evidence at a WRC hearing or to produce any documents in the person's possession, custody or control which relates to the proceedings. Where you receive such a subpoena from the WRC, legal advice should be obtained to ensure compliance.
Walkers can assist by (i) auditing your existing template contracts, (ii) preparing bespoke Day 5 statements, offer letters and contracts of employment in compliance with the Act and (iii) assisting you with the practicalities of complying with the Act.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.