Hr obligations on employers in ireland


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Hr obligations on employers in ireland

  1. 1. <ul><li>“ HR Obligations on Employers” </li></ul><ul><li>Presented by David Bell, Solicitor </li></ul>The HR Department, 126 Ranelagh, Dublin 6. (t) 01-6852360 (m) 087 8527723 [email_address]
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Employment Litigation – A REAL threat? </li></ul><ul><li>The Facts </li></ul><ul><li>A Selection of Employer Obligations </li></ul><ul><li>What can I say to my clients? </li></ul><ul><li>Summary </li></ul>
  3. 3. Employment Litigation - a Real Threat? <ul><li>There are some 35 pieces of legislation covering the Employer/Employee relationship. </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation covers all aspects of the relationship from recruitment to the rights of employees whilst in employment to the termination of employment. </li></ul><ul><li>The primary legislation that employers should be concerned about are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977-1993 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equality Act, 1998 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Terms of Employment (Information Act) 1994 </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Employment Litigation - a Real Threat? <ul><ul><li>Maternity Protection Act, 1994 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parental Leave Act, 1998 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act, 2003 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Protection Act, 1998 </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Employment Litigation - a Real Threat? <ul><ul><li>A more litigious society; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equality Act, 1998 in particular has resulted in an increase in the options available to disgruntled employees; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Act applies to all employees not just those in continuous employment for 12 months as is the case under the Unfair Dismissals legislation. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The Facts <ul><ul><li>In 2003, the Labour Inspectorate made a total of 7,168 inspections of companies in Ireland. I n 2007 there were over 14,000 inspections </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inspectors have the power to impose immediate penalties of €1,900 and €650 for each day non-compliance continues. (source: Dept of Enterprise Trade & Employment). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Under Employment Equality Legislation the average compensation award made to an individual was €13,182 (source: The Equality Authority) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Facts <ul><ul><li>In 2005 The Employment Rights Information Unit handled over 150,000 queries (by phone, e-mail or in person) from employers and employees enquiring about the operational features of Employment Rights Legislation ( source: Dept of Enterprise Trade & Employment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) launched in 2008. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It reported that in 2007 with over 14,000 inspections and as a result of advice and guidance given over €2,000,000 was paid back to employees by employers. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act, 1994 all employees must be provided with a contract of employment . </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Penalty = 4 weeks salary to the employee. </li></ul><ul><li>All employees must be furnished with a written copy of the Disciplinary Procedure within 2 months of employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Dismissals deemed unfair unless proven otherwise. </li></ul><ul><li>Companies not following fair procedure –employees can be awarded up to 104 weeks of salary </li></ul>
  9. 9. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><ul><li>Under the Equality Act, 1998, no employer must discriminate against or harass any employee or potential employee on any of the nine grounds of discrimination namely, </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Gender- A man, a woman or a transsexual person </li></ul><ul><li>Marital status- Single, married, separated, divorced or widower </li></ul><ul><li>Family status-Pregnant, parent of child under 18 or person with disability </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual orientation- Gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual </li></ul><ul><li>Religious belief- Different religious belief, background, outlook or none </li></ul><ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Disability- including people with physical, intellectual, learning or emotional disabilities and a range of medical conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Race- A particular race, skin colour, nationality or ethnic origin </li></ul><ul><li>Membership of the Traveller community </li></ul><ul><li>Case: A Worker v A Solicitor </li></ul>
  10. 10. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Employers should treat all employees equally . </li></ul><ul><li>The Equality Act, 1998 also outlaws harassment in relation to any of the nine discriminatory grounds in the workplace and in the course of employment whether by an employer, another employee or by clients or customers and an employer may be found liable for those acts if they cant prove they took reasonable steps to prevent the conduct and protect their employees. </li></ul><ul><li>Case: Ntoko v Citibank </li></ul>
  11. 11. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 All staff are entitled to a 15 minute break after 4.5 hours worked. </li></ul><ul><li>Another obligation under this Act is that employers must keep a record of an employees holidays and public holidays and in some cases rest breaks for a period of three years. </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Fine for failure to comply with Act:€1,900+€630 per day for continuing offence </li></ul>
  12. 12. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Sick Leave </li></ul><ul><li>Although generally there is no statutory requirement to pay sick leave most employers operate a sick leave scheme. If you pay sick leave or not the policy should be contained in either the contract of employment or company handbook. </li></ul><ul><li>Case: Mullarky v Irish National Stud </li></ul>
  13. 13. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Data Protection </li></ul><ul><li>All employees are entitled to a copy , clearly explained, of any information relating to them, kept on computer or in a structured manual filing system by their employer; </li></ul><ul><li>Are references included in this definition? </li></ul><ul><li>The Data Protection Commissioner has expressed the view that employees are entitled to references even if it has confidential written on it. </li></ul>
  14. 14. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Statutory Leave </li></ul><ul><li>All employees are entitled to </li></ul><ul><li>Maternity Leave-since 1 March 2007-26 weeks + option of 16 weeks unpaid leave </li></ul><ul><li>Parental Leave- 14 weeks unpaid leave per child up to the age of 8 </li></ul><ul><li>Adoptive Leave- since 1 March 2007-24 weeks after adoption+ option of additional 16 unpaid leave </li></ul><ul><li>Carers Leave-104 Weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Force Majeure leave-3 days per year </li></ul>
  15. 15. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Fixed Term Workers </li></ul><ul><li>Where an employees first fixed term contract commences after the 14 th of July 2003 there can only be one further fixed term contract and the aggregate duration of the two contracts cannot exceed 4 years unless there are objective grounds justifying a renewal </li></ul>
  16. 16. A Selection of Employer Obligations <ul><li>Transfer of Undertakings </li></ul><ul><li>Apart from the transfer of shares the following may also be deemed to be a business transfer that could involve an obligation on the purchaser to take on the employees: </li></ul><ul><li>Sale of Goodwill </li></ul><ul><li>Surrender of a lease-implications for a landlord; </li></ul><ul><li>Surrender of a franchise. </li></ul><ul><li>Each circumstance should be looked at before advising a client as to their obligations. </li></ul>
  17. 17. What can I say to my clients? <ul><li>Common Statements from clients </li></ul><ul><li>“ I have survived this long without contracts-why do I need them now?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I have never had any problems with staff-why do I need a handbook” </li></ul><ul><li>“ We have an informal relationship-I don’t want to formalise it” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I only have three employees-I don’t need a handbook!” </li></ul>
  18. 18. What can I say to my clients? <ul><li>1. It is the Law!-substantial fines and awards can be made against you! </li></ul><ul><li>2. If you don’t have a Grievance or Disciplinary or anti bullying policy in place you will almost certainly lose any case against you. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Employees expect at least a contract of employment and know their rights and their employers obligations. </li></ul><ul><li>A huge amount of management time is spent on dealing with queries and a contract and handbook is a one stop reference for all rights and policies </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing awards </li></ul>
  19. 19. Summary <ul><li>Recent legislation in Ireland has increased the obligations and responsibilities on all employers. </li></ul><ul><li>Employees’ increased awareness of their rights, and the increase in the compensation awards have all contributed to the likelihood of an employer becoming involved in some type of litigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Legislation covers all aspects of the employer –employee relationship and covers, in the majority of cases all employees. </li></ul><ul><li>All employers should be aware of their statutory obligations and ensure that they are complying with those obligations by putting in place policies and procedures </li></ul>
  20. 20. The HR Department, 126, Ranelagh Dublin 2. (t) 01-6852360 (m) 087 8527723