Our employment department acts for both employers and employees. We work closely with our clients to help them to adapt to new developments in Employment Law and provide speedy solutions to any employment issues in the workplace.
We advise on all aspects of Employment Law to businesses that need assistance in both non-contentious and contentious matters that arise from the commencement of a new business through to its closure or transfer.
We offer professional, practical, friendly and effective advice on a wide range of issues that arise in the workplace.
Areas of advice include the following:
- Drafting, reviewing and advising on contracts of employment, policies, procedures and office manuals
- Drafting Confidentiality and Restrictive Covenants
- Advising and mediating on workplace investigations/claims
- Advise on Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (TUPE)
- All aspects of termination of employment including negotiation of termination/ redundancy packages including statutory requirements
- Management of stress and sickness absence in the workplace
- Parental rights and flexible working
- Representation in relation to claims made to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)
1. The HSA has published a guide on manual handling risk assessment in the manufacturing sector, here: Manual Handling Risk Assessment
2. A new Statutory Instrument (S.I.81 of 2013 European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013) was signed into Irish law on the 8 March 2013 giving effect to the EU Directive on Parental Leave
The principle changes are:
- Unpaid parental leave will be extended from 14 to 18 weeks for each parent
- Parents can avail of the leave for each child under eight, but are limited to 18 weeks per year if they have more than one child (except in the case of twins or triplets)
- An employee returning to work from parental leave may request changes to their work hours and/or patterns for a set period of time. However, although the employer must give this consideration they are not obliged to grant these changes
- Whilst both parents have equal rights to the leave, this cannot be transferred between them, unless they work for the same employer
- European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations, 2013
3. Employers Guide to making an Employee redundant
According to Section 7(2) of the Redundancy Payments Acts 1967 – 2007, there are five legal reasons for redundancy in Ireland:
- Change in purpose or place of business.
- Reduction in requirements of the business.
- Fewer employees required.
- Change in work methods.
- Change in work.
Selection for redundancy should be fair, transparent and objective and should adhere to an approved redundancy procedure. A genuine redundancy has two important characteristics – ‘impersonality’ and ‘change’. It is the position, and not the employee, that is being made redundant.
Best practice is to engage in a two-stage consultation procedure (including some form of notification and consultation). The employer should make the employee aware of the business’ need for restructuring. There should be transparency about the selection process andee the employee should be consulted about any suitable alternative employment with the company. Employees should be asked to provide input before a final decision is made. Any input or proposals by employees should be considered and responded to and all responses should be recorded.
If employers do not adhere to fair procedures, despite a genuine redundancy situation existing they leave themselves open to an unfair dismissal claim under the Unfair Dismissals Acts 1977 to 2007.
4. Croke Park II discussions – please see the following link to the Labour Relations Commission Proposals: Labour Relations Commission Proposals
Workplace Relations Bill
Proposed changes to the Organisation of Working Time Act, contained in the new Workplace Relations Bill, will have financial implications for employers.
The Bill includes a provision which will amend section 19 of the 1997 Act, with the effect that in the case of an employee absent on certified sick leave they will be entitled to annual leave as if they had been present at work., Their leave will accrue during the leave year, or within six months of the leave year, or, where the employee was unable to take any annual leave in that leave year due to certified sick leave, within a 15-month period from the end of that leave year. If this bill is enacted into law it will have a significant cost impact for employers, particularly SMEs, who may have employees returning from long term sick-leave who will have accrued paid annual leave.
Whistleblowers – How the Protected Disclosures Bill 2013 will impact on the workplace
It is expected that this Bill will be enacted before the end of the year.
The Bill provides a requirement that all public sector employers must put a whistleblowing policy in place, but given the potential legal exposures imposed by the Bill, it is advisable for any private sector employers to follow suit.
Any policy should ensure that employees are ensured that they can raise concerns to their employer and that these will be fully addressed, while at the same time protecting their identity and ensuring that they do not suffer any detrimental treatment as a result.
The Bill does not protect disclosures in relation to breaches of individual terms and conditions of employment as this would only have consequences for the individual whistleblower.
An individual may not be penalised and motivation is irrelevant as long as the individual has reasonable belief that the disclosure is true and falls into one of the below categories:
- The commission of an offence;
- Non-compliance with a legal obligation;
- A miscarriage of justice;
- Non-compliance with health and safety;
- Damage to the environment;
- Misuse of public funds;
- Mismanagement by a public body;
- Concealing or destroying information relating to any of the above.
Unlike the UK, there is currently no requirement that a disclosure is made in the public interest. However, the bill may be amended prior to its enactment.