Employers, get ready for change in employment legislation
Anti Zero hours legislation passes bill stage
Major employment law changes coming in March 2019. The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 went through its final stage in December 2018 and has been signed by the President and is now the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.
The commencement of the Act is scheduled for 1st March 2019. This will allow employers time to implement any changes which this new legislation will bring about.
What are the main changes ?
Terms of employment statement
The Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 will be amended to require employers to provide a written statement of their essential terms of employment to employees within five days of their commencing employment. The essential terms of employment required are the following:-
- The full names of the employer and employee;
- The address of the employer;
- The duration of the contract;
- The method of calculating remuneration;
- The hours the employee is to be expected to work per day/ week.
This is a big change from the previous allowed time of two months. If you fail to provide this information within the stipulated timeframe you will be committing a criminal offence, which attracts a Class A fine (up to €5,000 ) and/or imprisonment for up to twelve months. It is important therefore that you as an employer take the necessary steps to implement these changes now, so that you are not facing the risk of a large penalty later.
Zero Hours Contracts
Zero hours contracts are banned, unless the employer can prove that it is a situation where there is genuiune casual employment and where they are necessary to provide cover in emergency situations or short term absence. That rules out most of the situations in which zero hours contracts are currently used. Employers who use zero hours contracts at present should take steps now to prepare for the changes which are coming in March.
What's the minimum payment ?
It's all about the 25%. Where an employee is required to be available for a specified number of hours per week and/or when required they are entitled to a minimum of 25% of the contracted hours or where work for which the employee is contracted to perform has been completed, then 25% of those hours.
Where no work is provided for the employee they are entitled to pay for 25% of that work or a totla of 15 hours work, whichever is the lesser.
Beat the band
In circumstances where the average hours an employee is working per week is greater than the contracted hours then in such circumstances, the employee on request is entitled to move to a higher band of hours. The requested band must correspond to the average hours worked per week by the employee in the previous twelve months. The following are the bands:
A 3 to 6 hours
B 6 to11 hours
C 11 to 16 hours
D 16 to 21 hours
E 21 to 26 hours
F 26 to 31 hours
G 31 to 36 hours
H 36 hours plus.
When an employer receives such a request they must assign to the employee average weekly working hours which fall within the appropriate band within four weeks. Failure to do so can result in a claim being made by the employee to the Workplace Relations Commission ( WRC). There is no provision for compensation in respect of the breach, however.
No penalisation allowed
Penalising the worker for seeking their rights is prohibited.
What should I do next?
As an employer , whether you have casual workers or not, you should take note of the requirement to furnish a statement of terms of employment within 5 days of their commencement of employment. If you have, or intend to have casual workers you should ensure that you keep proper records of hours worked by staff in order to assess any requests for banded hours, and also because legislation requires you to do so.
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