EMPLOYMENT (MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 2018 - IRE
The Act introduces regulations in relation to precarious work arrangements, zero hours contracts and uncertain working conditions. The key changes introduced are outlined as follows:-
Core Terms Of Employment
The employer must now give a written statement of 5 core terms within 5 days of commencing employment. The core terms in this regard are:
- Name of employer and employee
- Address of employer
- Expected duration of employment contract
- Method of calculating or rate of pay
- Expected hours of normal day or week
- Failure to provide this statement may potentially lead to the criminal prosecution of the employer.
Banded Hours Provisions
Employees have a statutory entitlement to a banded hours contract where their contractual working hours over the previous 12 months do not reflect their actual working hours. If the employee requests such a contract, he/she must be given the banded hours contract unless:-
(i) the employee’s claim is not supported by evidence
(ii) there have been significant adverse changes to the employer’s business in the previous 12 months (iii) the hours worked in the previous 12 months were brought about by a temporary situation which no longer exists.
The banks of hours set out in the 2019 Act are:
Band From To
A 3 hours or more Less than 6 hours
B 6 hours or more Less than 11 hours
C 11 hours or more Less than 16 hours
D 16 hours or more Less than 21 hours
E 21 hours or more Less than 26 hours
F 26 hours or more Less than 31 hours
G 31 hours or more Less than 36 hours
H 36 hours or over
Exemption For Collective Agreements
There is an exemption from this section for employers who have entered into a banded hour arrangement through an agreement by collective bargaining with their employees. This is to recognise that in some sectors, in the retail sector particularly, banded hours arrangements have been agreed between the employer and employees and often work well. The new provisions will not interfere with these arrangements or with any such agreements that are collectively bargained in the future. An employer is not obliged to offer hours of work in a week where the employee was not expected to work or when the business is not open. Current employees will not have to wait 12 months after commencement of this provision to seek to be placed on a band of hours. From 4 March 2019, an employee who believes their contract does not reflect the hours they have consistently worked over the previous 12 months of service with their employer may request to be placed by that employer in a band of hours that better reflects the hours they have worked regularly.
Prohibition of Zero Hours Contracts
A ‘zero hour’ work practice occurs when an employer requires an employee as a matter of contract to be available for a certain number of hours per week and/or on an “as and when required basis”, without the guarantee of work. There is a new provision under the Act to prohibit zero hours contracts except in very limited circumstances, such as where there is a genuine casual employment requirement or the need to provide cover in emergency situations.
If an employer fails to require an employee to work 25% of their contracted hours, the employee is entitled to a minimum payment (equivalent to 25% of the contract hours or 15 hours, whichever is lesser, and calculated at 3 times the national minimum wage). This entitlement does not apply to employees who are required to make themselves available on an “on-call” basis such as genuine emergency workers.
The Act introduces much stronger anti-penalisation provisions in order to protect employees looking to exercise these new rights. For further information on this topic please refer to www.welfare.ie/en/pages/Employment_(Miscellaneous_Provisions)_Act_2018.aspx