As the new year begins, let’s have a look at some of the updates that have been made within the employment legislation in Ireland. Substantial changes have been made in the field of employment protection between 1993 and 2017. It is vital to be aware of the changes in legislation as it will help you widen and expand your rights as an employee.
Below is a list of all the legislation concerning employment protection, which has been put in place during this period. It is hyperlinked to the original document for easy reference:
- The European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations Act 2017 serves the purpose of making it easier for professionals to work across the European Union. It enables the free movement of professionals within the EU. The professionals falling under the Directive are doctors, architects, nurses, veterinary surgeons, dentists, midwives and pharmacists.
- The Sectoral Employment Order (Construction Sector) 2017 took effect from 19 October 2017. This Order provides for mandatory terms and conditions in the construction sector. It includes pay, pensions, sick leaves and introduces a new dispute resolution procedure.
- The Employment Permits Acts 2003 & 2006 have been amended by the Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 that provided for 9 different types of employment permit and also changes the criteria for issuing employment permits.
- The Adoptive Leave Act 2005 amends the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 providing for adoptive leave from employment principally by the adoptive mother and for her right to resume work after such leave.
- Discrimination in a range of employment-related areas is prohibited due to significant amendments made to Employment Equality Act 1998 . The Equality Act 2004 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, marital status, family status, race, age, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability and membership of the Traveller community. The Equality Act 2004 also amends the Equal Status Act 2000 extending the definition of sexual harassment and prohibits sexual and other harassment.
- Carer’s Leave Act 2001 provides for an entitlement for employees to avail of temporary unpaid carer’s leave to enable them to care personally for people who require full-time care and attention.
- Workplace Relations Act 2015 reorganises and reforms employment rights structures by establishing the Workplace Relations Commission. This Commission has replaced the Labour Relations Commission, Rights Commissioner Service, Equality Tribunal and National Employment Rights Authority.
- The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 allows a paternity leave of 2 weeks in the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child.
- Protected Disclosures Act 2014 protects such employees from penalisation; in case the employee makes disclosures about wrongdoing in the workplace.
- Under the Protection of Employment (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012, all temporary agency workers are to be treated equally as if they had been directly recruited by the hirer for the duration of working time, rest periods, night work, annual leave, public holidays and pay.
- Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 replaced the provisions of the Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1989 by updating and consolidating the existing health and safety law. Changes include provision for higher fines in case of breaches of safety legislation.
- The Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003 protects fixed-term employees by ensuring that they are not treated any differently than permanent employees. The employees cannot repeatedly renew fixed term contracts.
- Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 updates the previous legislation related to the provision by employers to employees of information on matters like job description, pay and hours of work.
- National Minimum Wage Act 2000 introduces an enforceable national minimum wage.
- The European Communities (Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003 covers any transfer of an undertaking, business or part of a business from one employer to another because of a legal transfer or merger. It protects employees’ rights and entitlements during this transfer.
- Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a system of registered employment agreements and sectoral employment orders.
- Minimum requirements for employees’ right to information and consultation about the development of their employment’s structure and activities is established by the Employees (Provision of Information and Consultation) Act 2006. Since March 2008, it applies to employers with at least 50 employees.
- The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996 replaces the various previous legislation dating from 1977 regarding the employment and working conditions of children and young persons.
- Unfair Dismissals (Amendment) Act 1993 updates unfair dismissals law and amends previous legislation from 1977.
- Under the Organisation of Working Time (Records) (Prescribed Form and Exemptions) Regulations 2001, it is required by the employers to keep a record of the number of hours worked by employees on a daily and weekly basis along with keeping a record of leaves granted to employees each week as annual leave or public holidays etc. Organisation of Working Act 1997 and OWT Act (inclusion of transport activities) Regulations 2004, are also quite important in this regard.
- Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 includes new provisions relating to ante-natal classes, breastfeeding, additional maternity leave. Thereby, makes significant improvements to the Maternity Protection Act 1994.