The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act came in to being on 4th March 2019, bringing with it several changes to existing employment legislation, which have had a notable effect on employers in Ireland.
This article focuses on changes to the following three pieces of legislation, which conclude the changes this Act has made to existing employment rights;
1.Workplace Relations Act, 2015
2. Unfair Dismissals Act, 1997
3. National Minimum Wage Act, 2000
Changes to Workplace Relations Act, 2015
- Fixed Payment Notices – Employers who do not comply with the requirement to provide a written statement of the five core terms of employment (the ‘5 day statement’) within the designated five days may have a fixed payment notice issued against them rather than be issued with proceeding. This is at the discretion of the adjudication officer.
- Criminal Offences – an employer who fails to provide this ‘5 day statement’ without reasonable cause within the first month of employment or who deliberately or recklessly provides false or misleading information in said statement can now be convicted of a criminal offence.
Employers who are convicted of such an offence can now face fines of up to €5,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months or both.
Changes to Unfair Dismissals Act, 1997
Originally, it was not possible for an adjudication officer to compel a witness to attend an Unfair Dismissal hearing under this Act. The new amendments now allow for this. Furthermore should a witness be compelled to attend and fail to do so they can now face penalties under the Act.
Changes to National Minimum Wage Act, 2000
The amended Act simplifies wage rates for employees both under 18 and over 18. Wage rates are now based exclusively on age. Trainee rates of pay have been abolished. As of 1st January 2019, the National Minimum Wage is set at €9.80 per hour for over 20’s. The table below indicates how the changes effect the 2019 minimum wage rates;
|Age||NMW Rate||% of NMW|
|18 years old||€7.84||80%|
|19 years old||€8.82||90%|
|20 years’ old +||€9.80||100%|
These changes will require you to:
- Review recruitment processes and ensure that the written statement of the five core terms of employment are issued within five days of a new employee starting.
- Monitor your use of flexible contracts and ensure your roster is working for you in order to avoid the minimum compensation payments.
- Be aware that should an employee take and unfair dismissals case, you or members of your workforce may be compelled to attend and/or provide evidence. Greater care must be taken to ensure these processes are being carried out in line with best practice. Employers should ensure their internal policies are up to date.
How can we help
We provide employers with support and advice, by phone, email and face-to-face, for all employment law and HR matters.
We can provide you with assistance auditing your current practices. We can also help you put in place new practices and develop the necessary paperwork to ensure you are meeting these requirements.