Employment law has changed dramatically in recent years. Employees have been given greatly enhanced rights and protections in the workplace and legislation has been introduced to ensure that employees are treated fairly and equally. Discrimination and harassment are outlawed and basic working conditions and minimum wage levels have been prescribed. Employees are entitled to information and consultation and family and personal circumstances are recognised and provided for.
Employment law Many disputes can be resolved through mediation, however most complaints, disputes and grievances are heard before a Rights Commissioner or before the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Some cases are brought before the Labour Court. Claims under equality legislation are heard by the Equality Tribunal.
Various other options exist such as judicial review, injunctive relief to restrain dismissal, and enforcement of contractual rights through the Courts.
At O’Donnell McKenna Solicitors we act for employees and employers in a wide range of issues:
- employment contracts
- industrial relations
- unfair and wrongful dismissal
- rationalisation and redundancy
- bullying and harassment
- disciplinary and grievance procedures
- ongoing employment law advice.
Employment law compliance
Employment law has become increasingly complex over the past number of years. The need for organisations to ensure compliance with legislation is greater than ever, as the level of claims, inspections and fines escalates annually.
Employers are responsible for ensuring that employees receive certain basic employment rights. Failure to comply is both costly and time consuming. The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is able to impose on-the spot fines and can also publish the outcomes of cases of public interest and identify employers who have breached a labour law. Given the increased likelihood of a NERA inspection, employment law compliance should now become a key priority for you.
As a minimum, you should have the following information to hand in the event of a NERA inspection:
- your employer’s registration number with the Revenue Commissioners
- a list of all your employees together with their PPS numbers and addresses
- the dates of commencement of employment for all employees (and dates of termination if applicable)
- proof that you have given all your employees a written statement of terms and conditions of employment
- record of employees’ job classification
- record of their annual leave and public holidays taken by each employee
- record of hours worked for all employees
- record of all payroll details
- proof that you provide your employees with a written statement of pay
- a record or register of all employees under the age of 18
- details of employment permits where applicable
- completed template letter received from NERA advising you of the inspection.
Notwithstanding the risks of a NERA inspection, employers should ensure compliance with the wide range of employment legislation which exists.
Contracts and terms of employment
The Terms of Employment (Information) Acts 1994–2012 provide that an employer is obliged to provide an employee with a written statement of terms of employment within the first 2 months of the commencement of employment. To help you, we have put together a statement of terms and conditions of employment which you can download.
Tax and PRSI
The employer is responsible for deducting the correct amount of tax, PRSI, and Universal Social Charge from your employees’ wages and remitting these to Revenue using the PAYE system. The employer also pays employer’s PRSI contributions and must register as an employer with Revenue.
As an employer you are required to keep certain records relating to your employees. This is to show that you are compliant with employment legislation. NERA inspectors will require access to these records during an inspection. You can find a guide to how inspections are carried out at Workplace Relations.
Health and safety in the workplace
Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 employers have a duty to ensure employees’ safety, health and welfare at work as far as is reasonably practicable. For further information see our checklist on health and safety at work, which you may download.
Disciplinary procedures and dismissal
The Labour Relations Commission has published a Code of Practice: Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures which states that employers should have written grievance and disciplinary procedures. Disciplinary procedures set out the stages and process an employer should follow in relation to alleged shortcomings of an employee. To aid you, we have put together some general disciplinary procedures and dismissal procedures which you may download.
If you would like us to assist you, or if you would simply like to have a chat to discuss your options about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.