Do you feel up-to-date and equipped to navigate the world of employment law?
At the time of writing, less that 30% of you feel confident and compliant when it comes to being up-to-date with employment law, according to our LinkedIn poll.
And with things like Sick Leave, Protected Disclosures, Gender Pay Gap Reporting, and much more on the watchlist this year, we completely understand why many of you are feeling a little bit worried about keeping up to speed!
So let us help!
To kick off 2023, we want to share with you, the ultimate guide to employment law for the year ahead, with an overview of the key legislation and updates to keep you, your team, and your business, confident and compliant.
P.S, we’ve got even more guidance and advice for you at our next free HR Room Webinar – Employment Law Update 2023, with Jennifer Cashman. Save your spot, here!
But for now, read on!
Sick Leave Act
On the 20th of July 2022, the Sick Leave Act 2022 was passed into law, and eventually came into effect on 1st January 2023.
The Act gives eligible employees the right to three days paid sick leave per year from their employer. This will increase to five days in 2024, seven days in 2025, and finally ten days in 2026.
The rate of payment is 70% of an employee’s normal wages, capped at €110 per day.
To be eligible, employees must have at least 13 weeks service and be certified by a medical practitioner for the duration of the absence.
For employers, there are two possible situations here, with action required, either way;
- For employers who already offer sick pay to their employees, you should now (if not done already) update your policies and contracts to include that a given amount of this includes the statutory pay & leave.
- For employers who do not offer sick pay to their employees, you should already have put in place the processes, communication, and records to ensure you are now compliant with the new law.
Do you need help updating your HR policies? Check out our recent podcast on this topic here.
Do you need more information on Sick Pay & Sick Leave? Have a listen to our dedicated podcast episode here.
And for further reading, visit the Citizen’s Information overview of the legislation here.
National Minimum Wage / Living Wage
Another important update which came into effect on the 1st of January, was the new national minimum wage. This latest update saw the minimum wage increase by €0.80 to €11.30 on the 1st of January 2023 for all employees over 20.
What’s included in as pay when it comes to the minimum wage?
- normal basic pay
- shift allowances or other similar payments
- any fee, bonus or commission
- Zero Hours payments
- Board & Lodgings
- Service charge given through the payroll
Please note, for certain industries, for example, the security sector, there are different minimum wage rates, governed by employment regulation orders.
On a related note, there was also an update in 2022 to the payment of early years and childcare workers. Effective since the 15th of September 2022 are new Employment Regulation Orders for the Early Years and Childcare Industry. The ERO will provide pay increases and wage structure for early learning and childcare workers. The ERO brings new minimum hourly rates of pay for various roles in the sector, ranging from €13-an-hour for early years educators and school-age childcare practitioners, to €17.25-an-hour for graduate managers.
For further information on the minimum wage, visit the government’s website here.
Are you concerned about your pay & reward packages currently being offered to your employees? Is it time to re-evaluate? Listen to some great insights from Oliver Coakley on pay & reward in this podcast episode.
And yet another 1st of January update which many companies are aware of, but are struggling to comes to term with, is the update to protected disclosures (whistleblowing) legislation.
This amendment, which was well-covered in employment and HR spheres last year, essentially updates protections for whistleblowers, giving clear guidance on the scope of ‘workers’ as defined in the act, along with clearer terms for penalisation and reporting expectations for employers of varying sizes.
The protected parties (workers) in this amendment now include volunteers, board members, shareholders, trainees and more, giving protection to a much wider range of stakeholders.
And when it comes to reporting, employers with more than 250 employees should have already (as of 1st January) established reporting channels, while those with more than 50 employees have until 17th December this year, to do so.
For full information on the amendments along with links for support, click here!
We spoke to Elizabeth Ryan, Employment Law & Benefits Department of Mason Hayes & Curran Solicitors, in April 2022 about this topic, discussing the context and changes envisaged for this act. Listen back to our chat here!
Gender Pay Gap
2022 saw the long-awaited arrival of definitive Gender Pay Gap reporting guidelines, and more importantly, deadlines.
Employers with 250 or more employees were required to publish information about their gender pay gap over the course of December (2022), using a ‘snapshot’ date in June to determine their figures and results.
Although, this is currently only a requirement for companies with more than 250 employees, these thresholds will be changing in the coming years; employers with 150 or more employees will have to report in 2024, and employers with 50 or more employees will have to report in 2025.
Many companies have come out already to announce their gender pay gap results, however, the full scale of the reporting has yet to be definitively determined. In any event, no matter what your sense of a gender pay gap or company size, clarity and preparation is key.
For full information on the Gender Pay Gap legislation, visit the government’s FAQ page here.
And, of course, we covered this on our podcast! Listen back to our conversation with Mary Connaughton, Director at CIPD Ireland on this topic!
Tips & Gratuities
We’re not finished talking about money just yet! Effective as of 1 December 2022, the Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022 introduced new rules as to how employers have to share tips, gratuities and service charges amongst employees.
This new amendment saw various vital changes made to the law governing tips and gratuities, giving guidance on nuances such as electronic tips, the correct display/communication of service charges to customers, and the contractual/policy obligations thereafter.
For anyone hoping to get a clear summary of this piece of legislation, look no further than our recent chat with Siobhan Lafferty, Senior Associate at Reddy Charlton, where we gave tips on tips, service charges, compliance, and culture!
Employment Terms & Conditions
December 2022 saw another key update for employers and HR teams to take note of, as he European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 became law, with the hope of providing clearer and more predictable employment terms for workers.
While many of the ‘new’ requirements already exist in Irish law and are in practice in many Irish companies, it’s terms should be reviewed by all Irish employers, also due to the fact that the remit of this law applies to all employees.
A new set of minimum requirements introduced by the Directive, and reflected in the new Regulations, can be found in the full summary of the law, here.
Right to request remote working
The right to request remote working was one of the top employment law news items in 2022, with much debate around just what the Right to Request Remote Working Bill would lay out, what it would include, and what obligations would apply to both employer and employee.
What did not receive as much widespread attention, was the latest update with regards to this and its associated topics.
It is good news though, as we are due to see progress in this regard as the Government announced that the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 would include the right to request flexible working arrangements, along with the requests for remote working, in one integrated bill (which also will provide new entitlements for parents and carers).
So while this new approach will encapsulate more wide-ranging terms, and in unison, speed up the process toward becoming law, many employers may have already figured out their approach to flexible and remote working. Was the fanfare around this bill in early 2022 due to the heightened need for guidance? Is this now just going to be the application of some finishing touches on some already widespread practices?
Keep up-to-date with the progress of the bill here.
Are you confused by the law in this area? Are you worried that your current practices may have to be changed again? We’d love to hear from you! Get in touch with us for support and guidance!
With many more updates to Irish Employment law coming around the corner, do you feel up-to-date with your obligations as an employer?
Are you keeping an eye on what’s coming next? With pension auto-enrolment, retirement ages, employment permits, collective bargaining and much more also in the employment law headlights for this year and beyond, make sure your company is compliant, that your people are up-to-date, and that you are ready.
Get even more guidance and advice by signing up to your next free HR Room Webinar – Employment Law Update 2023, with Jennifer Cashman. Save your spot, here!