The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017, brought by Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, T.D., has of has completed Seanad Éireann, Second Stage. The objective of the Bill is to improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours.
The proposed legislation will: provide for a requirement that employers provide employees with certain terms of employment within a certain period after commencing employment; to impose sanctions for certain offences; to further provide for a minimum payment due to employees in certain circumstances; to prohibit contracts specifying zero as the contract hours in certain circumstances and to provide for the introduction of banded contract hours; to further provide for prohibition of penalisation and for those purposes to amend the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 and the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997; to amend the Workplace Relations Act 2015; and to provide for related matters.
IBEC contends that in the vast majority of these cases, banded hours have already been introduced or the issues have otherwise been resolved within the existing industrial relations and employment rights framework and the fact is that many employees working variable hours arrangements choose to do so, and in some cases, even insist that their employer provides that flexibility.
Small Firms Association
SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens stated: “The so-called ‘Banded Hours Bill’ is completely out of touch with the reality facing many small businesses. Flexible work arrangements are essential in a number of sectors to meet the demands of 21st century customers. Outlawing this flexibility will wipe out many small businesses providing elderly care, for instance, as well as small retail and hospitality operators.”
Minister Doherty said: “This is a substantial piece of legislation that will improve the security and predictability of employment for thousands of workers. Once passed, the Act will apply to all employers across all sectors of the economy. We have sought to strike a fair balance between the respective rights and obligations of employees and employers. Our approach in this Bill is to try to ensure that where we are introducing new rights for employees, or strengthening existing provisions in the law, the measures are proportionate and balanced.
“The vast majority of employers are honourable in their treatment of their employees, and meet their responsibilities under employment law. These employers should have nothing to fear in this Bill. On the contrary, the Bill is aimed at tackling exploitative employment arrangements, and employers who do not respect even the most basic rights of employees.”
Tully Rinckey solicitors Dublin will continue to monitor developments on this important piece of proposed legislation.