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What to Expect from Human Resource Management in 2018

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 17 January 2018
Caroline McEnery
The HR Suite Online

National Minimum Wage

In 2017 the Irish Government accepted the recommendation of The Low Pay Commission.

In line with Budget 2018, announced on 10 October 2017, an increase to the minimum rate of pay will take effect from 1 January 2018. The minimum rate of pay from 1 January 2018 will be €9.55 per hour. This corresponds to an increase of 3.2% on the current rate of €9.25 per hour. If your organisation uses the inexperienced worker rates these will increase pro-rata additionally and are outlined below for you.

Experienced adult worker 

€9.55 

Over 19 and less than 2 years since first job  

€8.60 

Over 18 and less than 1 years since began first  job  

€7.64  

Aged under 18   

€6.69 

S.I. 440 of 2017

The Minister also accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations regarding the allowances provided for board and lodgings under the National Minimum Wage. 

Additionally, the government decided to increase the board and lodgings rates in line with the increase in the National Minimum Wage (3.2%). As part of S.I. 440 of 2017 the Minister set the rates for lodgings only at €22.56 per week, or €3.24 per day and for board at €0.85 per hour. These adjustments will take effect from 1 January 2018. This change will have ramifications for many industries including hotels with seasonal workers who live on the premises. The HR Suite expect more SEO’s of 2018 that may impact on your sector of employment.

Data Protection

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force on the 25 May 2018, replacing the existing data protection framework under the EU Data Protection Directive. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) significantly increases the obligations and responsibilities for organisations and businesses in how they collect, use and protect personal data. The new legislation will include compensation for individuals whose data has been breached which was unheard of in the older acts. In addition, fines have increased up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover. This will be another element of the employment relationship that owners and managers will have to administer correctly and seek advice from a data protection specialist.

Note: Legal-Island is running Data Protection Update: Ensuring your HR Department is GDPR-Compliant conference on 6 March 2018 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dublin Airport.

SEO’s

In 2017 the Sectorial Employment Order for the Construction Industry was signed by Minister Pat Breen.  This order fixes the statutory minimum pay, pension and sick pay entitlements for craftsmen, construction operatives and apprentices employed in the construction Sector. The revised terms and conditions for the construction sector took effect from the date of the Order which was the 19 October 2017 and will apply to almost 50,000 workers in the sector. It is important that we keep on top of the relevant updates in relation to the Sectorial Employment Orders, as to date they have gone largely unnoticed and unpublicised.

Retirement

The issue of retirement is one which comes up regularly for employers and has attracted much recent attention due to case law. With the exception of certain public sector occupations, there is no single fixed mandatory retirement age for employees in Ireland. There is no legislative requirement for employers in Ireland to objectively justify mandatory retirement ages in contracts of employment but a number of rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“the CJEU”) have held that a mandatory retirement age must be objectively and reasonably justified. The Equality Tribunal has departed from a plain reading of the Irish legislation and has published decisions that interpret our legislation in line with the CJEU’s thinking. It has held in a number of cases that an employer must provide objective justification for the imposition of a mandatory retirement age, notwithstanding that no such requirement is provided for in Irish Employment Equality legislation.

This leaves Irish employers in the unsatisfactory position of having to reconcile inconsistent Irish and European legal positions regarding the retirement issue. This will continue to be a fundamental employment issue moving forward so you should ensure that both your contract and handbook have an objectively justified retirement age.

Related article: Should we include a retirement age in our contracts of employment? Laura Graham of Reddy Charlton Solicitors

Workplace Relations Inspections

Workplace Relations Inspections (formerly NERA Inspections) have increased dramatically in the past 12 months across all sectors and in all geographical areas. It is important to note that The HR Suite have seen increased unannounced and announced visits amongst our client base with a focus on items such as: rest breaks during the working day, rest breaks between shifts and under 18’s compliance. It is vital that you ensure your current practices are in line with legislation to avoid potential fines, prosecution or publicity. Start the year afresh and contact The HR Suite that can conduct a full audit of your HR practices to ensure that you are compliant with the relevant legislation as inspected by the WRC.

This article is correct at 17/01/2018
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline McEnery
The HR Suite Online

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline McEnery. Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuiteonline.com

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