HR in 90 Seconds - June 2018

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 13 June 2018
Legal Island
Legal Island
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In this month's ‘HR in 90 seconds’ we bring you up to speed with the HR topic of the moment. We’ve selected articles and summarised a few learning points to help you stay up to speed with minimal effort.

Looking at the news from the last few weeks, it seems that everyone is talking again about retirement ages. We have a number of excellent resources on this on the Irish Employment Law Hub. We know you are short for time so we have reviewed them all and brought together the key learning points to help you stay up to speed with minimal effort. You can follow the relevant links for an in-depth analysis of each issue.

This month’s takeaway points include:

  • A list of 7 key learning points and 4 basic steps to take in relation to Retirement Ages;
  • The main steps in managing absence and sick leave; and
  • Key points on how to manage change.

Retirement Ages and the Code of Practice

The issue of retirement comes up regularly for employers and the code published on 20th December 2017 usefully restates the law and then guides HR professionals through how to deal with the issue of retiring employees. It sets out best practice over the following headings:

  1. Utilising the skills and experience of older workers.
  2. Objective justification of retirement.
  3. Standard retirement arrangements.
  4. Requests to work longer.

The Code reminds employers of the current legal position on setting mandatory retirement ages in the workplace. We have analysed several articles and summarised them in some key learning points:

  1. Retirement Age should be laid out in contracts of employment;
  2. Retirement Age can be set, even if it is simply set as being in line with the state retirement age, so long as it is objectively justified;
  3. It remains lawful to offer fixed term or specified purpose contracts to an employee who has reached the mandatory retirement age in an organisation;
  4. Consider putting in place a retirement policy which sets out:
    1. the fixed retirement age and the objective justification relied upon by the employer (including why the aims cannot be met by any other means);
    2. what employees can expect when approaching retirement;
    3. how requests to work beyond retirement are considered
    4. termination of employment on retirement;
  5. If no mandatory retirement age is set in the contract of employment there are instances where custom and practice may be considered;
  6. Important, if setting a mandatory retirement age, it must be applied consistently as far as possible;
  7. Have a paper trail as to why the chosen age is objectively justified.

We have also summarised the basic steps that can be taken to ensure that you are protecting your organisation in the area of retirement:

  1. Include retirement age in the contract of employment, handbook and ensure that it is objectively justified
  2. Write to the employee 12 months prior to the retirement age informing them that it is pending
  3. With 6 months prior to go, meet to discuss arrangements including dates, anything to assist in the transition – handover plans and any other necessary details
  4. Ensure that you follow up on the meeting in writing for clarification purposes

The message is clear, it's extremely important to ensure consistency and definitiveness of the wording in your contracts and supporting documentation, your pension scheme, your staff handbook and your policies and procedures.

For reference purposes, if you want to find out some more we have used information from Jennifer Cashman’s Employment Law Review of the Year, Reddy Charlton Solicitors answer to Should we include a retirement age in our contracts of employment? and the HR Suite article on How to Manage Retirement.

Other articles of interest this month

Main steps in managing absence and sick leave

Long-Term Absence Management by Caroline McEnery HR Suite gives us a quick reminder of the 5 top things that the absence and sick leave policy should include: notification procedures, certification procedures, sick leave pay arrangements, referral to company doctor procedures and return to work procedures. Then following on from this Caroline considers what the main steps might be in managing absence and sick leave:

  • Constant communication (within the company absence policy)
  • Employee to attend meeting to discuss absence
  • Appointment with Occupational Doctor
  • Follow up meeting to discuss report from Doctor
  • Fit to return to work
  • Fit to return to work with limited capabilities
  • Incapable of returning to work

It is also important that we take away the point that the management of absences is different for each individual employee as illnesses/conditions differ for each individual and so specific advice should be obtained at all times. 

How to manage change

Dr Gerry McMahon believes that change is here to stay and he discusses this in last month’s How to... Manage Change. Dr Gerry summarised his key points as:

  • Set SMART business and human resource\people objectives for the change management programme. Consider the selection of appropriate ‘change leaders\agents’.
  • Invite various levels of the management team, other key staff and\or union representatives to diagnose the relevant problem(s) necessitating change and to prescribe the solution(s).
  • Help staff to view their value in terms of their full range of competencies\skills and if necessary to develop the competencies associated with the change process.
  • Assist those experiencing fear and stress at the prospect of change. Let them vent their concerns\issues, listen and enable a supportive, participative and responsive process.

Finally in our next webinar on Wednesday 27th June 2018 (14:00 - 14:30) with Caroline McEnery from the HR Suite, we will spend 30 minutes discussingDismissals - Management and How to Minimise Risk for the Business. Don’t forget that you can send in any questions in advance to

Remember - if you have seen any HR related articles you’d like to share with Legal-Island readers, drop a line to

And don't forget, Legal-Island's Annual Review of Employment Law 2018 conferences have been released. Register now to secure your place amongst 600 smart and ambitious HR professionals... and you'll get our Early Bird rate.

Thursday 1st November - Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin

Thursday 15th November - Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northwood, Dublin

Wednesday 28th November - Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin


This article is correct at 13/06/2018

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.

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