In Brief ROI: February 2022

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 7 February 2022
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: National Minimum Wage, Public Holiday's, Work Related Stress, Remote Working

This month’s 'In Brief' brings together a range of resources and articles that we’ve found interesting over the past month. New laws and policies have been coming thick and fast this New Year, so we’ve highlighted the key themes, to help you keep up to date with all the developments.

National Minimum Wage Increases

Great news as the National Minimum Wage increased with changes coming into effect from 1 January 2022 including an increase of 30 cents from €10.30 to €10.50 for 20+ year olds and an increase in the 19-year-old rate from €9.18 to €9.45.  More information and details of all the rates are available here.  

On the flip side, a new ESRI study, funded by the Low Pay Commission has found that increases in the NMW have corresponded with a reduction of hours worked. However, the minimum wage increases were large enough to offset any earnings loss due to reduced hours, leaving the average minimum wage worker financially better off.

While on the subject of wages, the Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2021 was published last week which will prohibit the use of tips to ‘make up’ contractual rates of pay.  Establishments will also be required to display how they deal with tips clearly so that customers can see their policy. The Act does not yet have an implementation date, but we’ll keep you up to date on that.  In the meantime find out more about the Act here.

New Public Holiday Announced

More good news for workers as the government has agreed to designate a once-off public holiday on Friday 18 March 2022 in recognition of the efforts of the general public, volunteers and all workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in remembrance of people who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new public holiday will be followed by a day of remembrance and recognition to take place over St Patrick’s weekend.  From next year there will be a new permanent public holiday established in celebration of Imbolc/St Brigid’s Day.

Work Related Stress

Studies have revealed that a significant number of workers in Ireland are feeling more stressed since the onset of Covid-19. In light of this, Claire Macken, Solicitor at RDJ outlines the key considerations employees should make when dealing with absence due to work-related stress and details the potential claims which can arise from instances work-related stress in this recent article.

The pandemic has certainly focused the minds of HR professionals on mental health and resilience of staff. Check out our great webinar all about resilience and strength of mind - Who Dares Wins: Real World Lessons from Connor Smyth, the Winner of the Channel 4 Series - from professional Irish dancer to winner of the toughest course ever on Channel 4’s ‘Who Dares Wins’, Northern Ireland’s own Connor Smyth has shown he’s got what it takes. Strength of character, resilience, and the ability to keep going, when the going gets tough – everything we need to survive and thrive in today’s stressful workplaces.

One significant contributor to work related stress is dealing with difficult and challenging people and Dr Gerry McMahon sets out some key tips for dealing with difficult people which starts with understanding ourselves and how we contribute to these difficult working relationships.  Helpfully, Caroline Reidy of the HR Suite also provides some guidance for managers in tackling sensitive conversations with the employees. 

Right to Request Remote Working

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD has published details of a new law which will give employees the right to request remote working.  Linda Hynes, Partner in the Employment, Immigration and Reward division, Lewis Silkin, outlines the main features of the draft scheme here, which includes a requirement for employers to institute a Remote Work policy setting out the procedure which must be made available to employees to make a request. The draft scheme will need to undergo scrutiny by an Oireachtas Committee before the text of the bill is finalised. The bill will then need to go through all stages in the Dáil and Seanad before it can be enacted. Therefore, it is likely to be Q2 at the earliest before the bill is enacted.

However, the trade unions weren't overly happy with the criteria which an employer can use to reject a request for remote working.

Michelle Halloran has spent many years working with HR departments in leading companies and public sector bodies helping them upskill and to adopt the very latest practices and procedures and in her upcoming event, Remote and Hybrid Line Management – the 4 Cs on the 2nd and 3rd March will help you address the key challenges for managing a hybrid and remote team including:

  • Creating and maintaining effective communication and determining appropriate meeting etiquette 
  • Establishing and encouraging connections among team members and wider teams in the organisation
  • Reigniting creative thinking and collaboration
  • Recognising and responding to conflict

Find out more here:

This article is correct at 07/02/2022

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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