Irish Employment Law: What We Learned Last Quarter (Q2 2022)Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 4 July 2022 Issues covered: Budget 2023; Cost of Living; Sick Leave Bill; Gender Pay Gap Reporting; Gender Pronouns; New Whistleblowing Laws; Annual Law Review 2022
Legal Island's Learning and Development team have collated all of the updates we sent our 1,600+ Irish Employment Law Hub subscribers in Q2 2022. Every three months, we update you with some of the key developments in employment law and practice affecting the Irish workplace in the quarter. In the PRIDE month of June, we saw the rising cost of living hitting the headlines.
Taoiseach Micheál Martintold delegates that while it prepares for the Budget in October, the Government will maintain a calibrated and targeted response to inflation and that the focus of Budget 2023 would be on the cost-of-living crisiswith greater childcare supports and a reduced tax burden on middle-income earners. This will be welcome for many working parents as Ireland has among the most expensive childcare in Europe.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
June is the month in which employers choose their ‘snapshot’ date for their Gender Pay Gap reporting. The reporting period is the 12-month period immediately preceding and including the snapshot date. The government has published guidance on how to calculate the gender pay gap metrics. Legal IslandHub also has resources to assist, including an article by Síobhra Rush, Partner at Lewis Silkin, on the essentials you need to know.
On the subject of gender, searches online for ‘gender pronouns in the workplace’ have risen by 500% over the past three years. It remains unclear if this is employers finding out what they need to do to be supportive in the workplace or employees trying to find out their rights. Has your organisation adapted? A number of organisations including Central Bank and Dublin City Council have Gender Identity and Expression policies to help raise awareness and provide guidance on appropriate use of gender pronouns.
New Whistleblowing Laws
The Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2022 extends the protections afforded by the 2014 Act in several key aspects, including the requirement for employers to establish and maintain internal reporting channels and procedures for employees to make protected disclosures. Those channels and procedures will be subject to WRC inspections.
The Bill also broadens the definition of ‘worker’ – i.e. the person who can make a protected disclosure to include almost everyone associated with an employer, including volunteers, shareholders and job applicants. A designated person in every organisation must follow a strict timeline for acknowledging, providing feedback and dealing with complaints.
The Bill broadens the definition of a relevant wrongdoing, reverses the burden of proof in alleged penalisation claims, and widens the scope for employees to seek interim relief to forms of penalisation other than dismissal. And there will now be criminal penalties for penalisation in certain cases, including breaching the duty of confidentiality as regards the identity of a reporting person.
There are many more new rules on this important issue and the State is already late with bringing the legislation into line with the Directive in relation to employers with 250 or more employees. Those employees should have had these increased protections from December 2021 and employers with less than 250 employers must comply from December 2023.
Susan Doris-Obando from Mathesonprovides you with an overview of the main changes.
The discussion around remote working continues to dominate and the third annual National Remote Working Survey found that almost one third of workers would change jobs - even if it means a pay cut - if their remote working preferences are not facilitated and 95% of respondents believe working remotely makes life easier. Caroline Reidy from the HR Suite discusses how employers can prepare in advance for the Right to Request Remote Work Bill in this recent webinar. The Government also announced a Voucher Scheme to give remote workers free access to local digital hubs.
Legal Island’s Annual Law Review 2022
Bookthe 7th of July in your diary and join Scott Alexander, Head of Learning and Development at Legal Island,at 3:00pm - 3:30pm as he details the programme the most important sessions you need to attend at this year's flagship Annual Review ofEmployment Law conference.
Comparative Law – GB, NI, ROI
Our Comparative Employment Law Table highlighting recent developments in employment law on the Island of Ireland and GB was updated and launched in June. In association with Lewis Silkin, the table outlines the key differences in a range of employment areas across the jurisdictions of Ireland, and GB.
And to complement the Table, why not have a listen to our second webinar in our comparative law series with Lewis Silkin entitled “Equality laws - fit for purpose or ripe for reform?”.
These and many other stories can be found here on the Legal Island hub.
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.