What We Learned Last Quarter - April 2023 (Q1 2023)

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 5 April 2023
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Legislation; AI; Four-Day Week; Cybersecurity; Diversity & Inclusion

Legal Island's Knowledge Team have collated all the updates we sent our 1,000+ Employment Law Hub subscribers in Q1 2023. 

During the last three months, there has A LOT of buzz about AI and ChatGPT – the future is now! We experienced temperatures drop below zero…BRRR; celebrated International Women's Day; and there was a flurry of new employment laws in Ireland. With all of this happening, you deserve a break! Make yourself a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest news in the realm of HR and employment law….

New Employment Laws…

We saw unprecedented legislative change in the Irish employment law landscape since December 2022. Firstly, the Tips and Gratuities Act, which came into effect on 1st December 2022, gave new rights to employees, prohibiting the use of tips and gratuities to ‘make up’ contractual rates of pay.  Siobhán Lafferty from Reddy Charlton provided an overview of the changes for employers.  This was shortly followed by the European Union (Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions) Regulations 2022 which went under the radar for many and became law just in time for the Christmas rush – thanks for that! We couldn't keep up with all the questions raised during The HR Suite's latest free webinar with us, but you can catch up on the recording here.

If that wasn’t enough to grapple with…..on 1st January 2023, we saw the introduction of minimum mandatory sick payments - Éibhín Stapleton, RDJ LLP kindly set out the main changes and actions for HR and payroll in our ‘How Do I Handle It?’ series. And on the very same day, significant changes to the Protected Disclosures Act 2014 were introduced. To get to grips with these changes to whistleblowing law, JOIN US and experts, Dr Lauren Kierans BL & Michelle Halloran for our 2-half day event on 19th & 20th April.

And if that doesn’t leave you feel exhausted….we FINALLY had the Work Life Balance Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 pass all stages of the Dáil at end of March introducing for the first time a statutory right to request remote work…take a breath and keep an eye on our Employment Law Hub for more updates on that!

Artificial Intelligence - it’s coming and it’s coming fast! Are you ready?

Since ChatGPT was launched by the San Francisco-based research laboratory OpenAI in November 2022, it seems to be all anyone can talk about! What was once a topic confined to science fiction has now become a mainstream conversation in offices across Ireland.  

We saw the global law firm Allen & Overy declare their decision to incorporate Harvey, an AI platform that utilises a modified version of Open AI models specially optimised for legal work, into their worldwide operations.

Legal Island’s own Barry Phillips took on the challenge of explaining the relevance of ChatGPT to our HR audience in two of webinars –   Understanding the relevance of ChatGPT to the world of HR. Five ways it will save your HR team time and money and Unregulated Use of ChatGPT in the Workplace – five things HR absolutely must do right now to reduce the risks of litigation. Click on the links to catch up with the recordings.

4 Day Working Week

The 4-day working week continued to hit headlines. We learnt that nearly all of the UK companies that took part in a trial of the four-day working week have decided to keep the policy after finding a strong increase in wellbeing at no cost to productivity according to a study of the trial by think tank Autonomy, the University of Cambridge and Boston College.

Will Ireland follow suit? It seems it already has. Last year a research project, backed by trade union Fórsa and carried out in partnership by Four-Day Week Ireland, University College Dublin (UCD), and Boston College, saw a four-day working week trialled across twelve businesses was deemed a success by both the companies and employees involved. Tina O’Sullivan, Senior Associate and Megan O’Connor, Associate in the Employment, Pensions and Benefits Group at Matheson, reflected last year on some of the key legal and practical challenges arising from the 4 day workplace model and what measures can be taken by employers to address challenges.

Spike in Cybersecurity Attacks

It was a challenging few months for many Irish employers when it came to protecting their business from scams and ransomware attacks.

Some shocking statistics on cybersecurity were published. The consultancy firm Kroll found there was a spike in ransomware attacks around the world in the final quarter of last year. Aon highlighted 1 in 5 Irish firms experienced a cyber-attack last year. IoD found that 70% of business leaders and directors note that they are extremely or very concerned about the potential impact of cyber security threats to the business continuity of their organisation. All of these statistics were a hard reality for…… Munster Technological University when it confirmed that the breach of its IT systems was caused by a ransomware attack.

If you want to know how to protect you and your organisation, Legal Island’s Cyber Security in the Workplace eLearning course is tailored specifically to Irish law and provides comprehensive compliance training for all employees on cyber security practices in the workplace.

Women’s Rights

Reports of Gender Pay Gap made for some interesting reading in January 2023.What do An Post, Pennys, Stripe and the Department of Justice all have in common? They all reported a gender pay gap of zero or near-zero per cent. Currys, Irish Rail, Musgraves and Kerry County Council posted negative gender pay gaps where women are paid more than men. There is still a significant number of firms that have gender pay gaps above the Irish average of 11.3%, including RTÉ which reported a gender pay gap of 13% in favour of men. Irish Legal News analysed data from Ireland’s six largest law firms by solicitor numbers where we see women at Ireland’s largest law firms are earning up to 61% less than their male colleagues.

Want to know more about why gender balance in the workplace is good for everyone (including men)? Then come to our annual HR Conference, happening on Wednesday 26th April. The theme this year is Why 2023 is the Year of Women in the Workplace. The line-up of speaker's is second to none - Lauren Fabianski from campaigning group Pregnant then Screwed, feminist and ally Robert Baker, transgender campaigner and successful businesswoman Karen McShane and Founder of the Menopause Hub, Loretta Dignam, to name but a few! All topped off with an essential legal update from Eversheds Sutherland.

These and many more stories can be found on the Legal Island Employment Law hub here.

This article is correct at 05/04/2023

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.

Legal Island
Legal Island

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