Irish Employment Law In Brief: It was the Best of Times and 2023Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 3 January 2023
Ah, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” Although Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities was written in 1859, 2022 brought nearly as many highs and lows…especially in HR.
This month’s 'In Brief' focuses on key employment law and HR developments this past year and upcoming priorities.
Tips & Gratuities
The Tips and Gratuities Act, which came into effect on 1st of December, 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.
Unfortunately, in the cases of A Waitress vs A Café and An Employee v Restaurant things weren’t quite so clear cut, with allegations including sexual harassment, gender discrimination and unfair dismissal. Dermot Casserly, Partner, and Leah Traynor, Trainee Solicitor, DWF (Ireland) LLP, discussed the first case in which the complainant left her position after four weeks due to an offensive and humiliating remark by her supervisor.
Remote and Hybrid Working
As the pandemic’s legacy left its mark on the work environment, remote working became a possibility for many. Many welcomed the flexibility and savvy employers used it as an important incentive to retain existing staffor attract talent. The third annual National Remote Working Survey found 30% of workers would take lower-paid job to guarantee remote work.
Legal Island has a 2 half day event ‘Productivity in a Blended/Hybrid Working Environment - Overcoming Challenges & Improving Employee Performance’ on 21and 22 March - we would be delighted for you to join us!
In June, Tesla boss Elon Musk ordered staff to return to the office full-time, declaring working remotely was no longer acceptable. Employees unwilling to abide by the new rules were told they could "pretend to work somewhere else". Mr Musk said on Twitter, "If you don't show up, we will assume you have resigned." Nice. Elon got himself into more hot water closer to home when Twitter staff lost their jobs via e-mail. Perhaps Elon should have listened to the RTÉ podcast ‘My Boss is a Psychopath: why bad people get good jobs’, which describes how characteristics of successful executives can also include lack of empathy, lack of conscience and manipulative and impulsive behaviour.
4 Day Working Week
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 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.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
On 3 June 2022, the long-awaited gender pay gap reporting regulations were published. Employer results are mixed with An Post reported a 0% gender pay gap(for the second year!) while the bank and media sectors discovered they have room for improvement.
If your organisation found your GPG needs work, we have on-demand training in association with Addleshaw Goddard LLP available to help your organisation:
- Discuss how to remove barriers to promotion and foster female labour market participation at senior levels;
- Identify the challenges and receive practical solutions;
- Learn how to reduce your risk and rescue your reputation in the event of a poor result;
- Share best practices to ensure equality and diversity is at the forefront of the 2023 business agenda.
69% of businesses in Ireland were concerned hybrid working arrangements increased the chances of a cyberattack or incident, according to a survey by Dell Technologies. 91% of companies surveyed said they took steps to enhance data protection in the past 12 months. If you have concerns about cyber security and home working, you might be interested in our eLearning course, Protecting Data when Home Working in Ireland.
From the 1st of January, all employers in Ireland were obliged to make minimum mandatory sick payments to their employees. Éibhín Stapleton, RDJ LLP, kindly set out the main changes and actions for HR and payroll in our ‘How Do I Handle It?’ series.
On that note, a memorable case from 2022 was Tara Keating v Camfil where an employee on sick leave was discovered to have actually been on holiday. Awkward.
Cost of Living
71% of employees said the cost-of-living crisis is their main cause of stress and anxiety. Industrial action was an ongoing issue, with everyone trying to make their money go further. The situation doesn’t look to change soon and Legal Island is hosting an event, Key Priorities for HR During a Cost-of-Living Crisis Reward, Restructuring, Retention and Resilience, on the 28 February 2023, to help employers explore some creative ways in which employers can provide support for employees to ensure that they retain their most talented staff, attract new staff and ensure employee wellbeing is maintained.
And so to end on a positive note, the Legal Island team passes on their best wishes for 2023 and may the upcoming year be full of new achievements that will bring you a huge success. Happy New Year!
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.