Irish Employment Law In Brief: March 2023

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 9 March 2023
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Women in the Workplace; AI; Cyberattacks; Cost of Living

This month’s 'In Brief' focuses on women and work; the rise of artificial intelligence and Chat GPT (it’s coming for your job apparently!); spikes in cyberattacks; 4-day week hailed a success and the cost-of-living crisis as these topics dominated the headlines in February.

Why 2023 is the Year of Women in the Workplace

A number of updates on women in the workplace and childcare developments hit the headlines over the past month:

Research carried out by ESRI finds that mothers of young children in Ireland work longer hours and are more reliant on formal childcare than their counterparts in Northern Ireland. We learned that thousands of parents may receive Childminding Subsidies under Plans going to Cabinet…..Minister for Children is to seek Cabinet approval to change the legal status of childminders, enabling the National Childcare Scheme to be opened to more parents. GB's Trade Union Congress (TUC) analysis reveals the average woman in paid employment effectively works for free for nearly two months of the year compared to the average man in paid employment.  Over the past 40 years, the UK and Ireland have seen an almost continual rise in the proportion of women in employment, from 57% in 1975 to 72% in December 2021.

It was International Women's Day on 8 March! Why not treat yourself to a ticket to our inspiring and empowering HR Conference? "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. Book now!

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! Users have marvelled at its ability to generate human-like written text. It can churn out news stories based on available public information, and even make reasonable attempts at poetry and song-writing. But what impact does it have on the world of HR? According to The Guardian, the machines are coming and they will eat your job! We saw magic circle law firm Allen & Overy announce that it is integrating the artificial intelligence platform, Harvey built on a version of Open AI models enhanced for legal work, into its global practice.

Legal Island’s own Barry Phillips took on the challenge of explaining the relevance of ChatGPT to our HR audience in his webinar “Understanding the relevance of ChatGPT to the world of HR. Five ways it will save your HR team time and money” and the recording can be found HERE.

Still questions about AI and ChatGPT? Why not join Barry at his re-run of the webinar on Tuesday 14 March at 1.30pm. Barry is also chairing a FREE webinar on 29th March - Special Edition: Unregulated Use of ChatGPT in the workplace – five things HR absolutely must do right now to reduce the risks of litigation – can you afford to miss it?

Spike in Cyberattacks

Recent research carried out on cybersecurity unveiled shocking statistics:

The consultancy firm Kroll found there was a spike in ransomware attacks around the world in the final quarter of last year. The report found that ransomware attacks against the technology and telecommunications sector more than doubled in the fourth quarter of 2022 with the manufacturing industry seeing a 25% increase in attacks. A survey carried out by Aon highlighted 1 in 5 Irish firms experienced a cyber-attack last year. IoD has 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 primary organisation. IBM released a cybersecurity report illustrating a big rise in email thread hijacking around the world. All of these statistics were a hard reality for…… Munster Technological University (MTU) 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.

Cost of Living and the World of Work

A global CEO survey published by PwC found that half of CEOs in Ireland predict economic decline this year. Even as they cut costs in the current high-inflation environment, 79% of CEOs surveyed in Ireland don’t plan to cut jobs this year and 89% said they don’t intend to cut pay amid the fight to retain talent. We also saw that a survey carried out by Aviva that 73% of workers in Ireland would continue to work if they were to fall ill for an extended period of time out of a sense of responsibility to their family and/or their employer. Three in five Irish consumers say they have no extra money left at the end of the month and half of all respondents here feel their financial situation has worsened over the past year. These are among the findings in the latest Deloitte Global State of the Consumer Tracker for January.

But it’s not all bad news…..Lidl workers are in line for a €2,500 pay rise as the company announced a €14m investment in pay and plans for 700 new jobs. And the number of people in employment increased by 68,600 or 2.7% to 2,574,500 in the year to the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Are you compliant with the new National Minimum Wage? Siobhán Lafferty of Reddy Charlton outlines the new rates as of 1 January 2023; who it applies to; how it is calculated and what happens if an employer fails to pay it.

Four Day Week

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. Across the test group, more than two-thirds of employees reported lower levels of burnout and there was a 65% reduction in the number of sick days taken. Employees were 57% less likely to quit, and revenues rose by 1.4% across the six-month test. Will Ireland follow suit? If you’re interested in learning more about the 4-day week (or 3-day weekend!) campaign in Ireland see here.

Worried about your organisation's productivity? Join us at our Productivity in a Blended/Hybrid Working Environment - read the full programme here.

This article is correct at 09/03/2023

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
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