What We Learned Last Quarter – January 2024

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 10 January 2024
Legal Island
Legal Island
Issues covered: Domestic Violence Leave, Budget and Financial, AI, Cybersecurity, Remote and Flexible Working

Legal Island's Knowledge Team have collated all of the updates we sent our 1,600+ Irish Employment Law Hub subscribers in Q4 2023.  We cover all of the updates for October, November, December 2023 below. Grab a cuppa, sit back and let us inform you of the latest!

Remote and Flexible Working

Are you at home or in the office today?  The Republic of Ireland is ahead of Northern Ireland for embracing remote workingCensus 2022 recorded a 173% increase in the number of people working mainly from home compared to 2016.  How important is this factor to you?  The fourth annual National Remote Working Survey has revealed that 44% of workers would change job, even if it means taking a pay cut, if their remote working preferences are not facilitated. 

The take up in Dublin office space dropped by 63% in the third quarter of this year compared to the same three months last year.  It really is a balancing act between the needs of the business and the employee, and a rethink of fundamental practice is required, as the Irish Examiner reported.  But should we give employees the choice?  Does choice equal increased revenue?  This report, which featured in Forbes, says yes: An interesting thought as we start the new year.

AI and Technology

As Olga Pollock put it, “What’s all this Chat about AI?”  Certainly IBM have paid attention to it, completing a study into how AI is changing work and what HR leaders should do about it, and offering free Artificial Intelligence training courses to adult learners. The Irish Times reported that two in five employees take credit for work done by AI. (Want to know how it could help?  Check out our upcoming workshop!)

In early December, the world’s first comprehensive laws to regulate artificial intelligence were agreed in a landmark deal between the European Parliament and EU member states.   IrishJobs reported that new developments in AI and automation will have a significant impact on the recruitment landscape over the coming year.  Certainly, job losses featured heavily on the headlines, impacting tech firms in Cork and wider afield, RTÉ, Amazon and Citigroup.

All getting a bit like “Minority Report”? Waterford gardaí investigating scams seize €1.12m in 'first major seizure of cryptocurrency', and the Irish Government said it will enable facial recognition technology in order to prosecute offenders for riot and violent disorder, in response to the riots in Dublin, and admiringly, two separate fundraisers, for the carer and the Deliveroo rider who were involved in stopping the stabbing of children in Dublin, raised more than €600,000 between them.  Our thoughts are with their families.

Cybersecurity

“Don’t forget to lock your screen when you’re not at your desk!”  Sound familiar?  It may all sound a bit “doomsday” but indeed cyber-security and data breaches were widely discussed in the news, with many businesses in fear, and the HSE have been busy defending 400 lawsuits brought about by 2021 cyberattack

Ricky Kelly, RDJ LLP, and Giles Tyler, Control Risks, joined us to advise on how to navigate HR’s cyber frontier – catch up on the webinar HERE**.  Fancy a free demo of Legal Island’s Cyber Security Awareness course?  Click HERE if so. 

Court Decisions

As William Fry put it, “Revenue to Get a ‘Pizza the Action’ following Successful Appeal."  The Revenue Commissioners -V- Karshan Midlands Ltd T/A Dominos Pizza [2023] IESC 24 has the potential to have wide-ranging implications for both companies and workers.  Cian Moriarty, Philip Lee LLP updates us in his excellent article HERE**.  And it would be wise to keep an eye on the implications in the Irish courts the recent UK Deliveroo case may have in future gig economy cases.

The WRC decided its first case on Statutory Sick Pay under the new Sick Leave Act 2022, and, Paul D. Maier BL reviewed the case of Katarzyna (Kasia) Czernik v RTÉ** in which an employee who sought €300,000 as redress in respect of sexual harassment, was unsuccessful against her employer, RTÉ, who was found to have taken adequate steps to prevent such acts and responded to the employee’s allegations appropriately.

In October, the PSNI found themselves in the headlines again following the eagerly-awaited Agnew decision in relation to holiday pay claims was decided against them.  It’s all money!

Budget and Financial

Speaking of money, the government issued a helpful Guide to the Budget 2023, Minister Coveney announced €257 million in grants to help meet increased cost of business, and the Irish Times provided a talk through of the 2024 budget, stating it will help workers, parents and mortgage holdersUnemployment benefit will be linked to pay for first nine months in a welfare system shake-up, strengthening the social safety net for workers.

And don’t forget: From 1 January 2024, the rates of National Minimum Wage increased.  Siobhán Lafferty, Reddy Charlton LLP, updates us in her article**.

Domestic Violence Leave

Under the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023, from Monday 27th November 2023, anyone experiencing or at risk of domestic violence is entitled to take five days leave in order to access supports.  Find out more from Éibhín Stapleton, RDJ LLP, HERE** and from Caroline Reidy, The HR Suite, HERE. (Caroline also did an excellent wellbeing webinar this month - catch up HERE**)

Other News and a Few for the History Books

In other news, People Management helpfully compiled “10 HR buzzwords of 2023” (Do you know what a “lazy girl job” is?!), the Financial Times listed their “25 Most Influential Women of 2023,” almost 400 employers were found in breach of new tipping laws, an 'astonishing' decision by EU court allows government offices to ban religious symbols, Menopause Awareness Day brought continued talk of this popular issue, three judges have made Irish legal history after sitting as the first all-woman panel on the Court of Appeal and the first transatlantic flight using 100% green fuels took off.

January: A time to reflect, and look forward to see if all of these predictions will come true.  Looking forward to spending this year with you!

This article is correct at 10/01/2024
Disclaimer:

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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