Payroll operators always need to keep an eye on employment-related legislation. Nicki Johns highlights some recent developments.
Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
A draft Bill containing measures to introduce a Statutory Sick Pay Scheme was recently published. Under this proposed legislation, employers will be required to pay their employees sick pay, starting with three days per year in 2022. The rate will be 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110. The purpose of the legislation is to bring Ireland into line with other advanced countries in Europe. Measures included in the legislation will be introduced on a phased basis. It is envisaged that employees will eventually be entitled to ten days sick pay per year. Employers will need to keep an eye on Bill as it progresses through the Houses of the Oireachtas as the potential payroll costs are likely to be significant and will need to be built in to budgets.
The Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 (which amends the Adoptive Leave Act 1995) enables a couple who jointly adopt a child to choose which parent takes adoptive leave. The parent who does not get adoptive leave is entitled to paternity leave.
Gender Pay Gap
The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 was signed into law by the President in July. When commenced, this Act will require certain employers to publish information relating to the remuneration of their employees by reference to gender. Where there are differences in remuneration, employers will have to publish statements setting out the reasons for the differences and the measures (if any) they have taken, or propose to take to eliminate or reduce the differences.
Determining Employment Status
The Code of Practice for Determining the Employment or Self-Employment Status of Individuals was updated in 2021. This Code highlights criteria which can be used to clarify an individual’s employment status.
Right to Disconnect
A Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Right to Disconnect published by the Workplace Relations Commission gives employees the right to switch off from work outside of normal working hours, including the right to not respond immediately to emails, telephone calls or other messages.
Right to Request Remote Work
Plans for a new law giving employees a right to request remote work will see draft legislation published in the near future, according to a recent speech by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in Seanad Éireann. The draft legislation has taken longer than expected partly due to issues raised in a public consultation last year. In the meantime, a Remote Working Checklist for Employers and Guidance for Working Remotely are available online.
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