Since 7th March 2024 employees have the right to request remote and flexible working arrangements, as provided for in the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 and the Parental Leave Acts 1998 - 2023 and as supported by the long awaited Statutory Code of Pratice from the WRC.

The controversy this week in the Public Accounts Committee over the payment of annual leave to Jonathan Hill, FAI CEO was interesting from a HR perspective! It was far from good practice and also potentially illegal if the payment was for leave that related to his statutory leave entitlement.

A further provision of the Work Life Balance & Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 has now been commenced with paid domestic leave available from 27th November 2023, as outlined in Section 13 AA of the Parental Leave Act 1998 as amended.

With Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) now set to increase to 5 days from 1st January 2024, it is interesting that only one case has come before the WRC under the Sick Leave Act 2022, which introduced SSP at the start of 2023.

A quick summary on the information that employers must issue new employees about their terms and conditions of employment on starting employment and when it must issue. These are the minimum legal requirements but it is recommended that a full contract of employment is issued before employment commences so that everyone is clear on requirements from the outset.

The High Court has confirmed that no fault employment dismissals can be implemented without due process, provided the contract of employment provides for it and there are no underlying misconduct issues at hand.

Ireland is one of the first countries to introduce statutory domestic violence leave, which is due to be enacted in the Autumn. The leave is to facilitate and support employees who are victims of such abuse to engage with medical, legal, and other specialist support services.

With the recent passing of the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, employers now need to start reviewing their policies with a number of new leave entitlements due to be introduced on a phased basis over the next few months, including the long awaited right to request remote wokring.

As we head into the fourth public holiday of the ten statutory public holidays available to employees each year, here is a quick summary in respect of public holiday entitlements in the workplace.

A recent case of A Caretaker versus a Supermarket (ADJ-00033611) dealt with some interesting legal points vis a vis whether reasonable cause was presented for failing to submit the unfair dismissal claim within 6 months, as well as the related issue of proportionality in determining whether the matters under review ultimately did amount to gross misconduct that reasonably justified a summary dismissal and the non-payment of notice.

There are some important legal changes in place since the end of 2022, which employers need to be aware of when drafting and managing probationary period clauses or risk the WRC award 4 weeks pay if a successful complaint is brought, as well as the correction of any misapplied terms of employment in this regard.

With the Christmas party season well underway, employers would be advised to take note of the potential cost of claims, when things can go wrong, particularly after too much drink has been taken.