In this brief review, we cover the employment law changes to be mindful of in 2024.
Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Act 2022
From the 17th of December 2023, there is a chance for private sector employers with over 50 employees to have a whistleblowing policy and procedure in place. Prior to this, this requirement only applied to employers with 250 employees.
The act was also expanded in January 2023 to widen the scope of people who can make a protected disclosure to include:
- Persons applying for jobs – if someone is in the recruitment process, in pre-contractual negotiations
- Persons undergoing training
- Members of boards
The scope of penalisation has also been expanded to include:
- Negative performance assessments
- Failure to renew a temporary contract
- Harm to reputation via social media
- Psychiatric or medical referrals
Under the Sick Leave Act 2022, employees are entitled to a minimum of 70% daily salary up to a maximum of €110 for up to 3 days certified sick leave. This entitlement will increase to 5 days on 1st of January 2024 with a further increase in 2025 to 7 days and capping out in 2026 at 10 days.
The Sick Leave Act allows for more beneficial sick leave policies; however, employers should reevaluate their policies ahead of this increase in 2024 to ensure they are in compliance with legal requirements.
Under the Parents’ Leave and Benefit Act 2019, employee’s entitlement to take parents’ leave has increased from 7 to 9 weeks from August 2024. Parents’ Benefit will also increase to 9 weeks for employees who meet the PRSI contribution requirements.
On the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission as part of Budget 2023, the Government has increased the national minimum wage by 12% from €11.30 to €12.70 per hour, effective on the 1 January 2024.
The Department of Social Protection plans to search for firms to manage the new pension auto-enrolment scheme over the coming weeks with a view to launch in November 2024. A bill enabling the auto-enrolment scheme is expected to be published before the end of the year.
Under the proposed scheme, employees and employers will each initially pay 1.5% of the employee’s gross salary into the fund, rising to 3% in year four and 6 percent in year 10. On top of this, for every €3 contributed by the employee, the State will contribute €1. The proposed scheme will apply to those aged between 23 and 60 earning over €20,000 annually and will operate on an opt out basis.
For further information on the auto-enrolment, check out our recent webinar with our Pensions expert for the latest updates.
State Pension Reform
New Legislation is expected in 2024 to allow individuals to draw down their pensions at any age between 66 and 70 using flexible options.
If individuals do decide to draw down their pension beyond the statutory minimum age of 66, they may be entitled to an actuarially increased rate of payment.
This is likely to increase requests for longer working. In this case, the Code of Practice on Longer Working (S.I. 600/2017) will remain best practice.
EU Directive on Pay Transparency
The EU Directive on pay transparency is part of a wider EU strategy to enforce the equal payment for equal work between men and women.
The directive includes measures such as pay transparency both pre and post-employment.
Employers will be obliged to provide a pay range on all job advertisements and will be prohibited from enquiring about current or previous salaries. Employers will also be prohibited from using pay secrecy clauses in the contract of employment.
EU member states will have until the 7 June 2026 to transpose the Directive.
At Voltedge Management, we understand the importance of updating your policies in accordance with evolving legislation. Contact us at email@example.com or 01 525 2914 to learn more about how we can assist in updating your policies.
Eoghan Harley, Voltedge Management HR Executive