The new year is fast approaching and with it some new updates in Irish employment legislation that employers should be aware of. In this brief review, we cover the employment law updates we have seen in 2023.
- Work Life Balance Act 2023
- Leave for Medical Care Purposes
- The Right to Request Remote Working
- The Right to Request Flexible Working for Parents’ and Carers
- EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working
- Sick Leave Act 2022
Work Life Balance Act 2023
The Work Life Balance Act 2023 that was signed into law in August 2023 introduces four new entitlements for employees. Some elements of this Act are yet to receive commencement orders while others are already in effect:
Domestic Violence Leave
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability and Integration, Roderic O’Gorman has signed a commencement order for Domestic Violence Leave. From Monday, 27 November 2023, it will be a legal requirement for employers to allow employees affected by domestic violence up 5 days paid leave in a rolling 12 month period for the purposes of seeking assistance from An Garda Siochana, medical assistance, relocation or seeking support from other relevant organisations. The employee is to be paid as normal during those days.
Employees must as soon as reasonably practicable after having taken the leave, notify their employer of the fact that they have taken domestic violence leave and the dates on which it was taken.
The Act does not require employees to provide evidence to support their need to take domestic violence leave.
As soon as reasonably practicable after having taken the leave, employers are advised to ensure an effective Domestic Violence policy is in place to offer clarity and support to both managers and employees in responding to the needs of an employee affected by domestic violence.
Leave for Medical Care Purposes
Under the WLB Act 2023, from the 3rd of July 2023 employees will have an entitlement to up to 5 days unpaid leave in a 12-month rolling period for the purpose of providing care to a relevant person such as a spouse or dependants. Employees intending to take leave for medical care purposes must notify their employer in writing including the date the leave is intended to commence, their expected return date and the purpose for taking the leave as soon as reasonably practical. Employers may request relevant proof such as a doctor’s note.
The Right to Request Remote Working
All employees will have a right to request remote work after 6 months of continuous service. They must give the employer 8 weeks’ notice in writing of their request. The employer will be required to consider such requests in accordance with its needs, the needs of employees and a new Code of Practice to be developed by the Workplace Relations Commission.
The employer must reply in writing within 4 weeks of receiving the request, either to approve the request with an agreement between themselves and the employee, or to refuse the request, in which case the reasons must be set out in writing. Alternatively, they can extend the time period to a maximum of 12 weeks if they are having difficulty assessing the viability of the request.
The Right to Request Flexible Working for Parents’ and Carers
Similarly, relevant employees who are parents or have caring duties will have a right to request flexible working arrangements after 6 months continuous service. Requests must be dealt with in a procedure similar to requests for remote working and will need to be considered in accordance to a new code of practice from the Workplace Relations Commission. Employers may request relevant evidence such as a birth certificate or medical certificate.
EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working
The EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working was transposed into Irish law in December 2022. The Directive provides for a number of protections for employees.
1. Information Deadlines: Employers are now required to provide employees with ten core terms within the first five days – “The Day 5 Statement”. Employers are also obligated to provide a full contract of employment within 1 month of an employee’s start date.
2. Probationary Periods: The probationary period has been limited to a maximum of six months. An employer may also only extend a probation in exceptional circumstances such as a prolonged period of absence. This extension in any case must be proportional to the absence and in any case the probationary period cannot exceed 12 months total.
3. Parallel Employment: Employers may no longer prohibit an employee from taking up employment with another employer unless there are objective grounds. For example, health and safety concerns, clashing hours of work, protecting business confidentiality.
Sick Leave Act 2022
This act was enacted in January of this year. It entitles employees to a maximum of 3 days of employer-paid sick leave in any one calendar year, provided the employee has done 13 weeks of continuous service and they provide a medical certificate. The legislation allows for sick pay schemes that are more beneficial for employees. This entitlement is set to increase to 5 days in 2024.
If you have any questions on any aspect of the areas mentioned in this article, please contact us on 01 525 2914 or email@example.com.
Eoghan Harley, Voltedge Management HR Executive