The major concern for many employers as we enter 2014, is how to retain their employees, how to attract new employees, and the legal issues involved. One of the main trends we may see returning to the courts is the use of injunctions to prevent, or at least control, the departure of high-value, critical employees. This was quite common before the recession, but with the increased activity in the job market, high court injunctions may become more common-place.
2) Redundancy rebate:
This rebate was completely abolished from January 1st, 2013. Employers were entitled to 60% of the statutory redundancy cost in a rebate and this was a major financial support to companies during the recession, when redundancies reached record levels. Where companies cannot afford, or wont, pay out the statutory redundancy, the cases are referred to the Social Insurance Fund for payment. However payment through this Fund is becoming increasingly diffucult due to the increase in demand. This is putting the spotlight back on employers to justify that redundancies are genuine.
3) Agency Workers:
The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 was introduced with considerable controversy, and given that it allows for retrospective awards, we are beginning to see sizable awards being made. Once recent example in the Labour Court saw a retrospective payment dating back to December 2011, made against an organisation where the employee stated that he received less basic pay as a temporary employee than he would have if he had been employed directly. This amounted to a backpayment of €200 per week for nearly 2 years being awarded to the employee. (AWD134).
A recent Labour Court case (Hospira v Roper) overturned a ruling of the Equality Tribunal in favour of retiring employees. The court stated that caps on redundancy payments constituted indirect discrimination on age grounds. This has significant implications on employers both in the calculation of severance payments and also in the context of compulsory retirement.