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Employment Law update

Needless to say – with the Irish elections and our new Dáil commencing in in March 2011, there is further delay to any employment legislation in process.

Employment Law Compliance Bill 2008
This legislation is being brought in to:
– secure improved compliance with employment legislation generally
– to establish the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) on a statutory basis
– to provide for the appointment of authorised officers and the Director of NERA
– to increase the penalties for certain offences under employment legislation e.g. record keeping requirements.

This Bill has been referred to the Select Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Innovation but no date has been announced for the progression of the Bill to Committee stage in the Dáil.

Employment Agency Regulation Bill 2009
This Bill proposes to modernise the regulations and oversight of employment agencies and recruitment agencies and will replace the Employment Agency Act 1971.
The provisions include:
– facilities to recognise and regulate foreign-based employment agencies operating in Ireland
– protection against penalisation for agency employees who make genuine complaints about malpractice by employment agencies
– sanctioning of persons who make false accusations of malpractice
– tightening of prohibition against employment agencies charging fees to workers for placements

Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2009
This Bill includes proposals to strengthen the existing system for the making of both Employment Regulations Orders (EROs) and Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) and to provide for their continued effective operation. This will include a series of “principles and policies” for a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) when formulating its proposals to submit to the Labour Court.

This Bill is currently at Second Stage in the Dáil with no date for it to progress to Dáil Committee Stage.

From 1st March 2011, 4 Rights Commissioners will be dedicated to a special effort to process multiple claims involving almost 6,000 individuals, mostly under the Payment of Wages Act. Test cases may be pushed through with the aim of assisting in the quicker and more efficient processing of the significant backlog of cases (standing at 3,600 claims under the Payment of Wages Act alone in summer 2010).