Workplace Relations Commission – update on the first 6 months

Establishment of Workplace Relations Commission
The Workplace Relations Commission was established on 1 October 2015 and it represents perhaps the most far-reaching institutional legislative reform in the area of employment and industrial relations since the setting up of the Labour Court in 1946 and that of the Labour Relations Commission in 1991.

Over the past 70 years, the workplace relations system had evolved in a piecemeal fashion in response to EU and domestic legislation and the changing nature of employment.

Here’s a summary of some of the work they have been performing during their first 6 months.

“Legacy” Cases
Awaiting Hearing:                             1 October 2015               31 December 2015               31 March 2016
Rights Commissioners                                   2397                                          1996                                            1076

Equality Tribunal                                            1298                                           1177                                              883

Waiting Times:
Rights Commissioners           8-12 weeks
Equality Tribunal                       53 weeks


Inspection and Enforcement Services
Inspection The Inspection and Enforcement Services monitor employment conditions to ensure compliance with and, where necessary, the enforcement of employment rights legislation. This includes redress for the employees concerned and payment of any unpaid wages arising from breaches of employment rights.
The Inspection Services have the power to carry out employment rights compliance inspections in relation to the following legislation:
 Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
 Payment of Wages Act 1991
 Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act 1996
 National Minimum Wage Act 2000
 Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006
 Redundancy Payments Acts 1967–2012
 Employment Agency Act 1971

  Protection of Employment Act 1977–2007
 Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Acts 1984–2003
 Carer’s Leave Act 2001
 Employees (Provision of Information and Consultation) Act 2006
 Employment Permits Acts 2003–2014

Inspectors visit places of employment and carry out investigations on behalf of the Commission in order to ensure compliance with equality and employment-related legislation. In certain circumstances, the Labour Court may request that an inspector carry out investigations on its behalf.

Such investigations involve, but are not confined to, examining books, records and documents related to the employment, and conducting interviews with current and former employees and employers. Where breaches of legislation have been found, an Inspector may, depending on the section of legislation involved, issue either a Compliance Notice or a Fixed Payment Notice to an employer.

The Workplace Relations Act 2015 has extended the scope of the legislation in respect of which inspectors are authorised officers. For example, the provisions in Organisation of Working Time Act
1997 in relation to annual leave and public holidays, which are dealt with by Adjudication Officers, can also be dealt with by inspectors. Inspectors may enter premises at reasonable times, interview employers and employees, take statements, examine and take copies of records and initiate legal proceedings. If necessary, inspectors may be accompanied by other inspectors or the Gardaí. They may apply to the District Court for search warrants.

Here’s a summary of the Inspection Services so far:
Cases Concluded                               2465

Employers in Breach                        1086

Complaints Received                          513

Unpaid Wages Recovered      €665,208

For further information go to: WRC Progress Report