Posts Tagged ‘HR’

Weekly Brexit Update

Monday, September 18th, 2017

brexit-update-v3

There has been much discussion on what the status will be, post Brexit, of Irish nationals living and working in the UK, and UK nationals living and working in Ireland. For organisations with employees who commute over the border on a regular basis, the desire to maintain free movement arrangements and an open border are paramount. More on CIPD.

The Brexit journey will impact all businesses, whether trading with the UK or not, the broad implications of our closest neighbour no longer being part of the EU requires a HR Brexit strategy for all businesses and especially if companies are working with an international team or client base.

We want to support you in getting your business HR Brexit Ready and managing the dynamics that will begin to present themselves as the transition continues.

Email HRBrexit@voltedge.ie to see how we can help your business understand Brexit and be ready for its impacts.

You HR Questions Answered

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Every month, we answer HR questions and give the best advice to our readers and followers.

Q: What advice can you give me if everyone on my team wants to book days off over Christmas but I really need a core team to work as we have some customer support requirements – I ended up doing it last year because the same thing happened – everyone had already booked time off by the time I realised it, it was too late?

A: The taking of holidays and annual leave is at the discretion of the company, so ensure you consider every request for time off fairly and only approve the time off you can accommodate. It would be a good idea to brief the team now, and explain to them that there will be a need to have a rota of staff working over the holiday season and that they need to consider this before sending in requests for time off. Allow them to organise the rota amongst themselves where possible, but if this is proving too challenging for them, then you should make the decision for them, giving due consideration to personal circumstances of the people on your team. The best thing to do is communicate soon and often so that everyone is clear as to the process that needs to be in place and why.

Q: We want to give staff a little bonus for Christmas, what’s the best way to do this so that so that they are not paying huge amounts of money in additional taxes.

A: The Revenue have very good guidelines on discretionary bonuses – check www.revenue.ie for more information on this. Generally their advice is that a cash bonus at Christmas should be put through the payroll and PAYE/PRSI and USC applied as normal. Where the bonus is in non-cash form with a value not exceeding €500 (€250 prior to 21 October 2015) PAYE/PRSI and USC need not be applied to that benefit (covered by the one off small benefit exclusion).

If you need advice on HR issues, drop us an email at info@voltedge.ie or contact the office for any additional information 01-5252914.

Employment Law Update 2016

Monday, December 5th, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we look back at the last 12 months and share with you our review of some of the key employment law changes of the year.

National Minimum Wage Increase

With effect from 1 January 2016, the National Minimum Wage was increased from €8.65 per hour to €9.15 per hour. This increase was made following a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission (LPC) in 2015. The LPC was established as an independent statutory body in July 2015. Its primary function is to examine and make recommendations annually to the Government on the appropriate level of the NMW.

In January 2017, the minimum wage rate will rise to €9.25 per hour.

Justification of Retirement Age

The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 has introduced significant changes to retirement ages. Prior to the commencement of the Act (1 January 2016), the Employment Equality Acts 1998 – 2015 provided an employer with the ability to fix a compulsory retirement age, as set out in Section 34 of the Acts. This remains the case however, Section 34 of the act has been amended to align it with the Employment Equality Framework Directive 2000/78/EC. Therefore, employers are now required to be able to objectively justify their retirement age. The retirement age should seek to achieve a legitimate aim such as intergenerational fairness, and the means of achieving the aim should be both appropriate and necessary.

Furthermore, the amendment to s.6 of the 1998 Act means that employers must now objectively justify offering a fixed-term contract of employment to a person who has reached the organisation’s retirement age.

Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016

Under the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016, which came into effect on 29 April 2016, specified minor convictions will become spent after 7 years. This means that an adult convicted of an offence covered by the Act does not have to disclose the conviction (to a prospective employer for example) after 7 years, except in certain circumstances. The Act does not apply to any sexual offence, an offence that was tried in the Central Criminal Court, or an offence resulting in a prison sentence of greater than 12 months.

In the recruitment process many employers have required applicants to declare any previous convictions on their application forms. This Act will now restrict employers from asking for such declarations and employees cannot be penalised for non – declaration of spent convictions.

Paternity Leave

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 commenced on 1 September 2016. The Act enables a “relevant parent” to take two weeks’ paternity leave which must commence within the first 26 weeks of the birth/adoption of a child. Subject to eligibility and notification criteria being met, paternity leave will apply to births/placements that take place on or after the 1 September 2016. During paternity leave, employees who have the necessary PRSI contributions and hold a Public Services Card are entitled to paternity benefit from the Department of Social Protection (€230 per week).

Get advice on Employment & Labour Laws in Ireland. Contact us now at 01-5252914 for your Paternity Leave policy or any other advice.

Margaret McCarthy, HR Consultant

Managing the Christmas Period

Monday, December 5th, 2016

The Christmas period can pose tricky issues to even the most seasoned of managers. Here we cover the key areas that employers might be faced with:

Managing the Christmas Party 

Do our policies apply outside of work?

Yes, your company policies extend to cover work related events. The most relevant policies that apply in these circumstances include: Social Media, Dignity at Work, Harassment and Bullying, Disciplinary and Grievance policies.

 How can I prevent issues occurring?

  • Before a Company run or sponsored event, remind staff that they should abide by company policies – even when they are not on Company premises
  • Ask managers to be vigilant at the event to ensure good conduct and behaviour is being observed

Consider how you provide alcohol as an employer at a company event – there are options that can be helpful such as using a drinks voucher system instead of a free bar.

What do we do if we receive a complaint?

Complaints should be dealt with in the normal manner through your grievance, disciplinary or other procedures. Dealing with any issues as quickly as possible should also help minimise potential issues.

Managing Public Holidays

Which employees are entitled to a public holiday?

 An employee’s entitlement is dependent on the nature of their contact;

  • All full time employees are entitled to the public holiday regardless of length of service
  • Part time/casual employees are only entitled where they have worked at least 40 hours in the five weeks ending on the day before the public holiday.

 What payments are employees entitled to for a public holiday?

Employees who qualify for public holiday benefit will be entitled to one of the following:

  • A paid day off on the public holiday
  • An additional day of annual leave
  • An additional day’s pay
  • A paid day off within a month of the public holiday

It is at the employer’s discretion to decide which benefit will apply.

How do I calculate public holiday pay? 

  • Employees who work the public holiday or who are normally rostered to work on the day the public holiday falls, then they are entitled to the equivalent pay as the last working day before the public holiday falls.
  • Employees who are not normally required to work on the day the Public holiday falls are entitled to one fifth of their weekly rate of pay.

Payment for a Public Holiday is regular payment including regular shift allowances, but not variable pay such as overtime.

Are employees entitled to payment for a public holiday if they are leaving employment?

If an employee has worked the week ending prior to the public holiday AND they have worked for the employer for 4 continuous weeks, then they are entitled to payment for that public holiday even though their employment has finished.

If the public holiday falls on a weekend what do we do?

If a Public holiday falls on a weekend it does not automatically move to the following Monday as a lot of people might assume (or Tuesday in the case of Christmas this year). Employers have a number of options:

  • Move the public holiday to the following Monday: The most common approach is to move the public holiday to the next working day and give employees that day off.
  • Recognise the public holiday on the day it falls: If an organisation normally works on a public holiday, the organisation can provide the following to the employee for working that day: A paid day off within a month of the public holiday, OR a day’s pay in lieu, OR an additional day’s pay.

Employers must give employees at least 14 days’ notice of how they will operate and which benefit will apply to them.

Time Off During Adverse Weather

If an employee cannot come to work due to bad weather, do I have to pay them?

If the organisation is open for work and the employee cannot attend, then they are not entitled to payment for that day. You can give employees the option to take a holiday day as an alternative to unpaid leave, although you cannot force them to take a holiday.   Having an ‘Exceptional lave policy’ in place is good practice to cover you in the event of these occurrences.

Employers can also look at alternatives for the employee, if appropriate:

  • Can they work from home?
  • Can they perform their duties on an alternative day?

If our place of work is closed due to bad weather, do I have to pay employee?

Yes, if the employee is available for work then they are entitled to pay for this day, even if the premises are unable to open.

If you are unsure about what arrangements to put in place in your own business, get in touch today with our team of HR experts.

Laura Banfield, HR Consultant