2023 is yet another busy year for employers in terms of trying to keep up to date of Employment Legislation developments. These changes impact employers and how they manage their relationship with their employees.
On 16 December 2022, the Government announced the approval of EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions and the regulations introduce a number of new pro-employee rights under the following statutes:
- Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994
- Organisation of Working Time Act 1997
- Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003, and
- Workplace Relations Act 2015
The purpose of the Directive was to provide transparency in working arrangements and protection to those employees on less secure contracts, e.g. temporary contract workers. However, the Regulations apply to all employees.
Key Changes to Existing Legislation – Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994
The “Day 5” statement has been amended to now include additional
· The duration and conditions relating to a probationary period, if applicable.
· The place of work or, where there is no fixed or main place of work, a statement specifying that the employee is employed at various places or is free to determine his or her place of work or to work at various places;
· The title, grade, nature or category of work for which the employee is employed or a brief description of the work;
· The date of commencement of contract of employment;
· Any terms and conditions relating to hours of work (including overtime);
· The training, if any, to be provided by the employer.
Separately, all other terms of employment that are required to be given to the employee under the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 are now required within one month, previously two.
It is also important to note that any change to the information provided must be notified to the employee by or before the day the change takes effect. This was previously one month after the change has occurred.
Up to now, probationary periods have been a matter for employment contracts and not subject to statute.
With effect from 1 August 2022, in situations where an employee is subject to a Probationary Period at the commencement of employment, that period shall not exceed six months. Employers may extend probationary periods on an exceptional basis but for no longer than 6 months subject to a 12-month maximum and it is in the interest of the employee to extend the probationary period.
Probationary Periods in Fixed Term Contracts
For fixed term employees, the length of a probationary period must be proportionate to the expected duration of the fixed-term contract and the nature of the work.
Where an employer proposes to renew a fixed-term contract for the same functions and tasks, the fixed-term contract shall not be subject to a new probationary period.
What should employers do now to comply with Regulations?
It is essential for employers to understand their obligations and act in accordance with legislation. It is therefore important that employers review their employment documentation to ensure it aligns with the changes brought about by the Regulations.
In particular the following should be reviewed:
- Review your company policy and procedures around probationary periods
- Ensure employees are not bearing the costs of any mandatory training
- Review how much notice employees receive of their working hours and whether they are always working within their stated ‘reference’ hours
- Review your exclusive service clauses to ensure they are consistent with the new parallel employment rules
- If you have employees working in other EU member states, ensure they receive the level of information required under the Regulations
- Prepare in the event to receive requests from existing employees for an updated written statement of terms of employment that includes all the new terms required under the Regulations.
As always, should you require any further information on this or any other subject in relation to your business please do not hesitate to contact us directly on <ph. 01 849 88 00 or firstname.lastname@example.org>.
by Jacky Kavanagh
DBASS HR Specialist
DBASS Chartered Accountants
This article is for discussion purposes only. For further information on any of the topics covered in this article please contact a DBASS adviser on ph. 01 849 88 00.