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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage
Bills\Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017\Second Stage

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Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017

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Snippet Contents:

This will provide greater certainty and a truer reflection of their hours of work and level of earnings, thereby addressing, in particular, difficulties employees may have accessing financial credit, including mortgages.
The reference period of 18 months is considered sufficiently long to allow for the normal peaks and troughs of businesses, including those subject to seasonal changes. The proposals also provide a mechanism for a review of the arrangement after a period of 18 months, that is, after the employee has sought and been placed in a band of hours in exercise of his or her right under this proposal. An employee will be able to seek redress through the Workplace Relations Commission but redress will be limited to being placed in an appropriate band of hours. The proposal includes reasonable defences for employers to refuse an employee’s request where the facts do not support the employee’s claim; significant adverse changes have impacted on the business; in emergency circumstances such as the business having to close due to flooding; and where the hours worked by the employee were due to a genuinely temporary situation such as cover for another employee on maternity leave. The provision will not apply to an employer who has entered into a banded hour arrangement through an agreement by collective bargaining with their employees.
The Bill will strengthen anti-penalisation provisions for employees who try to invoke a right under these proposals. The Bill provides strong anti-penalisation provisions for employees who invoke their rights under this legislation. This is a key element of the Bill particularly for workers in less secure employment who may be afraid to exercise their rights. It is intended to provide against an employer penalising or threatening to penalise an employee for exercising any right under the proposed legislation. It is important that all employees feel safe to exercise their employment rights without fear of being penalised for doing so. The penalisation provisions in this Bill are broadly drafted to provide strong protections for employees. The penalisation provisions are core to the Bill and the new banded hours provisions in particular. Under the Bill’s banded hours provisions, if an employer reduces an employee’s working hours or threatens to do so for the sole reason that the employee sought to exercise his or her rights, the employee can pursue a penalisation case through the Workplace Relations Commission.
Section 10 of the Bill inserts a new section 6C in the Terms of Employment (Information) Act 1994 which prohibits the penalisation of an employee for exercising their rights under the Act. Penalisation is broadly defined in the section and includes threats of penalisation. It is important that employees believe they can exercise their rights under the Act without any repercussions. This is all the more important in the case of vulnerable workers. Section 16 of the Bill amends section 26(1) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 to strengthen the existing protections against penalisation for employees who wish to exercise their rights under the Act.
I support the Bill and look forward to its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.