The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) have prepared a guide for employers on what to expect if they receive a WRC site inspection. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that employers comply with employment law legislation such as keeping working time records, written contracts or a statement of terms and conditions for all employment types, employment permits and much more.
An inspection might arise because the WRC received a complaint for alleged non-compliance, it might be part of the WRC’s compliance campaigns which focuses on a specific piece of legislation, such as employment permits, or it could be a routine inspection.
What can I expect at the inspection?
The WRC will normally issue out a letter notifying the business that they will be conducting an inspection. They will hold an initial interview with the employer and their representative and they will request to see the employment records which are outlined in the checklist below.
When they are examining the records they normally focus on the previous year prior to the inspection but they can ask to see records that go back three years. They also have the right to take copies of the employment records.
Once they have examined the records, they will interview a sample of employees. The WRC have provided a sample questionnaire of the types of questions they may ask the employee and it can be accessed here. The WRC do have the right to interview employees without the employer’s permission but they tend to ask the employer in the first instance as a matter of courtesy. The employer can request to have the employee interview conducted off site.
They will then hold a further interview with the employer to let them know their findings from the inspection.
What if our business has not fully complied?
If there is a minor or inadvertent breach of employment law, the inspector will ask the employer to rectify the issue and will follow up to make sure they have complied with this request. Please note: SFA cannot advise on what constitutes a minor breach.
If there is an issue around the underpayment of wages, for example if someone is working on a Sunday but did not receive the Sunday premium, the amount outstanding will be recovered and paid to the employee or to former employees. The employer will need to demonstrate this by completing an Unpaid Wages Payment form that confirms that the employee has received the underpayment in their wages. The case will then be closed.
In the case of serious breaches or non-cooperation, the WRC will issue a compliance notice and fixed payment notices and they could also prosecute the employer if they refuse to comply with the WRC.
Checklist for an inspection
The WRC have provided a checklist that can be used to ensure you are complying with your employment law obligations. It asks the following:
- Do I have my employer’s registration number with the Revenue Commissioners?
- Do I have a list of all my employees including full names, addresses and PPS numbers?
- Do I have the employment start dates of all my employees, and if relevant, do I have the termination dates of employment?
- Do I have written terms of employment / contracts of employment for each of my employees?
- Do I have employee’s job classification / job types?
- Do I have a record of annual leave and public holidays taken by each employee?
- Do I have a record of the hours of work for each employee including their start and finish times?
- Do I have payroll details which includes gross to net, rate per hour*, overtime, deductions, commission, bonuses and service charges etc?
- Do I have evidence that I provide employees with payslips?
- Do I have a register of any employees under 18 years of age?
- Do I have details of any board and lodgings provided?
- Do I have employment permits or evidence that a permit is not required as appropriate for non-EEA nationals?
- Do I have the completed template sent with the appointment letter or the same information available in a similar format?
*It should be noted that if employees work on a Sunday it should be made clear that a Sunday premium is paid, either as an additional premium on top of the hourly rate, included in the overall salary package or given off as time in lieu.
Read the guideline in full.
If you would like more information on this issue, please contact SFA Executive, Helen Quinn on 01 605 1668 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our HR and Employment Law advice section.