1,981 employers held to be in breach of employment legislation

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has issued its second annual report which outlines a number of interesting insights into their activities to date.

The report includes a breakdown of the most common complaints referred to the adjudication service over the last year: 

  • 28% - Pay related issues (€1.5 million in unpaid wages have been recouped by the WRC)
  • 15% - Related to Unfair Dismissal
  • 12% - Working Time
  • 11% - Discrimination/Equality
  • 9% - Trade Disputes/IR
  • 9% - Terms and Conditions of Employment

On a positive note, the number of employers found to be in breach of employment legislation has reduced in the last year from 41% to 37% respectively. However, many of the cases which are successful are commonly as a result of the employer failing to have the correct HR policies and processes in place to deal with workplace issues as they arise. This can be easily avoided if employers implement and regularly review their policies and procedures.

The report also shows that employers need to be prepared for a more active inspection and enforcement service. The inspectorate (formerly NERA) monitors 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. Inspectors visit places of employment and carry out inspections of employment records. This involves, but is not confined to, examining books, records and documents relating to employment, and conducting interviews with employers and with current and former employees.

The Division have carried out a total of 4,830 inspections, of which 2,877 (60%) were unannounced. Of the 4,830 employers inspected, 1,981 (37% a reduction of 6% on the 2015 figure) were found to be in breach of employment legislation to some degree. The sectors showing a higher degree of non-compliance were electrical (60%), hair and beauty (53%), construction (49%), agriculture (47%) and wholesale and retail (45%). It is certainly of note that the WRC has stated in their report that they will be targeting those sectors with a higher risk of non-compliance. As such, employers in those sectors should ensure they are fully prepared for an inspection.

For more information on WRC inspections and record keeping you should consult the guidelines on our website. If you have any further questions on this area please contact Ciara McGuone on 016051668 or ciara.mcguone@sfa.ie

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