A new law in Ireland aims to improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and who work variable hours. The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, which takes effect in March 2019, was hailed as “one of the most significant pieces of employment legislation in a generation” by the minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.
- Require employers to give employees their basic terms of employment within five days of the start of their employment
- Prohibit zero-hour contracts except in situations of genuine casual employment or when they are essential to providing cover emergency situations or short-term absence
- Require a new minimum payment for employees who aren’t provided with work for at least 25% of the time for which they must be available for work
- Establish a new right for employees whose contract of employment doesn’t reflect the hours they habitually work. They will be entitled to be placed in a band of hours that corresponds to the average hours worked over the preceding 12-month reference period. Employees will be allowed to work for at least 12 months the average hours provided by the applicable band.
- Establish strong anti-penalization provisions for employees who invoke their rights under this law
Employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with these new requirements.