A new Code of Practice on the Right to Disconnect (the "Code") has been published to provide practical guidance for employers and employees to agree working arrangements, appropriate to their business, that maintain clear boundaries between work and leisure.
The three key changes are:
a) The right of an employee to avoid routinely performing work outside normal working hours;
b) The right to protection from penalisation for refusing to work outside of normal working hours; and
c) The duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect (e.g., by not routinely emailing or calling outside normal working hours).
As the country prepares to reopen in the coming months, a hot topic is the legality of requiring your staff to have the Covid-19 vaccination in order to return to the workplace. At present, there is no legislation that requires persons to vaccinate specifically for the purpose of returning to the workplace. There are a few exceptions where an employer can require staff members to vaccinate but these are limited to healthcare and possibly childcare environments.
There Is however, a framework you may follow to ensure your staff are safely following the best advice as per public health guidelines. The first step in this is to open the conversation with your staff members about their intention to vaccinate. This allows the employer to assess what percentage of employees intend on getting vaccinated. For employees who are unsure or do not wish to vaccinate, consider implementing procedures that best support the vaccination process.
It was announced in Budget 2021 that Parents Leave will be increased from 2 weeks to 5 weeks per parent in respect of children born on or after 1st of November 2019. The period during which this leave can be taken has been extended from 12 months to 24 months so it can be taken up to a child’s second birthday or within two years following adoption. This measure will be available from April 2021.
As the law currently stands, no gender pay gap reporting obligations exist for Irish employers. However, the principle of equal pay for equal work has been enshrined in law for a long time. Despite these longstanding legal prohibitions on discrimination in relation to pay, evidence suggests that significant differences remain in the rates of pay of men and women doing the same work. For this reason, the Cabinet has agreed the text of the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill, as part of a range of measures aimed at reducing the gender pay gap and promoting wage transparency. The Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019 would require the Minister, as soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of the legislation, to make regulations requiring employers to publish information relating to the pay of their employees for the purpose of showing whether there are differences in such pay referable to gender and, if so, the size of such differences.