The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2018 has updated the Organisation of Working Time Act to provide employees with a statutory entitlement to a “banded hours” contract in certain circumstances. It is contractual entitlement for employees to work within a set range of hours for the next 12 months, calculated by averaging out the hours worked during the previous 12 months.
There are certain sectors in which experience shows that employees’ contracts do not reflect the hours actually worked. By way of example, the hospitality sector would historically be seasonal in nature with employees potentially working full time during busy summer months, with limited hours during the winter months. Over the years, and prior to Covid, the “season” extended, and regularly employees would work full time on a year-round basis, but hold a contract requiring working hours at a much lower level.
The concept of a banded hours contract was introduced to provide stability and fairness to employees who wanted guaranteed weekly hours.
There are eight different bands into which an employee’s average hours over the previous 12 months might be placed:
A. 3-6 hours
B. 6-11 hours
C. 11-16 hours
D. 16-21 hours
E. 21-26 hours
F. 26-31 hours
G. 31-36 hours
H. 36 hours and above
An employee must have one year’s service before they can make an application. The service requirement is necessary because the calculation of the band into which the employee will be placed is decided based on the hours actually worked over the previous 12-month period.
An employer has 4 weeks from the date of request to place the employee on a band. The employer determines which band applies. The employee is then guaranteed the minimum hours within their band for a 12-month period.