Employment & Immigration, Ireland updates

Ireland moves one step closer to introducing statutory sick pay
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 16 June 2021

The government confirmed that it has approved the drafting of the General Scheme of the Sick Leave Bill 2021, which will make it mandatory for employers in Ireland to provide statutory sick pay (SSP) to employees. Employers should consider reviewing their policies and contracts to ensure that they reference and comply with the minimum statutory entitlements under the SSP scheme when it comes into force.

Topical issues in Irish employment law
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 12 May 2021

This article focuses on three areas of employment law in Ireland that have seen recent significant developments: employment status and the gig economy (in particular, whether the UK Uber decision will have an impact in Ireland), collective bargaining arrangements and gender pay gap reporting.

Changes to family leave entitlements introduced
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 21 April 2021

The changes to parent's and adoptive leave announced in the Budget 2021 recently entered into force. The Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act provides for an additional three weeks' paid parent's leave and benefit for each parent, to be taken in the first two years after the birth or adoptive placement of a child. Moreover, all adopting couples will be able to choose which parent takes adoption leave, including male same-sex couples who were previously unentitled.

New code of practice on right to disconnect
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 14 April 2021

The government has published its promised code of practice on the right to disconnect from work outside normal working hours. Implementing a right-to-disconnect policy will set a good grounding for an organisational culture in which the line between work and leisure is both visibly respected and taken seriously. This article explains what is in the new code and what it means for employers in Ireland.

Ireland's Immigrant Investor Programme – the allure of inward investment in return for residency
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 17 February 2021

The Immigrant Investor Programme offers non-EEA nationals a route to residency in Ireland by offering four investment options to investors who satisfy certain criteria – namely, that they are of good character and have a minimum net worth of €2 million. This article discusses how the programme works, its benefits and how high-net-worth individuals can use it as a means of obtaining residency rights in Ireland.

New code of practice on preventing workplace bullying
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 10 February 2021

The new Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work recently entered into force. The code provides an updated definition of what bullying is and, importantly, what does not constitute bullying. The code sets out the steps that employers should take to prevent bullying and the measures that they should take to investigate any complaint. This article reviews the main points that employers should consider.

Employee unfairly dismissed for being refused remote working during COVID-19 pandemic
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 03 February 2021

The Workplace Relations Commission recently found that an employee had been unfairly dismissed when her employer rejected her request for remote working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome may encourage more employees to bring constructive dismissal claims where they feel that their employer has not adequately addressed their health and safety concerns, especially as workplaces are now seen as high-risk environments for COVID-19 transmission.

Making Remote Work – the government's National Remote Work Strategy
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 27 January 2021

The government has launched the 'Making Remote Work' National Remote Work Strategy, which aims to ensure that remote working "is a permanent feature in the Irish workplace that maximises economic, social and environmental benefits". Under the strategy, the government promises to, among other things, mandate that remote work be the norm for 20% of public sector employees and develop a code of practice for the right to disconnect.

Who is considered an 'essential worker' under the latest Level 5 public health restrictions?
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 20 January 2021

Under the latest Level 5 restrictions, employees in Ireland must work from home unless they are classified as essential workers and their work cannot be done at home. The government has updated the list of essential workers to provide that it does not include workers who perform administrative or other support activities for businesses, unless these constitute essential administrative and support activities and the physical presence of the administrative or support worker in the workplace is required.

How Brexit affects UK immigration to Ireland
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 06 January 2021

As of 1 January 2021, British nationals visiting or working in the European Economic Area will be restricted. With Schengen rules being introduced for visitors and work visas being required elsewhere in the European Economic Area, this article considers what the end of free movement looks like for British nationals looking to visit or work in Ireland and some further updates to Ireland's immigration and work permit schemes.

Vaccination for COVID-19 – can employers require their employees to be vaccinated?
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 23 December 2020

With a vaccination against COVID-19 in sight, many employers in Ireland will understandably be eager to have their employees vaccinated in hope of their workplace returning to some form of normality. This article explores some of the legal issues of which employers must be aware.

Gender pay gap reporting in Ireland – are we there yet?
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 09 December 2020

The gender pay gap (GPG) is the percentage difference between the average hourly earnings of men and women. This article reviews the current position on the GPG in Ireland, what is happening with the proposed legislation to introduce mandatory reporting and what employers should be doing now.

Is it time for a specific right to disconnect in Ireland?
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 02 December 2020

The mass move to homeworking triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home and reignited the debate on the right to disconnect. Notwithstanding the protection afforded to employees under existing working time rules and health and safety legislation in Ireland, the current legal framework is inadequate to ensure a genuine right to disconnect. It remains to be seen how the government will choose to tackle the issue.

Budget 2021: key takeaways for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 04 November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of a no-deal Brexit are the overriding themes underpinning the government's budget for 2021. According to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, the government has set aside €5.5 billion in contingency funds due to the "unbelievable uncertainty" facing the country. This article highlights the key points from the budget that employers should note.

Proposed new rights to sick pay and parental leave pay
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 14 October 2020

The Labour Party has proposed the Sick Leave and Parental Leave (COVID-19) Bill 2020 which, if passed, would give employees in Ireland the legal right to paid sick leave for the first time. It also proposes paid leave for employees whose children must stay at home from school due to COVID-19 measures.

Increase in parental leave entitlements
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 09 September 2020

On 1 September 2020 unpaid parental leave entitlement in Ireland was increased from 22 weeks to 26 weeks. This means that eligible parents will be able to take 26 weeks' parental leave for each child who falls within the prescribed thresholds. Employers should check their policies and procedures to take into account the increase from 1 September 2020 onwards.

Impact of July Stimulus Plan and Programme for Government on employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 12 August 2020

This article discusses the key measures under the new government's July Stimulus Plan of which employers should be aware, plus various commitments under its Programme for Government which could have a significant impact in workplaces. The proposals – which cover wage subsidies, job creation and recovery and work-life balance and equality, among other things – clearly reflect the new economic reality in the wake of COVID-19.

COVID-19: health and safety considerations when establishing return-to-work plans
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 13 May 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis begins to ease, employers must think carefully about how to safely manage the process of returning employees to the workplace. Companies must ensure the health and safety of their employees and visitors to their premises and comply with any continuing government guidelines, including in relation to physical distancing. This article summarises the legal landscape and various considerations that employers will need to take into account in Ireland.

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme introduced
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 01 April 2020

The government has introduced the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme to incentivise employers to retain employees on the payroll where possible (replacing the emergency COVID-19 Employer Refund Scheme). This article outlines the implications for employers.

Coronavirus: what employers need to know
Lewis Silkin
  • Ireland
  • 18 March 2020

Numerous employment law concerns have arisen due to the current coronavirus outbreak. From staff who are advised to self-isolate to those who are concerned about the risk of coronavirus and reluctant to come into work, employers have a lot to consider. This article sets out guidance for employers on the implications that coronavirus could have for their business.

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