Littler Global Guide - Ireland - Q2 2021

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Parent's Leave Extended and Changes to Adoptive Leave

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Niall Pelly, Partner - GQ | Littler

On April 1, 2021, the Government commenced the family leave provisions under the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021, which introduced two significant changes. First, it extended Parent's Leave entitlement from two weeks to five weeks. The change will have retrospective effect, meaning the increase is available for any child born or adopted on or after November 1, 2019. Further, the period during which this leave can be taken has been extended from 12 to 24 months.

Second, Adoptive Leave and Adoptive Benefit was extended to male same sex couples and adoptive couples can now choose which of them will avail of adoptive leave, with paternity leave and benefit being available for the other parent.

Government Extends Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme until December 31

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Niall Pelly, Partner - GQ | Littler

On June 1, 2021, the Government announced that the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) will remain in place until December 31, 2021. Under the EWSS scheme, employers and new firms in sectors impacted by COVID-19 whose turnover has fallen 30% get a flat-rate subsidy per week based on the number of qualifying employees on the payroll, including seasonal staff and new employees. For Q3 2021, the Government will maintain the status quo for EWSS, including the enhanced rates of support and the reduced rate of Employers’ PRSI with a modification to widen eligibility.

Government Publishes Code on the Right to Disconnect

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Author: Niall Pelly, Partner - GQ | Littler

On April 1, 2021, the Government published the Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Right to Disconnect (the Code). The purpose of the Code is to provide guidance on best practice to employers and employees in relation to the right to disconnect. There are three rights underpinning the Code: (i) the right of an employee to not have to routinely perform work outside their normal working hours; (ii) the right not to be penalized for refusing to attend to work matters outside of normal working hours; and (iii) the duty to respect another person’s right to disconnect.

Failure to follow a Code of Practice is not in itself an offense. However, a statutory Code of Practice is admissible in evidence in any relevant proceedings before the Workplace Relations Commission and/or the Labor Court. If applicable, in assessing the potential liability of an employer for breaches of employment law, the extent to which an employer has complied with a relevant Code of Practice is not determinative but can be considered.

Government Seeks to Establish New Statutory Sick Pay Scheme

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Author: Niall Pelly, Partner - GQ | Littler

On June 9, 2021, the Government approved the drafting of the General Scheme of the Sick Leave Bill 2021, which would bring into effect a statutory sick pay scheme in 2022. Currently, in general, employees have no legal right to be paid while they are on sick leave from work, but this is due to change from 2022. The draft scheme seeks to introduce: (i) Paid sick leave for up to three sick days in 2022, to be increased to five days in 2023, seven days in 2024, and 10 days in 2025; (ii) A rate of payment for statutory sick leave of 70% of normal wages to be paid by employers (up to a maximum €110 per day); and (iii) A right for workers to take a complaint to the WRC where they are not provided with a company sick pay scheme.

To be entitled to paid sick leave under the new scheme, employees must be working for their employer for at least six months. They will also need to be certified by a GP as unfit to work.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.