Littler Global Guide - Ireland - Q1 2022

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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Government Announces New Public Holiday

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Niall Pelly, Partner, and Alison Finn, Senior Associate – GQ | Littler

In January 2022, the government announced that there will be a once off public holiday on March 18, 2022 to remember those who lost their life during the pandemic and to recognize the efforts of all citizens during the pandemic.

In addition, from 2023 onwards a new public holiday has been added to the annual public holiday calendar bringing the total number to ten. The new public holiday, which will be in honor of St. Brigid’s day, will be the first Monday in every February, except where St. Brigid’s day, February 1, falls on a Friday, in which case that Friday, February 1, will be the public holiday. The introduction of the new annual public holiday brings Ireland more into line with the European average.

Government Announces Details on Gender Pay Gap Reporting

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Authors: Niall Pelly, Partner, and Alison Finn, Senior Associate – GQ | Littler

To coincide with International Women’s Day 2022, the government announced that the commencement order for gender pay gap reporting obligations for employers in Ireland will be published in the coming weeks. The regulations will require organizations with over 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap in 2022. Employers will be required to identify a specified “snapshot” date of their employees in June 2022 and then report the requisite pay and bonus information for those employees on the same date in December 2022. Employers will also be required to publish a statement setting out, in the employers’ opinion, the reasons for the gender pay gap and what measures are being taken or proposed to be taken by the employer to eliminate or reduce that pay gap.

The reporting requirement will initially only apply to employers with 250 or more employees but will extend over time to employers with 50 or more employees. It is expected that the regulations setting out the precise details that will need to be reported this year will be published shortly.

Bill to Transpose EU Whistleblower Directive Expands Scope and Breadth of Protections

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Niall Pelly, Partner, and Alison Finn, Senior Associate – GQ | Littler

In February, the government published the Protected Disclosures (Amendment) Bill 2022 (the Bill), which will transpose the “EU Whistleblower Directive” (i.e., Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law). The legislation will further extend the scope and breadth of the protections afforded to individuals who make protected disclosures in Ireland.

A wider list of employers will be within the scope of the new legislation and the list of issues that constitute protected disclosures will also be extended. Under the existing regime, only public bodies are required to have reporting procedures in place for protected disclosures. The Bill extends this requirement to include private entities with over 50 employees from December 17, 2021. The new laws will not come into effect for most private sector employers with between 50 and 249 employees until December 2023.

Government Publishes Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2022

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Niall Pelly, Partner, and Alison Finn, Senior Associate – GQ | Littler

The General Scheme of the Right to Request Remote Working Bill 2022 (the Bill) was published in January 2022. As proposed, the Bill will require employers to have a written statement specifying the manner in which remote working requests are managed, the time frame within which decisions will be made and the specific conditions which will apply to remote working generally within the organization. Employees with more than 26 weeks' service will be able to make a formal request for remote working, to which an employer is obliged to accept, refuse or to make a counteroffer of an alternative remote working arrangement within 12 weeks. The Bill sets out a non-exhaustive list of 13 potential business grounds for refusing a remote working request.

As currently proposed, where an employer fails to respond to a request, or fails to provide a reason for refusing a request, an employee may appeal to the Workplace Relations Commission. The legislation remains at draft stage and it has been subject to much criticism so significant changes should be anticipated between now and the time at which it is enacted later in the year.

Sick Leave Bill 2022 Approved by Government

Proposed Bill or Initiative

Authors: Niall Pelly, Senior Associate, and Alison Finn, Senior Associate – GQ | Littler

The publication of the Government's Sick Leave Bill 2022 (the Bill) was announced in March and will now progress through the usual legislative process. The Bill imposes a mandatory obligation on the part of employers to provide sick pay. No such obligation currently exists.

The Bill provides for statutory sick leave payment (SSP) for an employee initially up to three days absence a year due to illness or injury, which will then rise to five days in 224, seven days in 2025 and ten days in 2026. An employee becomes entitled to SSP after they have completed 13 weeks of continuous service with their employer and will have to provide a medical certificate confirming that they are unable to work. SSP will be paid at the rate of 70% of regular earnings, up to €110 per day.

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.