Littler Global Guide - Ireland - Q1 2017

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

View all Q1 2017 Global Guide Quarterly updates

Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016

Enacted Legislation

Author: Michael Kennedy, Partner — ByrneWallace

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act commenced on 1 September 2016. It provides for two weeks paternity leave for relevant parents and applies to all births or adoptions which occur after that date. The Act provides that the rights of the employee taking paternity leave shall be preserved during the period of leave and prohibits the penalisation of an employee for having exercised their rights to take paternity leave. Employers are not required to pay employees while they are on paternity leave, but employers can top-up the state paternity benefit if they wish.

Assault and Harassment: When is an employer responsible for the acts of an employee?

Precedential Decision by Judiciary

Author: Michael Kennedy, Partner — ByrneWallace

On December 1, 2016, the High Court of England and Wales confirmed that an employer is vicariously liable for a tort committed by its employee if the employee who committed the act was “acting in the course or scope of his employment”. [Citation: Bellman v, Northampton Recruitment Limited [2016] EWHC 3104] On February 12, 2015, The Irish Labour Court determined that the test in harassment claims under the Employment Equality Acts is not akin to vicarious liability at common law. [Citation: McCamley v. Dublin Bus [2016] 27 ELR 81] The two cases neatly illustrate the differences between vicarious liability at common and what has been referred to by the Labour Court as “a form of constructive direct liability” under the Employment Equality Acts.

Potential Amendments to Pensions Law - Bill 2017 No. 1, 2 and 3

Proposed Bill or Proposed Initiative

Author: Michael Kennedy, Partner — ByrneWallace

Three Bills before the Irish Parliament propose to amend Irish pensions legislation to address situations in which solvent companies are the sponsors of insolvent pension schemes. The focus of each of the Bills is on defined benefit (i.e., final salary) pension schemes. The Bills come in the wake of a series of high-profile cases which highlighted the fact that Irish pension legislation allows solvent companies to wind up their pension schemes. It remains to be seen whether any one of these proposals will be passed into law, whether in the same, or an amended, form.

Potential Abolition of Mandatory Retirement Age: Bill 2016 and Employment Equality (Amendment) Bill 2016

Proposed Bill or Proposed Initiative

Author: Michael Kennedy, Partner — ByrneWallace

Irish law currently permits employers to set mandatory retirement ages for employees provided certain criteria are met. Recently, the Government has decided not to oppose the introduction of two Bills seeking to abolish mandatory retirement ages or restrict the application of mandatory retirement ages to certain circumstances. If one or other of these Bills is enacted, however, it is likely that the legislation would be in a substantially different form than the form of each Bill that has been published to date.

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.