The introduction of Statutory Sick Pay and an increase in the National Minimum Wage are some of the recent changes.
By Dave Hickey F.C.A.
The rate of change in employment law in the past few years seems to be accelerating which makes it difficult for employers and their staff to be up-to-date with all the new requirements.
Almost all new or updated legislation also has an impact on existing laws and how they are interpreted which means that even experienced business leaders can find it difficult to understand and communicate current employment law.
Employers should ensure that their employment contracts and employee handbooks comply with current legislation and this can be a major challenge for most as they are not large enough to have a full-time HR function.
Engaging with an outsourced HR partner who can keep you up-to-date with all developments can benefit employers, helping them and their staff deal with these changes.
A few recent changes which impact most employers are set out below. This is not a comprehensive list and nor does it go into detail on the changes. For further information follow the links or consult a HR professional.
3 DAYS PAID STATUTORY SICK PAY
The Sick Leave Act 2022 came into force on 1 January this year.
Employees are entitled up to three days of employer-paid sick leave in a year, paid at 70% of regular gross salary (excluding overtime or commission) up to a cap of €110 per day.
Employers may have a more generous sick pay scheme but can’t go below this threshold for 2023. The number of days will increase to five next year, reaching 10 in 2026.
An employee qualifies if they have been employed for at least 13 continuous weeks prior to the sick leave and are certified by a medical practitioner as unable to work.
More details provided by the WRC are available here.
NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE BY 7.6%
The top level of the National Minimum Wage increased by 7.6% from €10.50 to €11.30 per hour with effect from 1 January 2023. The rates for those under 20, 19 and 18 also increased on that date.
Employees in certain sectors, such as the security sector and the cleaning sector, have other minimum rates of pay. The rules for these sectors are set out in Employment Regulation Orders (EROs) made by Joint Labour Committees.
To ensure that the increase does not result in employers paying a higher PRSI contribution, the PRSI threshold increased from €410 to €441 on that date.
TIPS AND GRATUITIES
The Payment of Wages (Amendment) (Tips and Gratuities) Act 2022 came into effect on 1 December 2022. The Act introduces new rules about how employers share tips, gratuities and service charges amongst employees. It also makes it illegal for employers to use tips or gratuities to make up basic wages.
The key features of this act and how it impacts your business can be found here. They include requirements for employers to provide a statement to workers showing the amount of tips obtained in a period and the portion paid to the individual employee for that particular period; as well as the need to clearly display how these are distributed.
OTHER CHANGES COMING UP
Other changes introduced in 2022 include a change to the ability of employers to extend probationary periods beyond six months.
The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 will include the much-debated ‘Right to Request Remote Working’ legislation as well allowing for unpaid leave relating to medical care and domestic violence situations.
Finally, the government is set to introduce the requirement for employees over the age of 23 to be automatically enrolled in a pension scheme from 1 January 2024. This could have a significant impact on employment costs next year and we will provide a separate update on this when more details emerge. However, this has been postponed before, and could be again!