HR and Employment Law Updates
Michelle McDonagh, Consulting & Client Relationship Manager, Adare Human Resource Management
Minister Provides Update on Gender Pay Gap Reporting
Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, recently announced details of the introduction of gender pay gap reporting. It is expected that the commencement order for gender pay gap reporting obligations for Irish employers will be published in the coming weeks.
Employers will choose a ‘snapshot’ date of their employees in June 2022 and will report on the hourly gender pay gap for those employees on the same date in December 2022. The data collected will be based on employees’ remuneration for 12 months before this date. Employers are then required to submit this information to a designated public body and publish it on their organisation’s website within six months and before the end of December 2022.
Employers with 250 or more employees will be required to report their gender pay gap in 2022 and will be asked to include the following information:
- the mean and median gap in hourly pay between men and women
- the mean and median gap in bonus pay between men and women
- the mean and median gap in hourly pay of part-time male and female employees
- the mean and median gap in hourly pay of temporary male and female workers
- the percentage of men and of women who received bonus pay and benefits-in-kind
- the proportions of male and female employees in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay bands.
- Employers will also be required to publish a statement setting out the reasons for any gender pay gap and the measures being taken or proposed, to eliminate or reduce that pay gap.
This reporting threshold will decrease to a headcount of 150+ employees within the first two years of the Regulations and will then drop further, within the first three years of the Regulations, to employers with 50+ employees.
What does this mean for Employers?
If you are an Employer with 250 or more employees, you will have a short lead-in time this year for making your first gender pay gap report, so it is important that all use the time to put steps in place now. It is critical to ensure that you have the right strategy, framework and data for collating, computing, reporting, and ultimately communicating the required figures – and that you have determined the necessary steps to address any identified gaps.
Sick Leave Bill 2022 approved by Cabinet
A first time Statutory Sick Pay entitlementfor all employees moved closer to enactment with the announcement yesterday, by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD, that the Government has approved the publication of the General Scheme of the Sick Leave Bill 2022.
The Bill legislates for a statutory sick pay scheme for all employees, phased in over a four-year period. The new scheme will start with three days per year once the Bill is enacted, rising to five days in 2024, seven days in 2025, and ten days in 2026. The timeline has shifted slightly since the Government first announced details of the proposed scheme last year when it said there would be 10 days of sick leave by 2025.
The entitlement will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, up to a daily maximum threshold of €110. The threshold is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.
The rate could be revised by ministerial order in line with inflation and changing incomes and the legislation expressly states that this does not prevent employers offering better terms or unions negotiating for more through a collective agreement.
The employee will have to obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sickpay and the entitlement is subject to the employee having worked for their employer for a minimum of 13 weeks. Once entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions.
What does this mean for Employers?
It is expected that the scheme will come into force in September 2022 so there is immediate planning and budgeting required. If your business does not have a sick pay policy, one will be required.
If there is an existing policy in place, it will need to be updated in accordance with the Bill. It’s important to note that if an organisation’s sick pay policy is less favourable than that under the legislation, the policy needs to be modified so it is in line with the legislation.
The same is required for employment contracts and employee handbook if they include information on sick pay and sick leave.
Employers need to ensure correct processes and procedures are in place to maintain appropriate records for four years in relation to each employee who availed of sick leave. An employer who fails to keep correct records could be fined up to €2,500.
Finally, preparation for the introduction of the legislation should include communication with employers to ensure they are aware of their rights.
If you require any support in adapting or implementing any of the above, please get in touch with our team.
Adare Human Resource Management is a teamof expert-led Employment Law, Industrial Relations and best practice HumanResource Management consultants. For more information go to www.adarehrm.ie or call (01) 5613594 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.