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HR Buddy Newsletter March 2022

Two new codes of practice 1.The Code of Practice on Equal Pay provides employers, trade unions and employees with practical guidance on the right to equal pay, how to eliminate pay inequality, and how to resolve pay disputes. 2.The Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work sets out what is meant by employment-related sexual harassment and harassment and outlines how it can be prevented.
Damien McCarthy - CEOHR Buddy

 

Announcement of gender pay gap reporting in 2022

On International Women’s Day, this was announced. Minister Roderic O’Gorman, announced details of the introduction of gender pay gap reporting in Ireland.

So, The Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021 has introduced the basis for gender pay gap reporting and regulations under the Act will be published in the coming weeks. The regulations will require organisations with over 250 employees to report on their gender pay gap in 2022.

 

So how is this going to work and what is involved?

 

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 information employers will be asked to include in their report:

  • The mean and median hourly wage gap, the former reflecting the entire pay range in an organisation and the latter excluding the impact of unusually high earners.
  • Data on bonus pay.
  • The mean and median pay gaps for part-time employees and for employees on temporary contracts.
  • The proportions of male and female employees in the lower, lower middle, upper middle and upper quartile pay bands.

And Employers are also required to publish a statement setting out, in the employers’ opinion, the reasons for the gender pay gap in their company and what measures are being taken by the employer to eliminate or reduce that pay gap.

 

How is this going to help address the gap in gender pay?

 

Well, The Gender Pay Gap Act requires employers to not only report on the gender pay gap in their organisation, but also places on obligation on

employers to provide details of measures being taken to reduce that gap. So, it is not just reporting, it is providing measures to reduce the gap.

 

 

The requirement is only for firms with 250 employees or more?

 

In 2022 yes, but the reporting requirement will only initially apply to organisations with 250 or more employees but will extend over time to organisations with 50 or more employees:

  • +250 employees: 2022
  • +150 employees: 2024
  • +50 employees: 2025

 

What should employers do to prepare for this?

 

Resources – employers should ensure that they have the required resources within the organisation to carry out gender pay gap reporting, including the technology and software which will be required to collate the data and carry out the calculations.

Collate and Analyse the Data – start collating the data.  Carrying out a “dry run” will enable an organisation to (i) identify any technology supports or staff training that may be needed and to (ii) identify and maybe diffuse any potential equal pay or discrimination issues early on.

Legal Input – look employers should also be mindful of their data protection obligations when calculating and reporting on their gender pay gap. And Taking legal advice at an early stage is key, not only in terms of advising in respect of potential legal and data protection issues, but also ensuring that the process followed and output of such an initial review can be protected from disclosure (on the basis of legal privilege).

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Some extreme weather events recently and Work Absence during extreme weather events can impact on an employee’s ability to report for work and an employer’s ability to operate his/her business and to be able to provide work.
So, when an employee cannot attend work because of this, is the employer obliged to pay the employee?

 

First of all, the employment contract may specify this.

But in general, there is no statutory entitlement for an employee to be paid if they cannot attend work because of extreme weather.  And Any more beneficial arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee.

I would say that It would be encouraged that Employers take a long-term view of the working relationship, recognising that concern for the welfare of employees and treating employees fairly translates into a better working environment to the benefit of both the staff and the employer.

Can an employee take annual leave days to cover the unforeseen absence from work or even unpaid leave to cover the absence from work because of an extreme weather event or What happens where a roster needs to be changed at short notice?

Employers may allow employees take annual leave for the day or days covered by the event in which case they would be paid.
This arrangement is a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee when it comes to annual leave or unpaid leave is taken or indeed organising that a day may be worked in lieu.
Normally with regards rosters then, employees are entitled to notice of at least 24 hours of a roster change. However, this does not apply in exceptional circumstances as with extreme weather events.

What happens where the employer is unable to either open the premises for a few weeks because of the emergency or where there is no work – for example when there is a flood?
So in that circumstance the employer may put employees on a period of ‘layoff’. An employer may lay off employees when there is no work available for a temporary period. And If employees are laid-off then the employer is not obliged to pay employees.

 

What would be important for employers is to a clear policy on this and have it included in the Terms and Conditions of Employment (Contract) or company staff handbook.
So, Employers may include policies and procedures in their contracts of employment to cover severe weather events which may include:
The taking of annual leave for the days absent to avoid employee loss of earnings
Agreement to work back the hours / days lost
Alternative opening days on a day where the business is normally closed
or indeed Working from home where feasible
Working from an alternative location where feasible
Or any other beneficial arrangements that may make sense for the operations of the business.

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It is a huge time of change in workplaces and in particular a number of employment law and legislative changes that employers need to be aware of, what else do employers need to be focusing on?

1.The Right to Statutory Sick pay. We have not seen this legislation signed into law yet but we are expecting it shortly. To be very clear as it stands, there is no legal entitlement for statutory sick pay until we see this legislation signed into law. When it is, obviously company policies on sick pay in many workplaces will have to change.

  1. The Right to request Remote Working is obviously going to be the big topic of 2022 and we are going to see a lot of legal argument and debate around this between now and when it is actually finally introduced into law later this summer. What is important for employers now is that they start drafting what will become their remote working policy as this is going to be a legal necessity, carrying a fine €2,500 if not provided, so a vital document that needs to be well tailored to fit your business.
  2. New rights around Redundancy for people laid off during the Pandemic.
  3. Better protection of Workplace tips. Again, policies will have to be drafted here in the hospitality industry.
  4. A 10th Public Holiday which again needs to be reflected in employment documentation such as staff contracts and handbooks.
  5. Gender pay gap reporting as we spoke about above
  6. Whistleblowing Legislation, under an EU directive by the autumn of 2022
  7. Additional 2 weeks Parents leave; we expect that by July this will extend to a 7- week entitlement for each parent.
  8. Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions legislation, again under an EU directive by the end of 2022 we will see a bill dealing with worker’s rights and changes in areas such as the employment probationary periods and training rights of employees.
  9. Pension Auto-enrolment, whereby employees will automatically be place on a pension by their employer.

 

 

 

Two new codes of practice

1.The Code of Practice on Equal Pay provides employers, trade unions and employees with practical guidance on the right to equal pay, how to eliminate pay inequality, and how to resolve pay disputes.

2.The Code of Practice on Sexual Harassment and Harassment at Work sets out what is meant by employment-related sexual harassment and harassment and outlines how it can be prevented.

So, some very significant change and considerations for employers throughout the year and a lot of thought has to be put towards covering these responsibilities.

 

And as always, if anyone would like help with that, how can they reach us.

We are always available to help and support any business and we are available through contact forms on our website hrbuddy.ie, by email on info@hrbuddy.ie, or on 064 6698034

 

www.hrbuddy.ie  064 6698034  info@hrbuddy.ie

 

 

 

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