Described as ‘one of the most significant pieces of employment legislation in a generation’, the new Employment Act aims to improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts.
The legislation will restrict the use of zero hours contracts and compel employers to give employees details of their core terms of employment within five days of starting work.
This statement must include information on “the number of hours which the employer reasonably expects the employee to work”, both per day and per week.
Employees who don’t have a contract detailing weekly hours can request to work within a “band” of hours corresponding to the average number of hours they worked in the previous year.
There are also now minimum payments for people called into work but are sent home without work
There are restrictions on zero hour contracts, under which employees must be available for work but are not guaranteed hours, except in circumstances of ‘genuine’ casual employment or where cover is being provided in an emergency situation.
There are also now minimum payments for people called into work but are sent home without work.
Under the new Act, the national minimum wage rates for young employees have been simplified and based on age, with trainee rates of pay abolished.
A person aged under-18 will be entitled to a rate of €6.86 per hour and €7.84 for an employee aged over 18.
Once a person turns 20, they will have to be paid the full national minimum wage of €9.80 per hour.
David Gibney said that the Mandate Trade Union believes it is the most important piece of legislation in decades for workers’ rights.
Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said “from today, this new law will profoundly improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts”.
“In a changing world, this reform ensures that the available legal protections will match the conditions experienced by a modern workforce and make a real difference in the lives of thousands of workers.”
David Gibney from the Mandate Trade Union estimates that hundreds of thousands of people will be affected by the new legislation.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said that the union believes it is the most important piece of legislation in decades for workers’ rights.
He said the new legislation will help people plan their lives, pay their bills and not lose their homes over not having secure contracts.
For more information on the new Employment Act, see www.welfare.ie