The setup of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on 1 October 2015 brought in a new wave of dispute resolution mechanisms in Ireland. All first instance complaints now go to an Adjudication Officer and then, on appeal, to the Labour Court. Below is a summary of developments since then.
First progress and commentary report
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has published its first progress and commentary report since its establishment as a ‘one stop shop’ for the submission of employment complaints in October 2015. The report outlines the work undertaken and progress made by the Commission to date, insights into the organisation's activity and also the trends emerging in dispute resolution, adjudication, labour inspection, and enforcement.
According to the report, 71% of the 31,307 calls received by the WRC were from employees. 31% of calls were in relation to employment permits while 17% were about working hours. The remainder of the calls include topics such as terms of employment, payment of wages and unfair dismissals.
The report outlines significant improvements to waiting times both for a hearing and the issuing of decisions as well as a reduction in the backlog of equality cases. All good news for users of the service.
A Stakeholder Framework is currently under consideration by the Board of the WRC, which would ensure that all users of the service can provide feedback which would improve the quality and efficiency of the overall service. CIPD Ireland welcomes this framework and looks forward to it becoming operational later this year.
Overall early feedback on the newly established Commission is positive and we in CIPD Ireland are looking forward to future collaborations with the team in the WRC.
The WRC presented its first Annual Report covering the period from its establishment on 1 October 2015 to 31 December 2015 to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD in August 2016.
The same month, the Minister has presented the 2015 Annual Report of the Labour Court to the government.
Guide to employment, labour and equality law
The WRC has published a new Guide to employment, labour and equality law which provides an overview of the role and services of the Commission, employment rights and equality legislation in Ireland as well as the adjudication redress provisions. The guide will be useful for both employees and employers alike.
Employment law explained
The WRC has also published Employment law explained, a booklet summarising the rights and obligations under employment, equality and employment permit legislation. The booklet complements the more detailed Guide to employment, labour and equality law mentioned above. The publication will be particularly useful to existing employers and to those who plan to set up a business.
WRC procedures for investigating and adjudicating employment and equality complaints
The procedures explain:
- Making a case
- Time limits
- The need for statements by complainants (employees) and respondents (employers)
- The hearing and decision
WRC appeals process and hearings
This guidance covers:
- The Labour Court appeals process and hearings
- Unfair Dismissal appeals and the 42 day time limit
- The Labour Court appeals eForm
Labour Court ways of working
This guidance documents:
- How the Labour Court works
- The issues it deals with under which legislation
- How it deals with a dispute
- Referral methods, including Adjudication Officer appeals and time lines
Labour Court submissions
This guidance gives
- Guidelines on preparing a submission
- Sample submissions
Guide to inspections
The WRC has published a Guide to inspections, which sets out guidance for employers as to how an inspection is undertaken by WRC Inspectors, their powers and the records to be made available.
Congratulations to Oonagh Buckley on her appointment to the position of Director General of the WRC. Oonagh is currently Assistant Secretary on Pay and Pensions Policy in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Oonagh shared great insights into public sector pay reform at the CIPD Pay and Performance seminar earlier this year.
Kevin Foley, currently deputy Chairman of the Labour Court, has been appointed as Chairman of the Court.
CIPD Ireland would like to wish both Oonagh and Kevin well in their new roles.