Update Regarding the Quota for Meat Deboners
The Employment Permits Regulations 2017, Statutory Instrument No. 333 of 2019, set a maximum quota of 300 General Employment Permits for Meat Deboners.
With effect from 4th July 2019, a further limited number of General Employment Permits for employment as a boner (meat), which remains off the ineligible employment list, will be eligible for consideration. The normal criteria for a General Employment Permit will apply, with the exception that the minimum annual remuneration is €27,500 for this category of employment.
Applicants should note that:
- Applicants must include proof that a Labour Market Needs Test has been carried out, except where this requirement has been waived. Information on the process involved is set out on the Labour Market Needs Test.
- Applications will be processed strictly in date order by receipt of correctly completed application and fee. Applicants should ensure that the form is completed in full and that the relevant documents are attached.
Annual and weekly remuneration requirements
In 2016, the Department considered, within the strictures of the existing legal framework for employment permits, the case made by the sector regarding the seasonal nature of work in the sector which is characterised by periods of high economic activity as well as periods of lower economic activity, and that the weekly pay rate for a meat boner on a General Employment Permit would need to reflect such periods of peaks and troughs.
A number of conditions have been put in place which balance the needs of the meat processing sector with the Department’s obligations to maintain the integrity of the employment permit regime and to ensure the permit holder secures a socially accepted standard of living without recourse to the State's social protection system. The following conditions 1-7 are cited explicitly as the conditions under which a General Employment Permit for a meat boner shall be granted:
- The minimum annual remuneration for a meat boner on a General Employment Permit is €27,500. This annual rate is calculated on the basis of a 39 hour working week over 52 weeks and in respect of which the minimum hourly rate of remuneration is €13.56.
- The minimum annual remuneration of €27,500 will be achieved over the course of the 52 weeks even where the average weekly hours of work do not equate to 39x52 hours.
- Where the average weekly hours of work exceed 39 hours, this minimum annual remuneration will be increased accordingly, with additional hours worked remunerated at a minimum rate of €13.56/hour.
- For the purposes of calculating the minimum annual remuneration for an employment permit, remuneration pertains only to basic salary i.e. piece work or overtime cannot be included in the calculations.
- During periods of low economic activity, the minimum weekly remuneration may be no less than €356.85 . This weekly remuneration equates to 26 hours work per week at the minimum hourly rate of €13.56. Thus the permit holder will be paid a minimum of €356.85 per week for hours worked, up to and including 26 hours per week. Hours worked in excess of 26 hours per week will be paid at the minimum hourly rate of €13.56. The required additional hours to secure a minimum annual remuneration of €27,500 must be rostered in times of high economic activity.
- Where the employment ceases during the 52 week period, the minimum annual remuneration of €27,500 will be paid to the permit holder on a pro rata basis, including hours worked in excess of 39 hours per week.
These conditions will be explicitly defined in the permit letters issued to both the employer and the employee and a summary of the conditions will be printed on the original permit.
Workplace Relations Commission Inspectors will continue to regularly inspect the workplaces to ensure general compliance with employment permits legislation and in particular that the above minimum annual, weekly, and hourly remuneration requirements are being adhered to. Failure to meet the requirements above may result in either a refusal to renew the employment permit concerned or its revocation. Where the employer has been convicted of an offence under the Employment Permits Act 2006 (as amended) the Minister may refuse to grant or renew any further employment permits in respect of that employer. The Department reserves the right to revert to a fixed weekly rate in the event that it is established that the conditions set out above are systematically not being adhered to.
Employment Permits Section
21 August 2019