News & Events

WRC Seminar Temporary Work and Longer Working

A magnifying glass was held up to two key aspects of work at a Workplace Relations Commission Seminar held in Dublin Castle today.

Attracting some of the country’s most eminent experts and academics, The World of Work: A Shifting Landscape delved into current and prospective changes that affect or will shortly affect a very large proportion of the Irish workforce – are temporary work contracts more and more a feature of working life; what are the implications of an aging workforce on employment relations and what broader policy questions need to be considered.

“The way we work is changing, and the length of time we spend in work is changing” said Oonagh Buckley Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission, “and seminars such as this, allow us the time and space to debate how these changes affect not only staff and employees, but society as a whole.”

Temporary Workers

Speaking at the Seminar, Professor Seamus McGuinness of the ESRI noted that while temporary employment may not be increasing overall, there is clear evidence that temporary workers are found across all education levels, sectors, occupations and organisational sizes and that the likelihood of living in a household at risk of poverty in Ireland is 7% higher for those in temporary, compared to permanent employment.

Liam Cox, Ireland Manager of Deliveroo spoke out how about the “gig” model works for Deliveroo but stated that it works well for the people who work with them as well while Professor Michael Doherty of Maynooth University spoke to the societal challenges and possible responses that are arising from social platforms that, in effect, are creating a new employment model.

Longer Working

Professor Colm O Cinneide of the University of London spoke at the seminar about the aging European and global population. In Ireland “the number of people over 65 is increasing by almost 20,000 every year and, by 2041, there will be 2.44 million aged 60 and over living on the island of Ireland, making up nearly one third of its total population”. In this regard, Professor O Cinneide stated that, apart from managing the consequent pension funding issue, society will need to adapt to recognise that people themselves place great emphasis on self-realisation through work will continue throughout life, and if such people feel unfairly treated in this regard there could be broader legal consequences for employers and policy makers.

Professor Alan Barrett of the ESRI added to the debate and asked “do we need to think about life-long learning as a longer curve than currently, is an elder care debate overdue, and, facing the reality of physical and cognitive decline as we get older then what jobs are suitable and what accommodation can be made for older workers to continue in work”.

Commenting on the subject of ‘Longer Working’ Minister Pat Breen said that issues around retirement age in both the public and private sector are very topical. He said the recent adoption of a new Code of Practice was welcome and that it should act as a useful guide to employers and employees in the run up to this important milestone in people’s working lives.   Reflecting on the fact that, happily, people are living longer and healthier lives, the Minister said “It is in the interests of both employers and employees to reach mutually beneficial arrangements in the lead in period to retirement”.


For any press related queries please contact Alison Nulty on: 0864133031

Note to Editors

Functions of the Workplace Relations Commission

The main functions of the WRC are to:

  • Promote the improvement of workplace relations, and the maintenance of good workplace relations,
  • Promote and encourage compliance with relevant employment legislation,
  • Provide guidance in relation to compliance with Codes of Practice,
  • Conduct reviews of, and monitor developments, in workplace relations generally,
  • Conduct or commission relevant research and provide advice, information and the findings of research to Joint Labour Committees and Joint Industrial Councils,
  • Advise the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in relation to the application of, and compliance with, relevant legislation, and to
  • Provide information to the public in relation to employment legislation (other than the Employment Equality Act).