16th December 2022
The Government has today announced the transposition of EU Directive 2019/1152 on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions by way of secondary legislation under the European Communities Act 1972. This brings the Directive into national law.
Welcoming this transposition, the Minister for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD said:
“Bringing this Directive into Irish law adds to our already robust suite of employment protections and complements the new workers’ rights introduced over the last two years. These include statutory sick pay, a new public holiday, new rights around redundancy for people laid off during the pandemic and better protection of workplace tips and gratuities. Transposing the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive into Irish law will give all workers:
- more complete information on the essential aspects of the work, which is to be received early by the worker, in writing
- a limit to the length of probationary periods at the beginning of a job
- the right to seek additional employment, with a ban on exclusivity clauses and limits on incompatibility clauses
- the right to know in a reasonable period in advance when work will take place – that is, for workers with very unpredictable working schedules, as in the case of on-demand work
- anti-abuse legislation for zero-hour contract work
- the right for employees to request to be transferred to a form of employment with more predictable and secure working conditions where available and receive a reasoned written reply
- the right to receive mandatory training, cost-free, that is required to carry out the work for which he or she is employed
“The Regulations signed today by the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD, ensure that these new rights and protections extend to all workers in all forms of work, including those in the most flexible non-standard and new forms of work such as zero-hour contracts, casual work, domestic work, voucher-based work or platform work.”
Minister English added:
“Every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety, and dignity, to limitation of maximum working hours, to daily and weekly rest periods and to an annual period of paid leave.
“The transposition of this Directive also recognises that there are some circumstances under which employers require additional flexibility around some of the provisions and certain exceptions are provided for in the Regulations to allow for this.”
The Directive aims at improving working conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment while ensuring labour market adaptability. It expands the information required to be given to an employee on commencing employment and introduces new provisions including the ability to request transition to another form of employment with more predictable and secure working conditions (Article 12) and, the right to receive mandatory training (Article 13).
Article 8 will limit the length of the probation period at the beginning of a job to a maximum of six months. However, there will be scope for this to be extended in the interests of the employee or where the employee has been on extended leave, such as sick leave, during the initial probation period. It will also be possible to apply an extended period of probation where it is justified by the nature of the work, such as public service employment.
The Directive will also provide the right to take up parallel employment (Article 9). However, exceptions will be permitted on objective grounds such as health and safety, protection of business confidentiality, the integrity of the public service and the avoidance of conflict of interests. It also prohibits adverse treatment of an employee who does take up other employment.
Transposing this Directive will ensure that these rights cover all workers in all forms of work, including those in the most flexible non-standard and new forms of work such as zero-hour contracts, casual work, domestic work, voucher-based work or platform work. The Directive also contains targeted provisions on enforcement, to make sure that workers effectively benefit from these rights.
We already have a robust suite of statutory employment rights protections including those underpinned by the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018, which pre-empted many aspects of the Directive. This provided for anti-penalisation provisions, stronger penalties for non-compliance, restriction of zero hours contracts and provision of more precise information on hours of work and other core terms of employment to employees at an earlier stage in the employment relationship. The Regulations transposing this Directive will further build on these existing provisions.
A public information campaign will be rolled out following this transposition to ensure all employers and employees are fully aware of the changes introduced by the Directive.
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