The Employment Law Compliance Bill was first published in March 2008 and it was most recently envisaged by Government that the Bill would be enacted prior to the Dail summer recess. However, matters such as the Lisbon Referendum, an additional budget, and the McCarthy Report, to name but a few pressing issues, have meant the Bill’s progress through the Houses of the Oireachtas has been considerably slowed down.
At the time of going to print, the Employment Law Compliance Bill is currently due to go before the Select Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment, but as of yet, no date has been set. We will update you when this position changes.
To refresh your memory, the main provisions of the Bill will:
- place the National Employment Rights Authority (“NERA”), which will be dedicated to employment rights compliance, on a statutory footing following the appointment of the Director of NERA within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
- increase the number of labour inspectors to 90;
- strengthen inspection and enforcement powers to secure compliance with specified employment legislation, including the Employment Permits Acts 2003 and 2006;
- allow for investigation of statutory employment records required to be kept by employers for all employees;
- foster increased cooperation at workplace level, so as to safeguard employment rights;
- support current monitoring and inspection activities in relation to compliance with registered employment agreements;
- provide for exchanges of information between statutory enforcement authorities, so as to facilitate joint investigations of employers suspected of contravening the law;
- strengthen the powers of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to initiate investigations and publish the outcome in cases of public interest; and
- provide for penalties of up to €250,000, or imprisonment for breaches of employment legislation.