The Irish Government has recently entered into a transitional agreement with employer and trade union bodies which contains a number of proposals having implications for Irish employers. The Government has been forced to revise its existing ten-year strategic framework for economic and social development in light of the significant challenges currently facing the Irish economy.
The new deal provides for a national pay increase of six per cent over 21 months, across both the public and private sector. It has however been agreed that there will be a “pay pause” of three months in the private sector and eleven months in the public sector.
The Government intends to transpose into Irish law the pensions provisions of the Acquired Rights Directive by requiring employers to replicate pension rights following a TUPE transfer. The provisions are due to come into force by the end of the year and could have significant financial repercussions for employers in the current economic climate.
The Government has also signalled its intention to put in place a national framework providing equal treatment for agency workers. It has long been under pressure from the unions to introduce domestic legislation on this issue. Whilst there has now been agreement at an EU level on agency workers the Government has said that it will put in place its own framework, one that is “appropriate to the Irish economy”. Agency workers are therefore unlikely to get equal rights from Day One, in the same way that the UK has made alternative provisions. The Employment Agency Regulation Bill is due to be published by the end of the year.
The Employment Law Compliance Bill is also due to come into force by the end of 2008. The Bill is designed to secure better compliance with employment law through information and enforcement activities.