The High Court has today upheld a challenge to the constitutionality of the JLC system which has the potential to affect thousands of workers across the country employed in industry and geographical sectors.  Today’s decision relates to the catering sector but it also has wide-ranging implications for employees working in other sectors governed by the JLC system such as hotels, hairdressers, contract cleaning and retail.

In basic terms, the JLCs sets minimum rates of pay and conditions for employees working in certain sectors over and above the minimum pay and conditions required under employment legislation.  Therefore, not only does this system allow for mandatory rates of pay above the national minimum wage, it also has the potential to require employers to pay employees mandatory overtime, sick pay, Sunday premia and to provide holidays over and above the statutory minimum.  This means that two employers located beside each other could have very different staff overheads depending on whether or not they are covered by the JLC system.

This case will be of enormous significance to large numbers of employers and employees alike and comes in the wake of proposals by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, to maintain but review the current JLC system.  There has been no stay put on the decision although the High Court will hear further submissions from the parties in this case on 25 July 2011.  For the time being, employers and employees covered by JLCs remain unclear whether the entire JLC system will fall as a result of this decision. For further details, please consult the following link or contact one of the employment team as listed adjacent.