In the final instalment of our 12 Days of Christmas series, we look at some developments that we can expect in 2020.
Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2019
This bill was presented to the Dáil in April 2019 and has now completed the third stage of its passage through the House. We anticipate that it will be signed into law during 2020.
By way of reminder, the bill amends the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2015 by requiring employers to:
- publish information about any gender pay differences;
- set out the reasons for gender pay disparities; and
- report on how they intend to reduce or eliminate any gender pay differences.
IORP II: Directive (EU) 2016/2341 on the Activities and Supervision of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision
As we wrote in our Winter Pensions Briefing, the transposition of the IORP II Directive into domestic law has been delayed by a legal challenge brought by the Association of Pension Trustees of Ireland. Although that litigation may not have reached a final resolution, the High Court has now lifted the order that was preventing the implementation of IORP II. We anticipate that the transposition process will begin in 2020 but it is too early to speculate on the exact date when that legislation will come into operation.
Pensions Auto Enrolment
We can expect further aspects of the design of the auto-enrolment system to be confirmed during 2020. The final proposals for the Central Processing Authority and the state supported financial incentive are due to be presented to the government for its consideration during the first quarter of the year. You can read more about this by clicking here.
National LGBTI+ Inclusion Strategy 2019-2021
This strategy document was launched on 28 November 2019 with a foreword written by the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration. The action plan in support of the strategy includes a section on the workplace and the following actions have been ear-marked for 2020:
- The development of an employers’ toolkit for use in both the public and private sectors to promote workplace inclusion.
- The provision of information to employers about their obligations under equality legislation and how they can provide a safe and supportive working environment for LGBTI+ people.
- The development of guidance for transgender people to support their continued participation in the workplace.
Expansion of KEEP Scheme
Under the Key Employee Engagement Scheme ("KEEP"), small and medium enterprises can grant share options to key employees, as a retention incentive, in a tax efficient manner. Gains realised on the exercise of qualifying share options are not subject to income tax, PRSI or the Universal Social Charge. The 2019 Finance Bill, which is expected to be enacted imminently, will make the following changes to the scheme:
- Companies that operate through a group structure will now be able to qualify.
- The conditions relating to which employees qualify will be amended to allow for part-time and flexible working and intra-group transfers.
- It will be possible to re-use existing shares for KEEP.
Daly v Nano Nagle School
Following the recent Supreme Court decision, this long running case has now been remitted to the Labour Court for further consideration. The Labour Court will have to apply the guidance given by the Supreme Court on making reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities to the facts of the case.
IHREC Code of Practice
The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission ("IHREC") is to draw up a code of practice addressing disability discrimination in the workplace. This announcement follows the release of figures by the Central Statistics Office showing that people with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed as those without a disability. The code will be made under the statutory powers given to IHREC under section 31(2) of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. Employers will need to pay regard to the guidance in the code as it will be admissible as evidence in complaints brought before the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.