In August of last year, four employment related legal notices came into force but were shortly 'suspended' following various objections from interested stakeholders. The legal notices related to annual leave; itemised payslips; transfer of business and temporary agency workers. In December of last year, the legal notices relating to annual leave and itemised payslips were further amended and have now come into force. The legal notice introducing changes to the Transfer of Business (Protection of Employment) Regulations have not been amended and have apparently also come into force whilst the amendments to the Temporary Workers Agency Regulations are apparently still suspended.
So what are the main changes introduced by the new provisions of last year?
i. Only 12 days out of the annual leave can be utilised by the employer for periods of shut down, including temporary closure. Any type of shutdown, including temporary closure of whole or part of the business for bridge holidays, is to be communicated to employees by end of January of each year;
ii. Leave is to be availed of on days agreed upon between the employer and the employee. Once agreed upon, leave cannot be cancelled unilaterally.
iii. If the employer imposes forced leave on an employee, the employer is to provide a written statement before the leave starts giving reasons for the imposition of forced leave.
iv. Annual leave continues to accrue in favour of an employee during maternity leave, and any leave unused by end of year will be transferred to the next. The employee is also entitled to an additional day of leave in case of public holidays which happen to fall during maternity leave;
v. Annual leave continues to accrue in favour of an employee during sick leave or injury leave and any balance of remaining leave at the end of year will be transferred to the next;
i.As from the 1st January 2019, employers are bound to give itemised payslips either before or on the date when the wages are due, which payslips are to contain all the information listed in the Regulation such as the number of normal hours worked; the number of overtime hours worked; the number of hours of annual leave utilised and the remaining balance; the basic wages received; a breakdown of any bonuses, allowances and commissions received and any deductions effected;
ii.The employee has the right to request, up to a maximum of 4 times a year, the sick leave entitlement and the number of hours of sick leave availed of during the year.
Transfer of Business:
The most significant amendment to be introduced is a new proviso which provides that during negotiations leading to a transfer, there can be no changes to the conditions of employment of the employees affected by the transfer. This also seems to prohibit changes which might be agreed upon by the affected employees themselves.