Important Employment Law Changes Proposed

Author:Mr Paul Glenfield, John Dunne and Bryan Dunne
Profession:Matheson Ormsby Prentice

The Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Bill 2011 was recently published by the Minister. We have reviewed the Bill and have summarised some of the main points below. The Bill states that "pay" is defined as basic pay as well as any pay in excess of basic pay in respect of shift work, piece work, overtime, unsocial hours and Sunday work. The basic working and employment conditions protected by the Bill expressly exclude sick pay, payments under a pension scheme or other occupational social security schemes.

Some important points raised in the Bill are:

the Bill provides that, subject to any collective agreement (see below), the basic working and employment conditions (specifically, pay, working time, rest periods, rest breaks, night work, annual leave and public holidays) to which an agency worker is entitled shall be the same as a comparable employee (or, where is no comparable employee for the time being, as those to which a comparable employee would have been entitled); albeit that the Bill is intended to have retrospective effect, the retrospective provisions are not intended to apply to any provisions that create offences; for the purposes of the Bill, the person who is liable to pay the wages of an individual is deemed to be that individual's employer; agency workers who are employed by an employment agency under a permanent contract of employment are excluded, provided that they are paid by the agency between engagements at a rate of no less than half of the pay to which they were entitled in respect of their most recent assignment; a collective agreement may be entered into, in order to provide for conditions of employment that deviate from the basic conditions envisaged by the Act, provided they are balanced to ensure the overall protection of agency...

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